For the first time this postseason, the Dodgers find themselves trailing in a series, now down two games to one to the Astros. To get this series back to Los Angeles, let alone win it, the Dodgers have to start hitting.
They have 12 runs in three games, and are hitting .161/.243/.376 as a team.
The Dodgers have hit six home runs, which have accounted for eight of their 12 runs. Two of the three runs on Friday night came on ground outs, including a double play, and a wild pitch.
“I think it’s just guys going out of the strike zone. You look at the opportunities that we did have, and pitchers seemed to go to their secondaries,” manager Dave Roberts said. “When we are at our best, or any offense is at their best, they stay disciplined in the strike zone, and right now we’re chasing a little bit more than we usually do.”
The Dodgers are 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position in the series, including 0-for-7 in Game 3.
Cody Bellinger struck out swinging in all four at-bats on Friday, the first Dodger to wear the golden sombrero in a World Series game. His first three at-bats:
Cody Bellinger's been destroyed by low-and-in pitches all game: 10 pitches, 9 strikes (including 4 whiffs all inside). He has 3 strikeouts. pic.twitter.com/jTR8IbQ5HL— Positive Residual (@presidual) October 28, 2017
He’s 0-for-11 with seven strikeouts in the series, and struggling so badly that the first question in Roberts’ postgame interview session asked if Bellinger needed a day off.
“I don't see giving him a day off,” Roberts said. “There were a couple of good swings, but I think he's just in that funk right now where he's chasing balls out of the strike zone. I think the defense is obviously a premium. And the presence of him to be in the lineup.
“I think we’ve got to get him to slow down and stay in the strike zone. If you look at the pitches tonight, a lot of balls out of the zone.”
Bellinger certainly isn’t alone in the slump, evident with the team hitting .161/.243/.376 as a whole. Austin Barnes is 1-for-9 in the series, Chris Taylor is 1-for-9 with four walks, Justin Turner is 2-for-13, and Yasiel Puig is 2-for-12, the latter three all with one home run.
In addition to the offense, the pressure is on Alex Wood to pitch reasonably deep into Game 4 on Saturday night, especially after the bullpen needed to get 19 outs in Game 3. Roberts said everyone is available in Game 4 save for Kenta Maeda, who threw 42 pitches in his 2⅔ innings on Friday.
“It’s up to us, up to Alex to go out there and set the tone, get a quick first inning,” Roberts said. “The bats have got to come alive, keep getting guys on base, getting that big hit. Honestly, I don’t think we see it as pressure. Just go out and play a good clean game.”
Charlie Morton starts Game 4 for the Astros.