Friday’s 6-5 loss in Game 1 was one of the sloppiest games the Dodgers have played in recent memory. Clayton Kershaw wasn’t particularly sharp and the defense — mainly his battery mate — didn’t do him any favors with four errors.
The two and three hitters in the lineup were 0-for-8 with six strikeouts, including four from Justin Turner. It was the first time Turner had struck out four times in a game over his entire career, postseason or not.
Cody Bellinger was hitless in four at-bats, despite making solid contact in multiple at-bats.
But after everything went wrong early on, the Dodgers came roaring back in the later innings. The night came to an end with Chris Taylor 90 short feet away from a tie ballgame, with the Dodgers not only surviving against the Brewers nasty relief core, they were breaking through.
“I thought we played an entire baseball game,” said manager Dave Roberts. “I did. For them to use Hader for three innings tonight and for us to get a good look at their arms in the pen, I thought we had good at-bats all the way till the end.”
“So they were selling out, obviously, with Josh going three innings tonight against us. But I thought our at-bats -- even when we weren’t scoring runs, I thought they were competitive.”
The Brewers threw almost everything they had at the Dodgers and the game nearly got away from them in the end.
After three innings and 46 pitches, Milwaukee’s biggest weapon in Josh Hader is unavailable until Game 3. Brewers’ manager Craig Counsell has rarely used his lefty in consecutive days, especially after a season-high pitch count.
Counsell pointed out after the game that he believes his team is in good shape with the bullpen tomorrow, but that’s depending on how deep Wade Miley goes as a starter.
Brandon Woodruff — besides his momentum-swinging homer — made 27 pitches over two innings of work. Cory Knebel was needed for 22 pitches after the Brewers wanted to keep him out until Saturday.
In all, Milwaukee’s bullpen made 132 pitches, a stunning pace that may not be sustainable.
“We know they’re good,” said Manny Machado, who homered and drove in three. “They’re a good ballclub. They wouldn’t be here if they weren’t. We know we’re as good as them, so we’ve just got to settle down, take it back, play baseball like we’ve played all year and grind it out.”
Normally a team that remains patient and works plenty of walks, the Dodgers were issued just three free passes while they struck out 13 times. A feat they achieved in only 16 of their 163 games prior to the postseason.
“I thought our at-bat quality throughout the night was good,” added Roberts. “I know we punched a lot tonight, but they’re running some good arms out there. But for us to get a look at these guys out of the pen in a seven-game series, I think that’s a good thing.
“And for our guys to -- for us to have the tying run at third base, we did some good things tonight. So yeah, the goal is to win a baseball game, but I think that it shows the compete in our guys.”
Game 2 gets underway Saturday at 1:09 p.m. PT as the Dodgers look to equal the series before heading home.