Los Angeles — The late-inning magic the Dodgers have enjoyed over the first two games of the NLCS refused to show its face Monday night. Instead it was the Brewers increasing their lead to four in the seventh with a two-run shot from Orlando Arcia.
Time ran out for the Dodgers in the eighth when Brewers’ manager Craig Counsell went to his biggest weapon, Josh Hader. The lefty flamethrower came in to get the final two outs of the eighth, handing it off to Jeremy Jeffress to lock down the 4-0 win in the ninth.
The loss means that if the Dodgers are to advance to the World Series, they will go back to Milwaukee to achieve that goal. It was the first time since 1983 that the Dodgers had been shutout at home in a playoff game, when they lost 1-0 to Philadelphia in the NLCS.
The Dodgers were punchless on offense when it mattered Monday. They had runners in scoring position with either one or no outs in four different innings and they went 0-for-10.
There was no bigger representation of the night on offense then the ninth inning. The Dodgers loaded the bases with one out for the bottom of their order. Yasmani Grandal and Brian Dozier would both strikeout to end the game.
“Well, actually, I thought we had the right guys in those moments and we just didn’t execute,” manager Dave Roberts said. “So I think we were 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position. And one part of it is creating scoring opportunities. We had a second and third, one out. We had a lead-off double. And we couldn’t push them across.”
Just how frustrating was the game for Los Angeles? Mary Hart couldn’t help giving Grandal a word or two after the backstop’s third passed ball of the series.
Mary Hart has not had any Entertainment Tonight from Yasmani Grandal.— Ryan Walton (@RyanWaltonSBN) October 16, 2018
Here she is yelling at him for another passed ball. pic.twitter.com/Ljl5vaFqmO
Grandal has three passed balls, two errors and is 2-for-9 in the series with five strikeouts. The three at-bats with runners on ended in a bases-loaded double play, strikeout with runners on second and third with one out and a strikeout with the bases loaded.
Roberts said after the game that Austin Barnes would start behind the plate on Tuesday.
After some early trouble in the first inning that saw a Ryan Braun RBI-double, Walker Buehler mostly cruised into the seventh inning on 88 pitches. A one-out double from backup catcher Erik Kratz was followed by Arcia’s blast down the right field line.
The homer came on a 97-mph fastball on the outer edge of the plate at the top of the zone. Somehow Arcia — who had three homers all of the regular season — put a good swing on it for his third homer of the postseason.
ORLANDO MAGIC. #NLCS pic.twitter.com/jBRawTRq79— MLB (@MLB) October 16, 2018
“I though it was a good pitch,” Grandal said. “It was exactly where we wanted it. Obviously Arcia’s aggressive, he’d been swinging at the top of the zone, wasn’t really catching up to anything and all the sudden, I guess he made an adjustment.”
“I thought it was a fly ball to right field and all the sudden it just kept on going. It must have been some really good backspin on it.”
In between the first inning double from Braun and a sixth inning triple off the bat of Travis Shaw, Buehler had retired 16 of 18 batters he had faced. The Brewers cashed in Shaw’s triple on a 2-0 curve in the dirt that squirted away from Grandal to score Shaw.
“I thought the fastball had really good life and command all night long,” Roberts said about Buehler. “The punch-outs speak to that. And he did enough to a point to keep us in the ballgame. And I thought it was a decent pitch to Arcia, it was a grounder off the bat of Kratz, that got down the line, and I still thought the stuff was coming out well.”
“Arcia put a good swing on it, and I didn’t think he got enough to hit it out, but unfortunately for us he did.”
Jhoulys Chacin shut down the Dodgers for 5 1⁄3 innings to hand it off to the bullpen that struggled against Los Angeles for the first two games. Milwaukee relievers would combine for 3 2⁄3 scoreless to give them a 2-1 series lead.
The Dodgers try to even it up again, sending Rich Hill to the mound against Gio Gonzalez and the Brewers.
Home Runs: Arcia (2)
WP: Jhoulys Chacin (1-0): 5 1⁄3 IP, 3 hits, 2 walk, 6 strikeouts
LP: Walker Buehler (0-1): 7 IP, 5 hits, 4 runs, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts