After taking game 1, the Dodgers fell to the Nationals on Friday night, 4-2. The series is now tied at one a piece, as they’ll play a pivotal game 3 tomorrow afternoon in Washington D.C. Here are three takeaway’s from last night’s loss.
The offense goes quiet
Yes, I know, Clayton Kershaw lost another postseason game, but that’s not the biggest takeaway from last night. After scoring six runs in game 1, the offense only was able to put two runs on the board with only five hits. Granted, Stephen Strasburg was pitching one of the most dominant games of his life, but LA’s offense looked lost at the plate all night long.
As a team, the Dodgers struck out 17 times. Yes, 17 times. 63 percent of their outs came via the strikeout. A.J. Pollock, Gavin Lux and Corey Seager all struck out three times, with Seager striking out with the bases loaded to end the game. Three other Dodgers struck out two times as well.
Again, Strasburg was at the top of his game, but it just seemed like the Dodgers had no answer at the plate. They were at swinging at pitches inside and outside, balls that were well below the strike zone. It just looked ugly. Overall, they were 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position and left five runners on base. Most of those numbers came in the ninth, though.
This was a Dodgers offense that was a top the leaderboard in the 2019 season, but it didn’t look like that at all last night. Though they won on Friday, they are now a combined 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position and have stranded 14 runners on base during this series. If they have any hope of winning this series, they are going to need to start hitting with runners on. You can’t rely on the long-ball, not against this Nationals starting rotation.
Clayton Kershaw wasn’t THAT bad
I know people are going to be all over him for this one, and rightfully so. Kershaw lost the game, and fell behind early. However, it wasn’t AS BAD as it appeared. I’m not trying to lay out a ton of excuses for him, but I thought overall he had a decent start.
Yes, he allowed three runs early on that put the Dodgers in the hole. However, things didn’t necessarily go his way early on either. Trea Turner led the game off with a double that went under the glove of Justin Turner at third base. Now, it wouldn’t have been exactly an easy play, but it’s a play that he could’ve made to get the out. A walk and a hit-by-pitch weren’t ideal, and he did allow a single to Howie Kendrick with the bases loaded, but he was able to limit the damage. The bases were loaded with one out, and he was able to leave the inning with only a one-run deficit.
Over the final four innings, Kershaw didn’t allow a run and held the Nats to only two hits. If the Dodgers would’ve given him run support, the narrative would’ve been entirely different, and people would be praising Kershaw for bouncing back.
The Dodgers need to make the starters work
Coming into the series, all we talked about was how bad the Nats’ bullpen has been this season. So far, it’s been pretty evident. Their bullpen allowed three runs in two innings in game 1, and they almost lost the game last night. It’s easily their weakness, and the Dodgers almost exploited it last night.
They will be facing Max Scherzer in game 3, which will be no easy task. If the Dodgers have hopes of winning the game, they’ll have to do some damage against him, or least keep the game close for when the bullpen comes in.
Strasburg was in cruise control all night, exiting the game with only 85 pitches. The Dodgers weren’t patient, which resulted in quick AB’s, keeping his pitch count down. They’ll have to be patient against Scherzer, and make him work and throw as many pitches as possible.
During the regular season, the Dodgers had some of the best plate discipline across the majors. They’ll need that more than ever for tomorrow.