The Dodgers lost Game 4 of the NLCS, 9-2. Here are my three takeaways.
Offense was missing.... again
A theme all postseason has been the inconsistency of the Dodgers’ offense. They have yet to score five runs in back-to-back games at any point, which is shocking coming from a team with one of the best offenses in all of baseball.
After the unbelievable come-from-behind victory on Tuesday night, I was expecting the Dodgers’ offense to respond with a huge game last night. Instead, they scored two runs on four hits.
Following one of the biggest wins in LA postseason history, the offense laid an egg. They were nowhere to be found. Most importantly, it was the top of the lineup that took the night off.
Mookie Betts, Corey Seager, Trea Turner, Will Smith and Gavin Lux combined to go 0-for-17 against the Braves’ bullpen. 0-for-17!!! Nothing against Jesse Chavez or Drew Smyly, they’re big-league pitchers. But seriously, the top five hitters in the lineup fgo 0-for-17? I’m still in shock writing that.
If the Dodgers are going to win this series, they’ll NEED the offense to show up for a game. With a bullpen game for Game 5, they can’t rely on pitching. They’ll NEED to score at least five runs if they want to win, which seems like a daunting task at this point.
The pitching decisions
Julio Urias said that pitching in relief didn’t have an impact on his performance last night. I’ll believe him. But we’ve now seen Urias and Max Scherzer struggle in their starts following their relief appearance.
I know that Urias needed to eat innings, I totally get that. But he clearly didn’t have it. I don’t know if I necessarily would have had him go five innings. I think the best bet would have been to turn it over to some fresh arms and have them keep the Dodgers in the game. Granted, it was a three-run game until Tony Gonsolin allowed four runs in the ninth, but hey a potential two-run deficit in the seventh inning is a different mindset than a three-run deficit.
Plus, maybe it allows Urias to be saved for a Game 7 on Sunday if needed? Personally I would have taken him out after four innings.
The question I now have is: What the hell happens for the bullpen game?
The Dodgers used their lone bulk guy in Gonsolin, so he’ll be unavailable. It truly will be an all-hands-on-deck situation later tonight, with the Dodgers likely having to use every arm available. My guess is some pitchers will be able to get 4-5 outs, but without a bulk guy I’m not sure how the Dodgers get through nine innings.
With only a three-run deficit, I wasn’t quite sure why it made sense to burn Gonsolin as opposed to using a different reliever. But hey, maybe not having Gonsolin available today is a good thing.
There have been some very interesting pitching decisions this series that I haven’t understood. I guess we’ll see what happens today.
Don’t give up
The Dodgers are trailing the NLCS 3-1 against the Braves. Hmmm. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
Last season, LA found themselves in this exact same situation. After losing the first two games, the Dodgers won Game 3 and then lost Game 4, putting them in a 3-1 hole. Well, we know how that ended, as they came from behind to win the series.
I know that this is an entirely different season and a lot of variables are different, but we’ve shown that it’s definitely doable. If anything, the Dodgers are actually in a pretty good position to win the series, considering they’re down 3-1.
Obviously they have to win today. If they lose, their season ends. If they’re able to pull out a victory, they just have to win two games in Atlanta. Oh, and they’ll have a rested Max Scherzer and a rested Walker Buehler to start for them.
It’s a daunting task, and it’s going to be difficult. But the Dodgers are at their best when facing elimination. For some reason, it’s when they play their best. With their backs against the wall yet again, maybe the Dodgers can pull off a miracle for the second season in a row.
I’ll leave you all with this