The Dodgers were the best team in baseball this season, and they’ll need to play like it to keep their season alive. The Padres won another close one, beating Los Angeles 2-1 in Game 3 of the NLDS on Friday night at Petco Park.
San Diego leads the series two games to one, and can close out the series on Saturday night.
Tony Gonsolin labored and got only four outs in his start, forcing the Dodgers to scramble in the bullpen earlier than even they planned for. But even with all that, in total, including Andrew Heaney for three innings and four pitchers after him, gave the Dodgers a chance to win.
But the best offense in baseball could only manage one run. It’s not good enough.
Blake Snell did his usually tap dance, making the Dodgers look foolish while throwing a ton of pitches. Snell got through 5⅓ innings, tied for his second-longest career outing against LA, throwing 96 pitches. Snell struck out six and allowed a run, leaving with Max Muncy on second base and one out in the fifth.
Nick Martinez was able to escape the jam, striking out Justin Turner with pitches down the middle, then getting Chris Taylor on a weak dribbler back to the mound. That sixth inning extended a run of 19 at-bats without a hit in scoring position for the Dodgers, dating back to the third inning of Game 1.
It also introduced San Diego’s greatest weapon so far in the series — its bullpen.
Martinez retired the two batters he faced. Luis García got all three batters he faced, too. Robert Suarez had the audacity to allow a single, but stranded Trea Turner in a scoreless eighth. Josh Hader shut them down in order.
Against the Padres bullpen in this series, the Dodgers are 5-for-44 (.114) against the and have failed to score a run in 13 innings.
The Dodgers can say all they want about the quality at-bats, or how the approach has been good, and they might even be right. But none of that matters if you can’t get any results.
Right now they are a team with only nine runs scored in this series, including four runs in the last 23 innings.
NLDS Game 3 particulars
Home run: Trent Grisham (3)
WP — Blake Snell (1-1): 5⅓ IP, 5 hits, 1 run, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts
LP — Tony Gonsolin (0-1): 1⅓ IP, 4 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Sv — Blake Snell (2): 1 IP, 2 strikeouts
The Dodgers need to win Saturday to stay alive, and will send Tyler Anderson to the mound in Game 4 (6:07 p.m., FS1). Joe Musgrove starts for the Padres. It will be the Dodgers’ ninth elimination game dating back to 2020.