After the Dodgers blew a golden chance to get steal a game in a matchup that slightly favored the Braves in Game 1, they faced pressure to tie the series in Game 2 in a matchup that heavily favored them.
They did not do that in a 5-4 loss.
The Dodgers looked to avoid a repeat of Game 2 of the 2020 NLCS where they fell behind the Braves 2-0 in the series due to losing a game started by Ian Anderson.
They got off to a significantly better start tonight to start the game, with Mookie Betts blooping a single to left and Corey Seager jumping all over a curve on the first pitch for a two-run blast and a 2-0 lead.
The Dodgers created another chance later after a one-out Will Smith walk, a Gavin Lux force out that had him exchange places with Will on the bases, a chance he used to later steal second to get into scoring position. Chris Taylor followed with a walk of his own, but while Cody Bellinger made solid contact, he was unable to do further damage.
Anderson rebounded with a 1-2-3 frame in the 2nd, but he found trouble in the 3rd. A lead-off walk to Seager was followed by a lineout from Trea Turner that saw him robbed of extra bases, and Smith followed with a clean single to put a runner in scoring position. But the Dodgers couldn’t take advantage and they followed with a pop foul and a strikeout.
At that point Braves manager Brian Snitker decided to pinch hit for Anderson, and thus Jesse Chavez entered in the 4th. Well they didn’t lose much, as he cruised through a 1-2-3 inning on just six pitches.
Meanwhile, Max Scherzer was generally cruising along on the other side, throwing more pitches than ideal but giving up just two singles through three innings and not allowing a scoring chance. Things swung dramatically in the 4th in the course of two batters, as Austin Riley drew a one-out walk and Joc Pederson continued to terrorize postseason pitchers with a two-run bomb to right to tie the game at 2-2.
JOCTOBER CONTINUES! pic.twitter.com/3Etg3rVBlS— MLB (@MLB) October 18, 2021
Scherzer got through the rest of the 4th, but after a single and a strikeout to start the 5th, Dave Roberts went and got him. It was a bit surprising given his pitch count, but Max didn’t seem to fight it much, so perhaps he was running out of gas.
4.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 7 K, 79 Pitches
Alex Vesia was given the tough task of facing the top of the Braves order and things looked pretty bad after he gave up a single to put two on and gave the Braves their first scoring chance. However, he bounced back in a major way, getting whiffs of Freddie Freeman and righty Ozzie Albies to slam the door in the 5th.
Despite Chavez not throwing many pitches, A.J. Minter entered in the 5th for the Braves and issued a walk to Mookie to start. After a foul out, Mookie stole second on a 3-2 pitch that was never a strike, yet one that got Trea to chase. That was key as it allowed Minter to intentionally walk Smith, and he then got a fly out to end the inning.
The 6th was given to Jacob Webb and was the Dodgers best scoring chance to that point with CT3 singling and stealing second, then advancing to third on a fly out. However, that brought up AJ Pollock, who continued to look brutal, striking out. That meant the Snitker was able to go with Tyler Matzek when the Dodgers announced Matt Beaty was hitting, and the Dodgers then countered again with Albert Pujols. However, he got Albert to strikeout and strand the runner to end the 6th.
The 7th didn’t go as well for Matzek as he started with a walk to Betts, and the Dodgers had yet another chance when he stole second as Seager struck out. After Trea also struck out, the Braves once again walked Smith. At that point, Justin Turner pinch-hit for Lux, and the Braves countered with Luke Jackson, their setup man. Fortunately, Jackson hit the ailing JT to load the bases. That brought up CT3, and he dunked a double past the charging outfielder for a two-run double and a 4-2 lead.
I'm sorry Mr. Jackson, Chris is for real. pic.twitter.com/KDey0aROdk— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) October 18, 2021
After that, the Braves walked Bellinger to face Pollock, and he predictably struck out with the sacks packed.
Joe Kelly continued to look solid in the playoffs, striking out a batter in a drama-free 6th inning as he went through 4-5-6 of the lineup. Blake Treinen faced the minimum in the 7th after a lead-off walk thanks to a double play and threw just nine pitches.
For whatever reason, despite doing a double switch so that Treinen wouldn’t have to bat, and despite him having a quick inning, and despite Treinen going more than an inning all year long, Dave went to Julio Urias in the 8th.
Things went about as bad as possible. Eddie Rosario started with a single and advanced to second after making a risky play to tag on a fly out to left. Albies then singled against the shift to score a run and Riley followed by immediately smoking a double to tie the game at 4-4. Urias bounced back with two strikeouts to end the inning, but what the fuck was that?
Unbelievably stupid decision that not only unnecessarily risks Game 2, but also potentially impacts Urias’ next start.
Chris Martin kept the Dodgers quiet in the 8th, getting a clean inning. Then Will Smith took over in the 9th and gave up a fly out to the wall in left to Trea, but otherwise he got a perfect frame.
Brusdar Graterol was the pitcher who started the 9th, likely with the intent of getting the bottom of the order. He did well in his stint, giving up a shattered bat single, throwing a sacrifice bunt attempt out at second (thanks to Corey), and getting a routine ground out to third that advanced the runner.
As the top of the order came around, Dave went to Kenley Jansen in the pen and he immediately gave up a single that got past Seager to end the game.
Game 3 tomorrow at 11:08 PM HT/1:08 PM PT/4:08 PM ET with Walker Buehler facing Charlie Morton.