Things looked bleak for the Dodgers after falling behind 3-1 in the 2021 NLCS to the Braves. Of course, they did the exact same thing in 2020 and came back to win it, but this time didn’t feel as good since the lineup never really has come alive.
Well, with their backs against the wall they showed up early and often today. Carried by three dongs from Chris Taylor, they collected 17 hits on their way to a 11-2 win to support the pen game.
Things looked bleak at the outset of the game. Joe Kelly started things off for the Dodgers, immediately allowing a two-run Freddie Freeman homer, getting hurt, and having to exit with biceps tightness.
October 22, 2021
Evan Phillips came in to relieve him and got a strikeout to end the 1st, then got two strikeouts in the 2nd in a 1-2-3 frame.
Still, facing Max Fried that is not where you want to be, but after a scoreless 1st, the Dodgers exploded. AJ Pollock led off the 2nd with a solo shot to cut the lead in half, Albert Pujols continued to do his job with a single, and then Taylor unloaded on a ball for a two-run shot of his own and all of a sudden it was a 3-2 lead.
AJ! pic.twitter.com/6AKtpHdDOj— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) October 22, 2021
GO AHEAD, CHRIS. pic.twitter.com/GTOIbDgDqg— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) October 22, 2021
With one out in the 3rd, the Dodgers added on, stringing together three consecutive hits from Pollock, Pujols, and CT3 again to make it 4-2.
In the 5th, after a walk to Pujols, Fried was relieved by Chris Martin. The Braves wanted to avoid feeding a lefty to Taylor, but it didn’t matter as he smashed an 0-2 fastball to dead center for another two-run shot to make it 6-2.
AND HE'LL DO IT AGAIN. pic.twitter.com/knMCY31tMY— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) October 22, 2021
After a scoreless inning, the Dodgers came right back in the 7th behind the same guy. Taylor smashed his THIRD dong of the night to make it 7-2.
A TAYLOR-MADE GAME FOR CHRIS. pic.twitter.com/sNc1K9HVOy— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) October 22, 2021
Oh right, the pen game.
After Kelly’s rough start, the Dodgers pen was great. Taking over for Phillips in the 3rd, Alex Vesia faced the minimum despite giving up a single thanks to Will Smith catching Eddie Rosario stealing. The 4th was given to Brusdar Graterol, who certainly looks like he’s found his stuff, cruising through two perfect innings that included three groundouts and a pair of strikeouts.
In a bit of a confusing move, Blake Treinen entered in the 6th, and while he gave up a double to
Rod Carew Rosario, he got a scoreless inning and then followed with a 1-2-3 frame in the 7th as well. With things still somewhat in doubt, Corey Knebel took over in the 8th, allowing a single but also striking out three.
Fortunately, the Dodgers did not have to nail bite in the end. Jacob Webb had a nightmare for the Braves in the 8th. Mookie Betts singled to start, stole second base, then on a steal attempt of third almost got killed by a Trea Turner single to score him.
Corey Seager then singled and then Pollock absolutely unloaded on a ball to left for an 11-2 lead.
AJ ENERGY. pic.twitter.com/3LWO76Xnmf— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) October 22, 2021
CT3 then did me a favor and preserved my headline by not hitting a fourth homer.
Kenley Jansen entered to close it, likely just to get work in so he’s not rusty, and he retired the side on seven pitches.
See you in Atlanta in a couple days.