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Dodgers Fail To ‘Cash In’ At Plate, Now Look To ‘Flip Script’ In NLDS

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The Los Angeles Dodgers of this era’s reputation and the manner this year’s National League Division Series had transpired both made it all too familiar.

The 100-win Dodgers, who had a strong summer, had their starting pitcher struggle for the second straight game, and their offense squandered the few opportunities they had to make up for it. They lost once more, this time by a score of 4-2, to a youthful, gritty Arizona Diamondbacks team that had 16 less regular-season victories. Now they risk another early elimination by a division opponent they usually dominate.

Going into this postseason, the Dodgers had a dangerously understaffed starting rotation; this was their hand, and it has cost them in ways they never anticipated.

In the first inning of the game on Saturday, 16-year veteran Clayton Kershaw gave up six runs and only got one out. Two nights later, 24-year-old rookie Bobby Miller gave up three runs before being relieved in the second inning despite throwing only 28 of his 52 pitches for strikes.

The Dodgers’ bullpen managed to keep the score pretty close, but their potent offense once more struggled against a starting pitcher they had previously dominated.

In six starts against the Dodgers during the regular season, Merrill Kelly and Zac Gallen, Arizona’s two best starting pitchers by a significant margin, combined for a 5.93 ERA.

They held them to two runs in 112 3 innings in the first two games of this series.

With two outs and a two-run deficit in the fifth, the Dodgers had runners on the corners, but Gallen stopped the threat with a full-count curveball that landed in the middle of the strike zone and struck out Freddie Freeman. In the sixth inning, the Dodgers had the bases loaded with the winning run at first base, but Andrew Saalfrank struck out James Outman and Ryan Thompson got Kolten Wong to ground out to end the game.

In these NLDS, the Dodgers are 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position and have left 13 runners on base.

The two MVP front-runners Betts and Freeman, who have driven their offense all season, have combined for only one hit in 13 at-bats.

The D-backs are the third team in major league history to hold a 2-0 series lead over an opponent that won at least 15 more regular-season games, with the Atlanta Braves over the Dodgers in the 2021 NL Championship Series being the other. The D-backs are coming off an impressive sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers in their wild-card series. Of course, the Dodgers have a history of dominating in the regular season and falling short in the postseason.

Many members of the organization agree that last year’s NLDS loss to the San Diego Padres, a division opponent and team they had recently trounced, was their most difficult exit. This year’s NLDS will take place against a D-backs team they have defeated in each of their previous five regular-season games.

Late Monday night, the Dodgers departed on their brief journey to Phoenix. On Tuesday afternoon, they will conduct a workout from Chase Field. In an effort to extend another season that is meant to continue much longer, they will turn to veteran Lance Lynn and youngster Ryan Pepiot twenty-four hours from now. In a possible Game 4, Kershaw will come after.

90% of the time, road teams that lead 2-0 in a best-of-five series go on to win. The Toronto Blue Jays in 2015, the San Francisco Giants in 2012, and the New York Yankees in 2001 were the only three teams to overturn such a deficit.The Dodgers are currently aiming to join the fourth place team, one victory at a time.

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