Dodgers Opinions: Thoughts on What is Learned from NLDS Game 2

It wasn’t neat, it wasn’t necessarily tidy. But when all was said and done, the Dodgers got the win, and that’s all that matters.

As I sit and think about Wednesday night’s game the morning after, the more I think it was just what the Dodgers needed.

For all that it was, this is a game that I wanted to see. The Padres got pumped, they were pressing, and still the Dodgers came out on top. The Padres are excellent at manufacturing fun, excitement, and pressure at the other team’s expense. Still, somehow, the Dodgers won.

It’s true that some could think that they just narrowly avoided disaster, that the bases shouldn’t have been loaded to end the game, that Kenley Jansen should’ve pitched better. Maybe Joe Kelly was not the right pitcher to come in and relieve the struggling Jansen. Maybe they just got lucky.

But overall, I think this game, as tenuous as it was, gives the Dodgers a big boost of confidence. Their pitching staff wasn’t on their best game the whole time, but their offense is starting to click and the pitching was good enough.

The Padres employed a swinging at first pitch strategy, and scored first in the game. An RBI Wil Myers double in the second inning scored Tommy Pham, but Clayton Kershaw battled back and left Myers stranded on second.

The Dodgers started their scoring in the bottom of the third inning. A.J. Pollock singled, and went to third on a single by Austin Barnes. Mookie Betts drilled a liner to third that Manny Machado snagged. But then Corey Seager doubled down the first base line, scoring both Pollock and Barnes. Max Muncy later followed with a single, plating Seager.

In the bottom of the fourth, Cody Bellinger took the first pitch out over the centerfield wall for the first home run into the series. Barnes and Betts both hit two out singles, but Barnes was thrown out at third trying to reach third on Betts’ hit.

Kershaw has some innings of brilliance, like his nine pitch first inning. Others he had to work his way out of traffic on the bases. But overall he was very good until the sixth inning, when Machado and Eric Hosmer followed up Bellinger’s homer by each hitting one of their own and the Dodgers took a narrow 4-3 lead to the bottom of the sixth.

Blake Treinen relieved Kershaw in the top of the seventh. He got the first two outs before hitting Trent Grisham. Dave Roberts took him out in favor of Brusdar Graterol, who promptly balked Grisham to second. On the next pitch, Fernando Tatis Jr launched one to deep centerfield, where Bellinger made an amazing robbery of what would’ve been a go-ahead home run. After the Padres bench had gotten incredibly hyped, that catch prompted some F bomb hurling from each side to their counterparts.

https://twitter.com/mlb/status/1314042486608875522?s=21

In the bottom of the seventh, both Betts and Seager reached base. Drew Pomeranz was brought in to relieve Pagan, and Betts and Seager executed a double steal to be on second and third, which payed off. Justin Turner hit a sacrifice fly to score Betts. Muncy followed with a tear drop single to short left, and Seager scored to make it 6-3.

Kenley Jansen came in to get the save in the ninth. Cronenworth, after an 11 pitch at bat, reached on a comebacker up the middle, and then Mitch Moreland hit an RBI double to score Cronenworth. Jansen allowed Grisham to get on base, and Joe Kelly was brought in to preserve the one run game. He issued back to back walks to Tatis Jr and Machado. But he got Hosmer to ground out to second to end the game. A 49 pitch ninth inning, but it ended the Dodgers’ way.

We’ve watched this team blow that type of game time and again. Same dang thing – Kershaw pitches well until he doesn’t, and bullpen fails to get the win. But Wednesday night, the narrative was flipped.

We have time to break down the status of the bullpen later. But there are many positive things to take from this game. Muncy and Bellinger both look much better at the plate. The Dodgers are creating their own hype and raw emotions. Dave Roberts has a shorter leash on Jansen than in years past. And for that matter, recognized something in Kershaw, and also pulled him at the right time in the game. Maybe, just maybe all of the past postseason disasters are being used to learn from and this is the year they get corrected, and the Dodgers finally get it all right.

19 thoughts on “Dodgers Opinions: Thoughts on What is Learned from NLDS Game 2

  1. A few thoughts about last night:
    1) The Padres are a very good team, forced to play without both of their best starters. This rivalry will be really something over the next few years. SD is here to stay.
    2) I love Bazooka’s personality. If Machado is going to strut around and throw his bat, anything that Brusdar wants to do when his teammate makes a game-saving catch is fine by me.
    3) Using Kenley to start the 9th was just fine. They were up by 3. But Doc left him in too long when it was obvious he pretty much had nothing last night.
    4) Bringing in Kelly to face 2 of their 3 best hitters was absolute lunacy. Kelly’s control is always suspect. He’s afraid to throw his fastball, and………………………………………HE HADN’T PITCHED IN 10 DAYS! What little command he might have had was going to go up in smoke because of the inactivity. Doc says he likes to put his guys into positions where they can succeed. He must really hate Joe because he constantly puts him in position to fail in the playoffs.
    5) Are we all ready for a Dodgers-Astros World Series? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well I’m really getting worried now. We are making the padres look much better than they are. Their pitching not that good at the best of times, is decimated right now and we can’t take advantage. In this park, without the home run we will need to play a different game and I’m not sure we can. We live and die with the homerun and they’ve taken that away from us. I thought this series would be easier than this.

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    1. Respectfully, I’m not sure what offense you’re watching. They’ve scored 11 runs, only one of which was from a home run. Cody and Max have timely singles and doubles. I don’t think they’re relying on it as much as you think

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      1. Actually they have relied on the homer for several years. I wasn’t just talking about these 2 game’s. The first game they had 5!! Hits and 10 walks? How often is that going to happen? And they did play small ball this game but rhey don’t do that often. I’m not worried about this series because the padres are a pretty inferior team , buy going forward I’m concerned. I usually look at the big picture not a handful of games. On the other hand I don’t see tough competition in the next series.

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  3. Oops 4 hits and 9 walks. Also got a bit more respect for dodger pitching staff after watching Oakland and Houston barrage of Homer’s at dodger stadium. They are treating it like a little league stadium. Would be interesting to know how many Homer’s the opposition at dodger stadium. Sure wouldn’t be 3/4 per game or 90/100over the 30 games.

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  4. What I learned is simple. I would not trust Kenley Jansen at all. As for the offense. I am not worried. This ball park is not homer friendly and they are adjusting their approach accordingly. And do not pooh pooh the Pads pitching. They have been pretty good in the playoffs. Morejon started one game against the Dodgers this year. He went 2 innings and gave up 2 runs, One of those was a homer. I expect the Padres want him to go a little longer this time.

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  5. What a job Urias has done. After the way Caleb Ferguson started the year its shocking he isn’t even on the roster right now. I’m a little worried about bringing Treinen in 3 straight days.

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      1. I didn’t know that thanks. Haven’t been able to follow as closely as I wanted to the last several weeks because of work. Hate to hear that he’s one of my favorites.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah, it was a huge bummer to see him
        Injured, he had a great season, and they definitely could’ve used him in the playoffs

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  6. I think it will be wise to sacrifice a position player to have a 15th pitcher against the Braves with 7 straight games. I like Matt Beaty but I would trade him out for Alex Wood. Wood hasn’t been great but he’s got postseason experience and can give you a little length out of the pen if you need it. I would keep Gore on the roster just for his speed. Our lineup really doesn’t need a lot of pinch hitters so I will trade Beaty’s bat for Gore’s speed in that situation. Atlanta is going to be TOUGH! They have a mini Clayton Kershaw busting out in Max Fried and they will be even tougher next year when Soroka gets healthy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One thing to remember Alex, Atlanta has 4 shutouts in their 5 games, but neither of the offenses they have faced are near as good as the Dodgers. And the Padres offense is pretty close to the Dodger offense, so our pitchers are used to pressure situations for sure. Atl has a couple of rookies in the rotation. I think it will go six, and the Dodgers will win it.

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      1. Yes but one of those rookies, Ian Anderson is very very good and Max Fried is as good as anyone in the game. It will be a dogfight that’s for sure.

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      2. He hasn’t faced the Dodgers. Fried is good, but he got knocked around by the Marlins. They have owned Atlanta. I am just saying it will be a good series, but the Dodgers have too many weapons.

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    2. Number one. Unless Rios is reinstated for the next round, they really have no backup for Turner except Beaty or Muncy. And I trust Wood even less than I do Jansen. They will probably go with 15 pitchers, but then again I think they might keep the status quo.

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  7. Well that was refreshing. A no doubter. Smith sets a Dodger post season record with a 5 hit game. Belli’s 2 run triple puts the icing on the cake. Floro gets em out in the 9th, and Urias gets the win. Now we wait until Monday night.

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