The Dodgers offense finally showed signs of life, but it wasn’t quite enough on Tuesday as Los Angeles dropped Game 2 in the National League Championship Series by a score of 8-7. The Dodgers would come up within 90 feet of tying the game, but A.J. Pollock grounded out to third to end the game.
News broke Tuesday morning that presumptive starter Clayton Kershaw would be scratched due to back spasms similar to his situation on Opening Day. Manager Dave Roberts did not rule out a Game 4 start for Kershaw. Right-hander Tony Gonsolin would start in his place. This was the first time Gonsolin would officially pitch in 17 days. Gonsolin pitched 4 ⅓ innings, allowing three hits and three walks for five runs, and he also struck out seven batters.
The Dodgers threatened Braves’ rookie right-hander Ian Anderson early, managing to put two runners on in the first and load the bases in the third. However, both times Will Smith grounded out to end the threats. The Dodgers collected five walks against Anderson, but only notched one hit in four innings. Anderson has been outstanding for the Braves this postseason, as he’s yet to allow a run in three starts.
The game was dead even until the fourth inning when Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman went deep for the second straight day, giving Atlanta a 2-0 lead. The home run was the first hit allowed by Gonsolin, but the Braves later poured it on in the fifth inning. Four runs would come across that inning courtesy of timely hitting and situational at-bats.
The Braves added on another run in the seventh, but Corey Seager hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh inning to make the score a bit closer. Ozzie Albies went deep to make it 8-3 in the top of the ninth. The Dodgers rallied late, putting up three more runs in the bottom of the ninth. Seager would hit an RBI double to bring in Mookie Betts, and Max Muncy smacked a two-run homer to make it a save situation for Atlanta. Albies then bobbled a ball that allowed Smith to reach first base. Cody Bellinger then hit a RBI triple to make the game 8-7.
This Dodger team now faces a 2-0 deficit in the NLCS, with Julio Urias taking the mound tomorrow with basically the Dodger season on the line. Only 13 teams in major league postseason history have come back to win the series after dropping the first two games. Ten of those comebacks were in the World Series and only three came in a league championship series.
This was the fifth time the Dodgers have lost two games in a row this season, but they have never lost three in a row and now is not the time to do that.
Surely, the first two games have been quite disappointing from a team we know has the talent to go all the way. I think the Dodgers can still come back, but the bats have to come alive, as they can’t keep relying on the pitching to hold down the Braves to no runs. If anything, the Dodgers’ late rally gives them a boost of confidence for tomorrow, and if the same offense shows up that came out during these last two innings, the Dodgers will be in business.
This team didn’t face much adversity in the regular season and sort of cake walked through the schedule. Now, facing perhaps the biggest adversary they have faced all year, we will have to see how this team bounces back.
Playing for the season tomorrow I expect the team to compete with a fire underneath them. Going down 3-0 is conceivably too much to overcome. Only one team in postseason history has come back from a 3-0 deficit. However, that team did have Dave Roberts, who sparked a rally with a crucial stolen base, so anything can happen.
This year is World Series or bust. If this team is unable to get it done, they really have to take a cold hard look at themselves. Nevertheless, here’s to a hopeful Game 3 victory.