After one of the most impressive regular seasons in recent history, the powerhouse offense of the Los Angeles Dodgers failed to deliver in the playoffs, leading to a quick exit in the NLDS at the hands of the San Diego Padres.
While some may argue the Padres played some of their best baseball of the season, there’s no doubt the Dodgers played their worst. The offense went cold at the most inopportune time, and a late-inning bullpen implosion finally sealed the Dodgers’ fate in a 5-3 defeat.
Trailing two games to one with their backs against the wall, the Dodgers knew Game 4 was a do-or-die contest. Even though they continued to leave runners stranded left and right, there were sparks in the third inning that fans thought might have done enough damage to win the game.
When San Diego starter Joe Musgrove exited after six innings, it looked like the Dodgers would capitalize on the wildness of righty reliver Steven Wilson. Betts led off with a walk, followed by a TTurner bunt single. Next, Freeman was hit by a pitch, loading the bases with nobody out and putting Los Angeles in an easy position to strike.
Will Smith sacrificed home Betts with a flyball to left in the ensuing at bat, but that’s all the Dodgers would get, as southpaw Tim Hill relieved Wilson to punch out Max Muncy and induce a Justin Turner groundout.
Things looked good for the Dodgers heading into the bottom of the seventh with a 3-0 lead. However, the Los Angeles bullpen imploded worse than it did in any contest this year, including some ugly blown saves from Craig Kimbrel.
Righty Tommy Kahnle took the brunt of the damage in the San Diego five-run seventh, having been credited for three earned runs on two hits and a walk without recording an out. For a moment, it looked like Yency Almonte would contain the damage and let the Dodgers escape the inning with the score tied, but skipper Dave Roberts replaced Almonte mid-count to have Alex Vesia face Jake Cronenworth, who promptly singled to center, scoring Ha-Seong Kim and Juan Soto.
By the time the smoke cleared on the seventh inning, the Dodgers trailed, 5-3. The hard-throwing duo of Robert Suarez and Josh Hader took care of the Dodgers in the eighth and ninth frames to secure the win and the NLDS victory for San Diego.
The Padres will meet the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLCS for the right to advance to the 2022 World Series, a matchup that few baseball fans expected at the onset of the playoffs.