After a grueling five game series against the San Francisco Giants, and all the celebrations that happened afterwards, the Los Angeles Dodgers flew across the country to Atlanta to take on the Braves in Game 1 of the NLCS.
And, they kind of played like it.
The opener, Corey Knebel did not escape the first inning unscathed. There was an atypical running mistake by Chris Taylor, that might’ve lead to the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth. There was the actual go-ahead run allowed by Blake Treinen in the bottom of the ninth. Tony Gonsolin was unable to give any real length in his bulk relief roll. And the overall lethargy of the offense was there again.
Still, for all that happened leading up to the game, and the Dodgers having to roll out a bullpen game to open the series, it wasn’t all bad. The Dodgers actually scored in the first game of this series, unlike San Francisco. Cody Bellinger once again had a pinch hit off the bench that should’ve lead to a ninth inning rally if not for Taylor’s Tootblan. Kenley Jansen continues to look terrific in relief. Mookie Betts continues to hit, and Trea Turner finally collected two hits in a game this postseason.
Sunday the Dodgers will look to even the series at one a piece by sending Max Scherzer to the mound and switching up their lineup. Los Angeles will be facing a right hander in Ian Anderson, so Albert Pujols will be back to the bench and Bellinger will be at first base. Gavin Lux will be staring in center, and Taylor at third base.
Justin Turner will be on the bench to start the game also. Manager Dave Roberts said that JT is dealing with a stinger on the right side of his neck. He first felt it yesterday in batting practice, and can’t turn his head to the right. This might also give Turner time to regroup, as he has uncharacteristically gone just 3-for-28 so far at the plate this postseason.
This neck issue will bring to a halt the 77 game streak of JT starting in a Dodgers postseason game, going all the way back to Game 4 of the 2014 NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals. He played through it in Saturday night’s game, but woke up feeling similar Sunday morning. Roberts said “I don’t think it’s right to put him in that spot” of being back in the lineup. He is expected to start Game 3 back in Los Angeles.
For their part, the Braves will send out the same lineup from Saturday night to face Scherzer.
The offense will have to do better than go 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position if they hope to win Sunday night’s contest. Hopefully they are more rested and ready to retake home field advantage heading back to Dodger Stadium.