It was do or die for the Los Angeles Dodgers Tuesday, Oct. 11 and everyone needed to be at the top of their game. The Dodgers were down 2-1 to the Washington Nationals and were on the verge of elimination. But a big RBI single by Chase Utley helped Los Angeles come away with a 6-5 win over Washington and force a game five.
Obviously not everyone is playing their best ball or else they wouldn’t have been down 2-1. Heading into the biggest game of the season, the Dodgers will take an “all hands on deck” approach, as will the Nationals.
1. Starting Pitching
The big culprit behind the Dodgers’ struggles is largely in part to the pitching and it all begins with the starters. Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, and Kenta Maeda have only lasted five, four, and three innings respectively.
Hill and Maeda have given up four earned runs apiece. While Kershaw had only given up three, before surrendering five in game four. With the Dodgers’ bats going cold, they need their aces to do what they’ve been doing all season.
2. Adrian Gonzalez
Gonzalez was tied with Corey Seager with the most at-bats with 13 coming into game four. However unlike Seager, who was batting .231 with two home runs and two RBIs this series, Gonzalez had a .154 batting average and OBP. Seager is making use of his opportunities by hitting two HRs, a double and two RBIs in just the first inning alone. Obviously no one is expecting to put up those kind of stats, but there is definitely a middle ground.
When Seagear, a rookie, is doing much of the heavy lifting, they need their veterans like Gonzalez to give them a spark like he did in game four. In the do or die game for the Dodgers, AGon drilled a two-run home run in the bottom of the first inning. However, he would go hitless the rest of the game with a walk.
3. Kenley Jansen
What a difference a day can make. Jansen was on the heroes list as an honorable mention, but after the game Monday, Oct. 10, he gets demoted to the goat list. Jansen only faced five batters, but gave up two hits and a walk.
There is absolutely no way he can afford to give up four runs in the ninth inning after the Dodgers mounted a small comeback. Jansen proved he can get the job done in the first game, so he needs to revert back to his A-game for this series and the rest of the postseason.
In the latest installment of the NLDS series, Jansen shut the door on the Nationals in the ninth inning preserving the 6-5 victory.
4. Yasmani Grandal
Right under Seager and Gonzalez is Grandal with 15 at-bats. He is in the same boat as Gonzalez as the only two Dodger batters with less than a .200 batting average with at least eight at bats. To compound matters, Grandal went 0-for-4 with a strikeout in the Dodgers’ win in game five.
The Dodgers left 12 men in scoring position in game three and if they’re going to have a chance for a championship, they’re going to need batters like Grandal to find their stroke.