The Dodgers head back to Los Angeles down 2-0 in the NLCS after scoring just two runs combined in Games 1 and 2.
A 13-inning marathon in Game 1 ended on a Carlos Beltran walk-off single off closer Kenley Jansen and Game 2 saw Clayton Kershaw go six innings, giving up an unearned run while getting charged with a loss.
After looking back at Games 1 and 2, we have the biggest takeaways from the series so far:
Where is the offense?
The Dodgers have played 22 innings so far in the series and have scored in just one of those innings. The offense thus far has consisted of a Juan Uribe two-run single in the third inning of Game 1.
The NL West champions have hit just .184 while striking out 24 times in two games. With runners in scoring position, the Dodgers are hitting just .063.
The Dodgers were without Hanley Ramirez in Game 2 due to a rib injury sustained after a hit-by-pitch in the first inning of Game 1. The x-rays came back negative and the Dodgers are hopeful that he’ll be back in Game 3.
Something must happen offensively for the Dodgers if they plan to send the series back to St. Louis.
Mattingly Continues To Be Questioned
After Game 1, Don Mattingly had many questions surrounding his decisions after the game, especially why first baseman Adrian Gonzalez was pulled for a pinch-runner in the eighth inning.
Dee Gordon was put in to run after Gonzalez walked to lead off the inning and he was promptly erased as Yasiel Puig grounded into a fielder’s choice.
The Dodgers went extra innings and were without one of their best hitters, as Gonzalez’s spot in the lineup came up twice later in the game and Michael Young made four outs in just two plate appearances.
Also, in Game 1, some questioned his decision to wait to use Jansen, although the closer was brought in the game with a chance to shut the Cardinals down and failed to deliver.
The Cardinal Relievers Throw Gas
It seems like every reliever that the Cardinals bring in throws at least 95 mph.
Kevin Siegrist, Carlos Martinez, John Axford and Trevor Rosenthal all come in throwing fastballs that are over 95 mph.
The Dodgers haven’t been able to handle the velocity, highlighted by Rosenthal’s ninth inning in Game 2 where he threw 14 fastballs and struck out the side.
If the Dodgers aren’t going to score against the starters, then they must find a way to get to the bullpen and produce.
What’s Wrong With Puig?
The Dodgers’ rookie right fielder is 0-10 with six strikeouts in the series and has looked lost at the plate.
Puig did make a nice double play in Game 1, but has come up in huge situations with runners on base and hasn’t been able to deliver. He’s struggled against power pitchers all season and seems a bit late on every fastball so far.
The Dodgers will need Puig to knock in runs especially if he’s hitting in the fifth spot, where he’s found himself with runners on-base and in scoring position.
The Series Is Not Over
The Dodgers may be bad with their .184 batting average, but the Cardinals are hitting even worse at .134 in the series. Of course, the Cardinals are 2-0 with that batting average but it’s not like their offense has been sparkling.
The Dodgers may have lost with their two aces without having faced the Cardinals’ ace in Adam Wainwright, but Hyun-Jin Ryu and Ricky Nolasco fared well against the NL Central champions this season and the Dodgers will be at home.
The Dodgers must continue to pitch well, in addition to finding a way to score runs. At one point this season, the Dodgers were 30-42 making 0-2 seem minimal and they’ve showed all season long that they can come back when facing adversity.
In case you missed it, here’s what Don Mattingly had to say prior to the NLCS starting.