It’s tough to win a game when you fall into a hole early. It’s even tougher when that hole is an early five-run lead put up by one of the best offensive teams in the National League. And the Dodgers, despite a huge comeback, simply could not overcome the difference in Game Three.
Clutch Taylor. pic.twitter.com/YuEerqBKSz
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) October 8, 2018
Walker Buehler got the start in this one, and the first inning made it look like he would breeze through Atlanta’s lineup. He threw just five pitches to induce two grounders and a strikeout. Then the wheels came off in the second. He issued a leadoff walk to Nick Markakis, but was able to strike out the next two. Then a single that skipped away from Bellinger in center, and the Dodgers decided to walk Culberson to pitch to Newcomb. Instead, Newcomb drew a four-pitch walk and Ronald Acuna launched a grand slam to left the following at-bat.
That put the Dodgers down five in just the second inning, plenty of time for a comeback. They chipped away at it in the third with a two-run single from Justin Turner. In the fifth, Chris Taylor came up with an opportunity to add on. He clubbed a two-run shot to left and the Dodgers were suddenly in striking distance. That same inning, Max Muncy destroyed a curveball and bat flipped the team to a 5-5 tie that would last until the sixth.
That’s when Freddie Freeman came up and demolished a breaking ball from former teammate Alex Wood. That put the Braves up for good and earned them a game four in the NLDS. All told, the Dodgers went 1-9 with runners in scoring position and left nine on base. Not exactly a winning formula and also very surprising they were able to put up five runs at all.
Other than Alex Wood, the bullpen actually looked pretty great. Ryan Madson came in and pitched 0.2 innings to keep the game close. Pedro Baez pitched his own great inning in which he struck out the side. And Scott Alexander worked a quick 8th to give the team a chance. The entire bullpen will be vital to their success down the stretch, especially in an early game Monday.
The Dodgers and Braves face off this afternoon in Atlanta, with the game starting at 1:30 PM Pacific time. Rich Hill will face off against Mike Foltynewicz, who just pitched on Thursday in Los Angeles. He allowed four earned runs on three hits, including two homeruns.
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