Down 2-0 facing Adam Wainwright.
If you haven’t turned on a television since Saturday, let me break you some bad news: nobody believes in the Dodgers tonight.
Every analyst around is taking their checks and telling us what we already knew: the Dodgers aren’t in good shape. They don’t bother thinking about what could work in LA’s favor tonight, but rather take the easy road and recite the words “Wainwright”, “Ace” and “Really Good” in some random order as justification for why the Dodgers have no chance tonight.
It’s as if the guy with a 2.94 ERA on the season has never allowed a run or lost a game.
I’m not buying it though.
While I’ll admit the odds are stacked against them, here are four reasons LA has a chance to jump back into this series tonight:
First, while the odds are stacked against LA tonight, the odds have been stacked against St. Louis all series and yet they seemed to do just fine.
The Cardinals got out-pitched and out-hit by the Dodgers in the first two games, and yet, here they are up 2-0.
The separator of course is the ability to get hits when they count.
While the Dodgers’ .184 batting average is pitiful, consider that the Cardinals actually hit .134 in the first two games. Again, however, the Dodgers were 1-16 with runners in scoring position, while the Cardinals were 2-8.
Yep, you read that right.
The Dodgers had twice as many at bats with runners in scoring position and still failed to win a single game.
The Cardinals beat the odds and won the first two games despite giving themselves less chances — maybe it’s time for those odds to reverse themselves.
Second, everyone is counting the Dodgers out because of Wainwright.
It’s as if those very same people seem to have forgotten that the Dodgers sent the better pitcher to the mound in the first two games and got better performances from them (14 IP, six hits, two ER, 15K compared to 12.2, 11 hits, two ER, 13 K) and still lost.
Folks, the Dodgers have proven in the past two games you don’t need the better pitcher to win games, you just need a good pitcher and better (or luckier) bats.
That, my friends, is well within reason tonight.
Third, the good news for LA is that Hyun-Jin Ryu is a lefty.
On the season, the Cardinals hit just .238 against left-handers — which doesn’t include the .100 they hit against left-handed Clayton Kershaw earlier this series.
Lets also not forget, Wainwright had a 2.93 ERA this season while opposing hitters hit .248 against him.
Ryu? 3.00 ERA and .252 opponents batting average.
Not as far apart as you’d think.
Lastly, and most simply, the game is at home.
Now hear me right: I’m not saying the Dodgers are favorites to win tonight, I’m just saying they’ve got more of a chance than most experts seem to be giving them.
Of course, if the lineup continues to struggle to hit in big moments (with or without Ethier and Ramirez), none of this will matter.
The Dodgers need a quality start from Ryu and they need their bats to come alive. They need a #PuigBomb or a big hit from Adrian Gonzalez early in the game to remind them (and the crowd) that this series isn’t over.
A five-game series stresses me out because every game is life-or-death. The good news is that isn’t the case in a seven-game series.
Then again, down 2-0, tonight might be the exception.
In case you missed it, here’s the home run that sent the Dodgers to the NLCS!