Dodgers-Braves: LA crisis leaves little hope for another comeback

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LOS ANGELES – Winter here could start as early as Thursday. Not because Dodgers manager Dave Roberts made a series of unfortunate pitching decisions. Not because the president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman failed to build a relieving pen his captain could trust. Not because the defensive players lost balls in the sun and let others throw their gloves away.

After a 9-2 rout in Game 4, Atlanta leads the National League Championship series three-to-one, with a chance to win the pennant at Dodger Stadium. If the Dodgers do end their 106-winning season on Thursday, the crime scene will be the batter’s box.

Atlanta outfielder Eddie Rosario had four hits in Game 4. The Dodgers too.

Roberts looked exhausted after another three and a half hours watching his hitters return to the dugout. “I know it’s not for lack of work and preparation, so the last and most important part is the execution,” he said. ” I have no response. Every time I write the line-up I feel great about our club and the way we line up, our records and what we’re going to do that night, but it just hasn’t worked out. as consistent as, I don’t think, everyone expected. … I would like to have an answer. Believe me, I do.

If the batters do, they didn’t share it on Wednesday; the Dodgers haven’t made Justin Turner, Mookie Betts or Corey Seager available. Outfielder AJ Pollock, who came off the bench to give the Dodgers the only hit with runners in scoring position, also blamed the execution. He did not deny that the past few weeks had been grueling – a fight until Game 162 for the Division, a tight wildcard game, an intense five-game NLDS – but insisted that fatigue was not not the problem. “We just have to execute,” he said. “You can be tired and run. “

For the most part, the lineup does not. Los Angeles is 0.221 with runners in the postseason scoring position and 0.231 overall. He left 72 runners on the bases in 10 games. On Wednesday, the top three in the lineup were 0 for 11 with a march to continue a miserable NLCS for them: Betts hit 0.214. Seager reaches 0.200. Trea Turner reached 0.167.

Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts batting in the eighth inning in Game 4.

Every few days the Dodgers seem to be breaking through, shortening their shots and narrowing the strike zone. They’re starting to look like the team that led the National League in points, scoring 5.12 per game. They staged competitive strikes and dealt devastating punches, like Cody Bellinger did with a three-point bomb to bring his team back to life in Game 3. But each time, in the morning, the magic was gone.

Granted, pitching shortages haven’t helped. Roberts only has three viable starters – Max Scherzer, Walker Buehler and Julio Urías – and because he doesn’t fully trust his field, he used them all in new roles in October. In the NLDS against the Giants, Buehler made his first career start with a short rest. Scherzer and Urías each pitched four times in 12 days. All three started poorly on their last outings, and Scherzer admitted that the extra work had put his arm to sleep.

Wednesday was Urias’ turn. He allowed five runs in as many innings and seemed overwhelmed with frustration at times, flinging his glove over the mound and raising his hands. Both Roberts and Urías insisted the pitcher wasn’t tired, that the Atlanta side just took some good shots.

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Either way, the 2021 Dodgers should be able to overcome a five-point deficit. Instead, they were untouched in four innings by the Atlanta relievers’ box, then fell in sequence in the final two frames. They swung and missed 11 bullets. They put three more in play for the withdrawals.

“If we’re going to chase, then there’s no reason for them to throw the ball into the strike zone,” Roberts said ahead of Game 3. “So I think we kind of have to lock ourselves in more. strike zone and when we do, we’ll be more successful. He said that was “absolutely” the difference between the 2020 squad and the ’21 iteration.

There has been a lot of talk about this 2020 club. This group also lost Games 1 and 2 to Atlanta, then won Game 3 and lost Game 4. These Dodgers won the next three games, then the World Series.

It’s not those Dodgers. Ace Clayton Kershaw injured his left elbow on his last regular season start and will make the playoffs from the dugout. Two days later, first baseman Max Muncy dislocated his left elbow; he will need a miracle to come back before the World Series. And on Wednesday, Justin Turner came to a stop trying to beat a double play ground player in the seventh. Roberts said the team believe he suffered a Grade 2 strain to his left hamstring and finished for the playoffs.

If something doesn’t change soon, so will his teammates.

More MLB coverage:
• The Valdez Sinkers push Boston to the brink
• Cody Bellinger’s rebirth brings Los Angeles to life
Altuve’s mid-game tweak kicks off Houston Series rally
• The strike zone is not the problem

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