Tuesday night, after an infuriating 8-7 loss to the Atlanta Braves, that message began to resonate.
The Dodgers, who haven’t given up back-to-back games since the second week of September, are suddenly down 2-0 in this National League championship series, a hole only 15% of teams have been able to emerge from better. of the seven playoffs.
Their longtime ace, Clayton Kershaw, is recovering from back spasms that kept him from starting his second game. Their most talented pitcher, Walker Buehler, struggles with blisters that kept him from registering a sixth inning out for nearly eight weeks. And yet – these are the Dodgers, owning a points differential of over 136 points in the 60-game regular season, with all the skill and depth imaginable.
“It’s a long streak,” said Corey Seager, a Dodgers shortstop. “We take up the challenge. ”
The Dodgers scored only once in Game 1, on an Enrique Hernandez solo homer, and most of their batsmen were relatively uncompetitive. In Game 2, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts felt his offense was doing a better job capitalizing on error throws against opposing relievers. The Dodgers forced Ian Anderson out of the game after four innings, drew six goals in the first eight, and in the ninth their high power offense finally came to life.
Seager, who had a three-run homerun two innings earlier, led Betts with a brace. Max Muncy, who wrestled all year, pitched a two-run homerun. And Cody Bellinger, unsuccessful in his first eight batting in the NLCS, fielded a two-out triple down the right-field line, getting 90 feet from the tie in score before the end of the game. AJ Pollock.
“This team has a lot of fighting; we’ve been doing it all year round, ”Seager said. “We were a swing, anything, far from knotting this ball game and entering the extras. ”
The Dodgers, who will play the role of the road team for the next three games, can take comfort in knowing that they’ve hit the low point in the Braves’ thin rotation and that all of their top-of-the-line relievers are fresh.
But they’ll need 24-year-old Julio Urias to pitch effectively with his team’s season essentially on the Match 3 line. They’ll need Kershaw to recover well enough to take the ball in Game 4. They’ll need Dustin May, originally referred to as some kind of wildcard out of the relievers’ box, to maybe give them all he has in Game 5. And they’ll need their offense to pass early, before the Braves’ vaunted bullpen plays a role.
Only 13 of the 85 teams that faced a 2-0 deficit returned to win a best-of-seven streak – but the Dodgers have three of those streak wins.
“One game at a time,” Roberts said. “I know it sounds cliché, but it’s the only way to do it and approach it. “