January 21, 2022

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Atlanta Takes 2-0 Lead Over Dodgers in NLCS

Atlanta Takes 2-0 Lead Over Dodgers in NLCS

ATLANTA — Fortunes by no means change extra rapidly than they do in October.

“We’re drained,” Chris Taylor, a utility participant for the Los Angeles Dodgers, acknowledged as Sunday slipped into Monday and the Dodgers trudged towards their constitution flight out of Georgia wanting ahead to Monday’s off day. “We’re able to get house.”

Atlanta hastened the Dodgers’ readiness with well timed hitting and clutch pitching over the primary two video games of this Nationwide League Championship Collection, neither of which the Dodgers might muster.

Atlanta, champions of the N.L. East, received Recreation 2 identical to they received Game 1, with a bottom-of-the-ninth-inning hit and a mad sprint house. This time, it was Dansby Swanson racing in from second base after Eddie Rosario tattooed a 105-mile-per-hour screamer up the center that one-hopped off Corey Seager’s glove behind second base to present Atlanta a 5-4 win.

Gamers spilled out of the dugout and mobbed Rosario, simply as they’d Austin Riley 24 hours earlier when Riley singled for the primary game-winning hit of his main league profession.

The Dodgers arrived right here three days in the past after profitable the N.L. wild-card game after which sending the group with baseball’s finest file this 12 months, San Francisco, packing in a division collection.

Now?

“My arm was lifeless,” mentioned starter Max Scherzer, who was making his third look in seven days and fourth in 12 days. “I might inform after I was warming up that it was nonetheless drained.”

Two batters into the sport, Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager smashed a two-run homer. However within the fourth, Scherzer surrendered a monstrous, 454-foot, two-run blast to former Dodger Joc Pederson to present the lead again and make it 2-2.

The Dodgers seized one other two-run lead within the seventh because of Chris Taylor’s double, however then opted to deliver 20-game winner Julio Urias in from the bullpen to start out the eighth inning as an alternative of handing issues over to a standard reliever. Like Scherzer earlier than him, Urias didn’t have his finest stuff and Atlanta ambushed him for 3 hits, making it 4-4 on Riley’s double over Mookie Betts’s head that allowed Ozzie Albies to attain from first base.

“Julio, for my part, was the best choice we had,” mentioned Supervisor Dave Roberts of utilizing Urias in that scenario somewhat than Brusdar Graterol, lefty Justin Bruihl and nearer Kenley Jansen. He added that Urias needs to be wonderful to start out Recreation 4 on Wednesday, ought to the sport be vital, regardless of Sunday’s pummeling by which he surrendered hits to half of the batters confronted.

Immediately, shockingly, the Dodgers are in serious trouble. They went 1 for 10 with runners in scoring place Sunday and a pair of for 18 in Video games 1 and a pair of mixed. Their pitching is a large number. They left city shellshocked.

“It’s not an excuse, you don’t get breaks throughout the season, however we haven’t had a break, actually,” mentioned Mookie Betts as he walked down the quiet concourse towards the group bus. “A time off. We’ve consistently been taking part in catch-up. However it’s what it’s. It’s what we signed up for.”

It might be improper, Betts mentioned, to name what occurred in Atlanta a letdown.

“You’ve received to present credit score to them boys over there,” he mentioned. “They’re taking part in very well. We’re not. We will’t name it a letdown. We’ve received to hit, man. That’s all it truly is.”

Betts talked about how good Atlanta is and, even if the Dodgers received 4 of six video games towards them this summer time, that notion is nothing he must promote to his teammates. A part of what has made these first two video games so stunning is that this can be a rematch of final 12 months’s N.L.C.S. by which Atlanta took a three-games-to-one lead. The Dodgers had been capable of climb out of that gap with three consecutive wins.

That reminiscence remained recent when Los Angeles arrived at Truist Discipline on Saturday. However on their flight house, particularly given the state of their pitching workers and the truth that Justin Turner, the heartbeat of their clubhouse, was a late Recreation 2 scratch with what the group mentioned was a sore neck, the Dodgers needed to be questioning whether or not they have one other comeback left in them.

Taylor mentioned that Seager makes the play on Rosario’s ball 9 out of 10 instances even given the sink and spin on it.

“9 out of 10 instances, however there’s all the time that one,” Betts mentioned. “It’s a tricky play. It’s a tricky play for anybody. It’s not Seager’s fault.”

It had regarded like Atlanta had neutralized the Los Angeles menace when, two batters earlier than the walk-off, Swanson had pushed a bunt towards the mound with a runner on first. Graterol gloved it, wheeled and fired to second for the drive. However that throw bounced and Seager made a sensational decide to stop the ball from bouncing into middle subject. He received the out.

“They simply apply stress on us again and again,” Betts mentioned, “and we lastly cracked.”

It didn’t should be that means for the Dodgers. Not solely did Betts begin the sport with a single and Seager adopted with the homer, however Atlanta starter Ian Anderson was wobbly, throwing solely 11 strikes in his first 26 pitches. The Dodgers, with three extra base runners within the first, had an opportunity to pour it on and couldn’t do it.

“I believe it’s all the pieces, bodily and mentally draining,” Taylor mentioned. “These video games, they’re 4, 5 hours lengthy. The extent of focus is somewhat completely different than regular-season video games. It’s positively exhausting, however that’s what you anticipate. Everyone on this group has expertise with it.”

He talked about regrouping on Monday and getting again to it in Recreation 3 Tuesday. Walker Buehler, one of many Dodgers’ aces, is rested and prepared.

“We positively imagine we will win with him,” mentioned Scherzer, who lasted solely 4 and a 3rd innings and 79 pitches on Sunday.

It’s October, and fortunes change rapidly. For the Dodgers, they’d higher. As a result of the times are operating quick.

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