You didn’t think the Dodgers would just waltz out of Washington with two wins and ride home on an airplane of pixie dust did you? It’s just not that easy; although Rich Hill and the Dodger offense certainly made it easier for Washington then it had to be. The Dodgers blew an early 2-0 lead as Rich Hill was unable to get past the fifth inning (sound familiar?) allowing four earned runs on six hits over 4.1 innings in the game 2 loss to the Nationals.
The Dodger offense was spectacularly ineffective as they were unable to make any adjustments at the plate using the same swings on the same pitches. The killer blow for the Dodgers was Washington catcher Jose Lobaton’s three-run home run off of Hill in the bottom of the fourth inning that put the Nationals ahead 3-2. That not only destroyed any momentum the Dodgers had but essentially ended the game. The Dodgers left 12 men on base and were 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position.
NLDS Game 2 -Series Tied 1-1
Dodgers 2 8 0
Nationals 5 9 0
The Dodgers are trying to become the first team in MLB history to win a World Series with almost no starting pitching. They are finding out that is extremely difficult to do. To be fair, both starting pitchers were lackluster in his game. Both of the starters lasted just 4.1 innings, however Roark seemed to make less mistakes. I didn’t like what I saw from Hill as he fell behind in counts too many times. There were too many 2-0, or 3-0 counts early in the game. The Dodgers bullpen is great, but they are going to need some quality starts from their starters if they are going to make it through the postseason.
On offense Dodger killer Daniel Murphy was 3 for 3 with two runs driven in and Trea Turner went 2 for 4. The Dodgers had just two walks and a single after the fifth inning and never threatened after that. The Dodgers also loaded the bases in three different innings and failed to score. The Nationals would score three runs in the fourth frame, one in the fifth and add another in the seventh and defeated the Dodgers by a 5-2 score to even the NLDS. The series will shift to Dodger Stadium for games 3 and 4 Monday and Tuesday afternoon. Here’s how the game played out.
Once again the Dodgers got another monster home run from Corey Seager in the top of the first inning to put them ahead 1-0. This Seager bomb was hit to right field and he becomes just the third Dodger in postseason history to hit two home runs in the first two games of a postseason series. Rich Hill would start out well by striking out the side in the bottom of the first inning.
Bases loaded failure # 1
The Dodgers first bases loaded failure came in the top of the second. Opposing starter Tanner Roark gives up a single to Joc Pederson with one out. Yasmani Grandal walked, and Andrew Toles was hit by a pitch. However Roark struck out and Chase Utley grounded out. Dodgers get nada.
The Nationals loaded the bases as well against Hill in the bottom of the second. Murphy singled, after Anthon Rendon was called out on strikes Ryan Zimmerman walked. Danny Espinosa was hit by a pitch. Hill then induced an incredibly awesome 1-2-3 double play off the bat of Lobaton to get out of the inning. Unfortunately Lobaton would come back later.
The Dodgers plated their second run of the game in the top of the third. Justin Turner walks and Adrian Gonzalez singles him to second. Josh Reddick singles into right field and Turner comes around to score just ahead of the throw from Bryce Harper. The throw looked to be on the money, but the ball popped out of Lobaton’s glove when he tried to make the tag on the sliding Turner. The Dodgers take a 2-0 lead. Roark intentionally walked Joc to load the bases.
Bases loaded failure # 2
With the bases juiced and one out Grandal grounds into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning. The Dodgers would not score again.
Move to the bottom of the fourth. That’s where everything unraveled for Hill and the Dodgers. With the score still 2-0, Murphy walked. After Rendon and Zimmerman both fly out, Espinosa is hit by a pitch again. Then Lobaton crushes a 3-0 offspeed pitch over the wall to give Washington a 3-2 lead. That was really the game at that point. The momentum was smashed and Rich Hill was clearly useless. The Nationals would add two more runs and the Dodgers of course had one more bases loaded failure left in them.
That came in the top of the fifth. Turner and Reddick singles put two runners on base with one out. The Nationals wisely (It’s not brain surgery, I mean the Dodgers can’t hit left handers) brought in left handed specialist Mark Rzepczynski also known as scrabble in relief of Roark.
Since the Dodgers were not hitting and not making adjustments at all, manager Dave Roberts tried to mitigate that through pinch-hitters. The strategy didn’t work. Yasiel Puig pinch-hit for Joc Pederson and actually had a great at-bat, working a walk to load the bases.
Bases loaded failure #3
The Dodgers would once again, not score. Yasmani Grandal whiffed, and then Roberts went to the bench again. This time Howie Kendrick would pinch-hit for Toles. Kendrick lines to Werth in left and that was it.
The Nationals added single runs in the fifth and seventh innings. Singles from Trea Turner, and Bryce Harper set up a Murphy RBI single to center. In the seventh inning, Werth doubled, and once again Murphy singled him home. Murphy is now 4 for 6 in the series, and the Dodgers continue to pitch to him. There might have been more had Kendrick thrown out Harper at the plate in the fifth inning on a shallow pop fly to left.
‘The Nationals have a good bullpen too and they used five relievers to finish the Dodgers the rest of the way. Rzepczynski, Sammy Solis, Blake Treinen, Oliver Perez, and closer Mark Melancon combined to toss 4.2 innings of shutout ball. Hard to believe the Dodgers were done in by a backup catcher who hit a grand total of 3 home runs during the regular season, but that’s postseason baseball. She’s a cruel mistress sometimes.
The Nationals are too good of a club to be swept honestly, and the Dodgers are not a great road team. Look at it this way, the Dodgers were able to get one of the two on the road and I’m fine with that. Now the series comes back to Dodger Stadium where the Dodgers play a hell of a lot better. I think game 3 is pivotal here. If the Dodgers win game 3, then I think they’ll win the series. If they don’t then they are going to have a very hard time coming back from a 2-1 deficit.
One thing is for sure as I mentioned above, the Dodgers need to a quality start in game 3. That’s your job Kenta Maeda, please don’t screw it up. Game 3 will start tomorrow at 1:08 PM PST on MLB Network. Kenta Maeda vs. Gio Gonzalez.
At least the Giants are down 0-2. Silver linings Dodger fans.