There was a lot that went wrong for the Dodgers in their 6-5 loss in game 1 on Friday night. Clayton Kershaw pitched terribly. Yasmani Grandal had a historically awful game, (two passed balls, catcher’s interference, and missed catch error) and the defense fell apart. Despite all of those disasters the Dodgers still rallied and only lost by a run. During game 1, Milwaukee had emptied and burnt out their entire bullpen. Josh Hader was not available to pitch in game 2, and the Dodgers would easily have an advantage with Hyun-jin Ryu starting against Wade Miley.
Things don’t always go as planned in the postseason. While Miley had the game of his life, pitching 5.2 shutout innings and going 2 for 2 with a run scored at the plate, and Ryu was knocked out of the game in the fifth. The Dodgers eventually rallied in the later innings. The boys in blue scored twice in the top of the seventh, and two more in the top of the eighth led by Justin Turner’s beautifully clutch two-run shot. The Dodgers held onto to win 4-3, tying the series as it shifts to Dodger Stadium on Monday.
The Dodgers looked defeated and exhausted against Miley in the opening innings. Poor approaches and weak contact plagued the Dodgers in the first five innings. Miley who looks like he just stepped off the bus from shanty town, used his improved pitching weapon, a heavy cutter to keep the Dodger lineup off balance. The Dodgers had just two hits against Miley, who finished with three strikeouts and no walks.
Dodgers 4 9 0
Brewers 3 7 0
Note that the Dodgers went with their all-righty lineup again as Yasmani Grandal was benched in favor of automatic out Austin Barnes. Max Muncy, and Cody Bellinger were both on the bench as well, but both players got into the game in the later innings.
The Dodgers had trouble with Miley, but it appeared that David Freese had hit a home run over the right center field wall. Unfortunately that darn Lorenzo Cain leaped above the wall to rob Freese and make the catch. That was about the Dodger’s only scoring chance against Miley.
Meanwhile Ryu was fine through the first four innings, as the game remained in a scoreless deadlock. But the fifth inning was Ryu’s undoing. With one out, Orlando Arcia bombed one over the wall in center to give the Brewers the 1-0 lead. Things didn’t get any better for the Dodgers in the frame. Miley singled, and then Cain’s slicing double down the line in left advanced Miley to third. That was it for Ryu, who lasted just 4.1 innings, as Ryan Madson was brought in and intentionally walked Christian Yelich to load the bases. Ryan Braun’s soft grounder scored Miley to put Milwaukee up 2-0. Madson would strike out Aguilar to end the inning.
In the bottom of the sixth, Travis Shaw homered off of Alex Wood, (That’s two consecutive home runs allowed for Wood) and that gave the Brewers a 3-0 lead. It almost seemed insurmountable at that time with the Dodger bats cold for most of the game. However Milwaukee would remove Miley in the sixth, replacing him with Corbin Burnes. The Dodgers with a different look would finally wake up.
In the top of the seventh, Max Muncy drew a pinch-hit walk and Manny Machado singled him to second. Cody Bellinger’s RBI single to center would plate Muncy to cut the Milwaukee lead to 3-1. Jeremy Jeffress would replace Burnes and Joc Pederson’s bloop single into shallow right field would load the bases for the Dodgers. That brought up Yasiel Puig, who impatiently whiffed, breaking his bat over his knees afterwards.
That next brought up Austin Barnes. The Dodgers were out of position players. With nobody left on the bench (Grandal would have to bat for Wood) the Dodgers had no choice but to let Barnes bat with the bases loaded. The best possible outcome for everyone was if Barnes walked. The count went to 3-1 and Barnes took for ball four, forcing in a run and making the score 3-2. But Grandal’s awful series continued as he immediately grounded into an inning ending double play.
After Pedro Baez (now trustworthy in the late innings) tossed a scoreless bottom of the seventh, the Dodgers mounted another rally in the top of the eighth. With Jeffress still on the mound, Chris Taylor’s dribbler was hit softly enough to allow him to reach. That was vital as Justin Turner smashed a 2-0 hanger into the left field bleachers to put the Dodgers ahead 4-3. Turner, the heart and soul of the Dodgers pointed his bat upwards in triumph as Miller Park fell into silence. The Dodger dugout exploded with fist pumping and imaginary selfies. Incredible!
Move to the bottom of the eighth. The Dodgers now up 4-3, desperately needing to hang onto the one-run lead had Baez record the first out, a strike out of Domingo Santana. Baez pumped his fist as Dave Roberts came out of the dugout to remove him. In came Caleb Ferguson. Fergie walked Mike Moustakas, but got Shaw to ground into a force out. Kenta Maeda was the next up, and faced former Dodger Curtis Granderson. I was in disbelief that Granderson was still playing but there he was at the plate with a chance to ruin the Dodgers. Granderson drove a long drive to right, but thankfully Puig caught it near the warning track and the Dodgers got out of the inning unscathed.
Fast forward to the bottom of the ninth. With the Dodgers still leading 4-3, Kenley Jansen got the call to close it out. He gets Arcia to pop out for the first out, but walked Hernan Perez. Kenley recovered to whiff Cain, but that would bring up Yelich representing the winning run. After Perez stole second base, Kenley got Yelich to ground out to third and end the game. Dodgers win it!
Looks like the vaunted Milwaukee bullpen has sprung a leak. Perhaps the Brewers should call a plumber to fix the hole. The NLCS will shift to Dodgers Stadium for game 3 on Monday night. Walker Buehler will take the hill for the Dodgers as Milwaukee will counter with Jhoulys Chacin. First pitch is scheduled for 4:39 PM PST. We have a series folks! Go Blue!