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2021 MLB playoffs: Five things that must happen for Dodgers to come back from their NLCS deficit vs. Braves

Two video games, two walk-offs, and a 2-0 collection lead for the Atlanta Braves over the Los Angeles Dodgers within the 2021 NLCS. The Braves are solely the second staff ever to win Video games 1 and a couple of of a League Championship Collection on walk-offs, becoming a member of the 1969 Baltimore Orioles. Austin Riley and Eddie Rosario supplied walk-off singles similar to Paul Blair and Curt Motton for the O’s again within the day. 

“We obtained huge hits,” Braves supervisor Brian Snitker mentioned following Sport 2. “I imply, all of them. [Rosario], Joc (Pederson), Austin. I imply, that is what it takes to win these video games, and I imply, they’re arduous video games to win, however [Rosario] had a very nice night.”

For the Dodgers, some perspective is so as: Los Angeles hasn’t hit, the bullpen has blown up twice, they’ve made a number of dopey errors on the bases and within the subject, and but Video games 1 and a couple of nonetheless got here right down to the ultimate at-bat. You possibly can slice it each methods (Freddie Freeman will not preserve placing out perpetually, for instance), however the Dodgers had been in each video games proper to the very finish.

That mentioned, two losses are two losses, and a 2-0 collection deficit is daunting. Traditionally, groups that took a 2-0 lead in a best-of-seven went on to win the collection 84 p.c of the time. The Dodgers erased a 2-0 deficit (and a 3-1 deficit) to beat the Braves in final yr’s NLCS, so this can be a been right here, finished that state of affairs. Beating an 88-win staff 4 occasions within the subsequent 5 video games will not be simple although.

“I feel two innings — clearly they’ve had two huge innings to take the lead — and the collection could possibly be flipped,” Dodgers supervisor Dave Roberts mentioned after Sport 2. “So I simply, like I mentioned earlier than, our guys are ready to play by means of October.”

The NLCS now shifts to Dodger Stadium the place the Dodgers have received 10 of their final 11 video games towards the Braves, together with sweeping a three-game collection in late August and early September this yr. Listed below are 5 issues that should occur for Los Angeles to make a comeback from down 2-0 to beat the Braves for the second straight postseason. 

1. Buehler dominates in Sport 3

Los Angeles misplaced Video games 1 and a couple of to the Braves in final yr’s NLCS, then got here out and scored 11 runs within the first inning in Sport 3. That is clearly an outlier and never one thing anybody ought to rely on occurring once more. What the Dodgers additionally acquired in Sport 3 was a terrific begin from Julio Urías. He allowed only one run in 5 innings after being staked to that vast lead.

The trail to an NLCS comeback begins on the mound with Walker Buehler shutting the Braves down in Sport 3, giving the offense a while to construct a lead and breath a little bit. Buehler is a Cy Young candidate (if not the favourite) and he pitched properly in his lone begin towards the Braves through the common season, holding them to 2 runs in seven innings on Aug. 31.

Buehler will begin Sport 3 with two further days of relaxation after beginning Sport 4 of the NLDS on quick relaxation final Tuesday. He was superb in that begin, although the Dodgers restricted him to 71 pitches. Buehler must be good for a full begin in Sport 3, and he is confirmed himself to be a big-game pitcher (2.50 ERA in 13 profession postseason begins). The Dodgers want one other gem Tuesday.

2. The RISP tide should flip

Two video games into the NLCS, the Dodgers are 2 for 18 with runners in scoring place, and Chris Taylor has each hits. He’s 2 for 3 with runners in scoring place and the remainder of the Dodgers are 0 for 15. They’ve turned 25 baserunners into solely six runs in these two video games towards the Braves. Clearly no comeback will occur with out that enhancing.

“I feel on this in that specific occasion it is an strategy factor,” Roberts mentioned following Sport 2. “It is an strategy factor and I feel that sure occasions in scoring place we’re increasing an excessive amount of.”  

The Dodgers are a house run offense (their 237 homers had been fourth most in MLB), but eight video games into their postseason, they’ve hit solely seven residence runs. The Braves are a house run staff too (they hit 239 homers this yr) they usually have solely six homers in six postseason video games, although they had been capable of get that huge non-homer hit in Video games 1 and a couple of. The Dodgers are nonetheless ready.

Apparently sufficient, the Dodgers have taken a extra aggressive strategy this postseason. Throughout the common season their offense had the fourth-lowest swing charge (45.4 p.c) and the ninth-lowest strikeout charge (22.9 p.c) in baseball. Via eight postseason video games they’ve swung at 49.4 p.c of the pitches they’ve seen, and their strikeout charge is right down to 21.7 p.c. 

“We’re,” Roberts mentioned when requested whether or not the Dodgers are deliberately being extra aggressive following Sport 1. “… Simply attempting to win and struggle, win pitches, and provides ourselves an opportunity. You give your self an opportunity, then it is higher than punching. So I assumed we have been doing a a lot higher job of that.”

The Dodgers had six two-strike hits towards Max Fried in Sport 1 — Fried held hitters to a .160 batting common in two-strike counts through the common season — although they had been scattered, and did not result in many runs. They struck out 10 occasions in Sport 2 but scored 4 runs, their third highest whole in eight postseason video games, thanks largely to 9 — 9! — walks.

There’s one thing to be mentioned for having the willingness and talent to make changes, notably when the stakes are highest within the postseason, although maybe the Dodgers ought to revert again to the ultra-patient strategy that labored so properly within the common season? Possibly the walks and strikeouts in Sport 2 are a sign that’s already occurring. We’ll see.

Both manner, the Dodgers have finished good work creating alternatives to attain within the NLCS. They’ve gone down 1-2-3 solely 5 occasions in 18 innings. In some unspecified time in the future they should convert these alternatives into runs if this NLCS comeback goes to occur. The Braves are rattling good they usually deserve credit score for holding the Dodgers off the board, however frequently tipping your cap is not any option to win a collection.

3. The Turners need to be higher

It is a minor miracle the Dodgers are 4 wins away from their fourth pennant in 5 years with Justin Turner and Trea Turner being as unproductive as they have been this postseason. The Turners are a mixed 10 for 63 (.159) within the playoffs, and though they’d three hits in Sport 1, they weren’t scalded. Two had been floor balls up the center and one was a little bit flare the opposite manner.

What now we have seen from the Turners is completely an excessive amount of of this:

Trea fouled away a hittable fastball over the plate, then expanded the zone and swung at pitches off the plate for strikes two and three in an important spot. The Dodgers as a staff have collectively missed a whole lot of hittable pitches out over the plate this postseason, although Turner is an MVP-caliber participant, and when he has a foul at-bat and a foul postseason, it is extra noticeable.

“Actually when guys are struggling it is a combo. It is the chase, and once you do get pitches to deal with you are not ending the at-bat. So I feel that is what’s occurring to Justin,” Roberts mentioned previous to Sport 2. “I feel a whole lot of our guys are a little bit bit caught in between on velocity versus spin. So it is extra about simply the mindset of being aggressive in your zone and what you are good at, and all the pieces exterior of that, strive to not provide at it.”

Within the ninth inning of Sport 2 Turner (Trea, not Justin) hit a ball to the warning observe — Statcast says it could have been a house run in 26 of the opposite 29 ballparks, together with Dodger Stadium — which can be an indication he is popping out of it. Turner (Justin, not Trea) was on the bench in Sport 2 with a “stinger” in his neck, and maybe the neck problem explains his poor postseason.

At this level although, the Dodgers want greater than indicators Trea is popping out of it and potential harm excuses for Justin. It’s a results-based enterprise and a results-based time of yr, and neither Turner is offering outcomes. I would not say it is unimaginable for the Dodgers to win the World Collection with the Turners enjoying like this, although it’s inconceivable.

I am normally not a giant “shake up the lineup” man, although I ponder whether it is price placing Trea again within the leadoff spot. He is been hitting third since early September and has been superb in that spot (.356/.412/.615), however possibly placing him again atop the lineup will get him extra locked in on his strategy, and permits him to give attention to setting the desk slightly than driving in runs. It is price contemplating, if nothing else.

“I really feel like I am not doing sufficient,” Trea mentioned after Sport 1. “I really feel like I have been not aggressive sufficient and I really feel like I swing and miss generally, however once I get two strikes I will battle. However for me I must take these possibilities. I want to be aggressive and I feel once I’m aggressive I will take balls and swing at strikes and I will do what I must.”

Wherever they hit within the lineup, there’s nearly no path to a different championship with out the Turners being higher shifting ahead. That 10 for 63 is within the books. There isn’t any altering that. Being extra productive in Sport 3 and past must be the main focus. Good gamers droop on a regular basis, and the Turners are slumping at a foul time for the Dodgers.

4. Lean on the highest bullpen arms extra

Depend me among the many Urías first-guessers in Sport 2. To recap: Roberts went to Urías with a two-run lead within the eighth inning, three days after his 59-pitch reduction outing in NLDS Sport 5 and three days earlier than his scheduled begin in NLCS Sport 4. Urías allowed hits to 3 of the primary 4 batters he confronted, together with Riley’s loud game-tying double. The 2-run lead evaporated in six pitches.

“We talked about it earlier than the collection and he was out there final evening if it got here to the state of affairs. It did not,” Roberts mentioned after Sport 2. “He hadn’t thrown a bullpen and he was the best choice at that cut-off date. He was ready for it. It was an ideal spot for him, and getting him by means of that eighth to go to Kenley (Jansen) to complete the sport.”

Urías has loads of bullpen and big-game expertise. The problem wasn’t placing him in an unfamiliar place. The problem was whether or not it was in reality “an ideal spot for him” given:

  • Blake Treinen threw solely 9 pitches within the seventh inning and there was a chance to make use of him for greater than three outs. Alas, Treinen wasn’t double switched in, so his lineup spot led off the highest of the eighth inning.
  • Max Scherzer admitted his “arm was dead” in Sport 2 following his reduction look in NLDS Sport 5 three days in the past. Urías threw 59 pitches in that sport. He could not have felt 100% in Sport 2.
  • Roberts tends to shoehorn beginning pitchers into postseason reduction appearances even when it is not vital. What number of occasions have we seen him do it with Clayton Kershaw over time?

The Dodgers actually appeared to need the left-on-left matchup towards Rosario and Freeman in that eighth inning, which is comprehensible. However when your greatest choices are Urías on his throw day or a rookie with 19 2/3 huge league innings underneath his belt (Justin Bruihl), it is most likely greatest to stay with Treinen, or go to Jansen towards the highest of the order and work out the ninth later.

“I simply assume that if you happen to’re speaking about efficiency, expertise — nothing towards Justin — however when you could have a selection between him and Julio, I feel it is fairly clear who I used to be going to decide on,” Roberts mentioned when requested about presumably utilizing Bruihl within the eighth inning following Sport 2.

Even past Urías, Brusdar Graterol was introduced in to begin the ninth inning with the rating tied 4-4, and it wasn’t till the state of affairs was dire that Jansen emerged from the bullpen. So, the case could be made Roberts went together with his second-best choice within the eighth inning (Urías over Treinen or Jansen) and ninth inning (Graterol over Jansen) in Sport 2, and it price the Dodgers.

I used to be completely cool with utilizing Scherzer to shut out NLDS Sport 5. That is a win-or-go-home state of affairs and the Dodgers’ greatest choices at that time the place a second inning from Jansen, or Joe Kelly or Alex Vesia. Kelly and Vesia have been actually good! However I might hitch my wagon to the long run Corridor of Famer in that state of affairs eight days per week and twice on Sunday.

Sport 2 was not an elimination sport, and I did not like utilizing Urías in reduction not solely due to the sport state of affairs, but additionally as a result of it might throw a wrench into his Sport 4 begin. There may be nonetheless a whole lot of collection to be performed, and whereas the present sport is at all times an important sport in October, you do need to handle to win 4 video games slightly than one, particularly early within the collection.

“No, no. Under no circumstances. Under no circumstances,” Roberts mentioned when requested whether or not the Sport 2 look will influence Urías’ availability in Sport 4. “That is why he was prepared, out there [Saturday] — did not throw a aspect — to organize for considered one of these two video games.” 

Video games 3-5 (if there’s a Sport 5) might be performed on three consecutive days, so pushing your prime relievers will not be as simple the subsequent few days. That in-built relaxation day is not proper across the nook. That mentioned, the Dodgers are in a bind, and if they should use Treinen and Jansen greater than three outs every to win Sport 3, so be it. Cease attempting to steal outs with starters in reduction or lesser relievers.

5. Get a little bit fortunate

The Dodgers are ok to beat the Braves 4 occasions within the subsequent 5 video games on expertise alone. It would not damage to get a little bit luck alongside the best way although. The Dodgers might use a number of bounces going their manner, a number of calls going their manner, and issues to interrupt their manner usually. One of the best groups are good and fortunate, and the Dodgers have not had any good luck two video games into the NLCS. One lucky hop can tip the dimensions of their favor.



https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/information/2021-mlb-playoffs-five-things-that-must-happen-for-dodgers-to-come-back-from-their-nlcs-deficit-vs-braves/ | 2021 MLB playoffs: 5 issues that should occur for Dodgers to come back again from their NLCS deficit vs. Braves

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