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 dwelling.”
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 may muster.
Atlanta, champions of the N.L. East, received Sport 2 identical to they received Game 1, with a bottom-of-the-ninth-inning hit and a mad sprint dwelling. 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 provide Atlanta a 5-4 win.
Gamers spilled out of the dugout and mobbed Rosario, simply as that they had 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 successful the N.L. wild-card game after which sending the staff with baseball’s finest document this yr, San Francisco, packing in a division sequence.
“My arm was useless,” stated starter Max Scherzer, who was making his third look in seven days and fourth in 12 days. “I may 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 provide the lead again and make it 2-2.
The Dodgers seized one other two-run lead within the seventh due to Chris Taylor’s double, however then opted to carry 20-game winner Julio Urias in from the bullpen to begin 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, in my view, was the best choice we had,” stated Supervisor Dave Roberts of utilizing Urias in that state of affairs relatively than Brusdar Graterol, lefty Justin Bruihl and nearer Kenley Jansen. He added that Urias ought to be positive to begin Sport 5 on Wednesday, ought to the sport be obligatory, regardless of Sunday’s pummeling by which he surrendered hits to half of the batters confronted.
All of the sudden, shockingly, the Dodgers are in serious trouble. They went 1 for 10 with runners in scoring place Sunday and a couple of for 18 in Video games 1 and a couple of mixed. Their pitching is a multitude. 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,” stated Mookie Betts as he walked down the quiet concourse towards the staff bus. “A time without work. We’ve continually been taking part in catch-up. However it’s what it’s. It’s what we signed up for.”
It could be fallacious, Betts stated, to name what occurred in Atlanta a letdown.
“You’ve acquired to provide credit score to them boys over there,” he stated. “They’re taking part in very well. We’re not. We will’t name it a letdown. We’ve acquired to hit, man. That’s all it truly is.”
Betts talked about how good Atlanta is and, even supposing the Dodgers received 4 of six video games in opposition to them this summer season, 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 it is a rematch of final yr’s N.L.C.S. by which Atlanta took a three-games-to-one lead. The Dodgers have been in a position to climb out of that gap with three consecutive wins.
That reminiscence remained recent when Los Angeles arrived at Truist Subject on Saturday. However on their flight dwelling, particularly given the state of their pitching workers and the truth that Justin Turner, the heartbeat of their clubhouse, was a late Sport 2 scratch with what the staff stated was a sore neck, the Dodgers needed to be questioning whether or not they have one other comeback left in them.
Taylor stated 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 stated. “It’s a tricky play. It’s a tricky play for anybody. It’s not Seager’s fault.”
It had appeared like Atlanta had neutralized the Los Angeles risk 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 pressure. However that throw bounced and Seager made a sensational decide to forestall the ball from bouncing into middle discipline. He acquired the out.
“They simply apply stress on us time and again,” Betts stated, “and we lastly cracked.”
It didn’t should be that manner 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 feel it’s every thing, bodily and mentally draining,” Taylor stated. “These video games, they’re 4, 5 hours lengthy. The extent of focus is a bit totally different than regular-season video games. It’s positively exhausting, however that’s what you anticipate. All people on this staff has expertise with it.”
He talked about regrouping on Monday and getting again to it in Sport 3 Tuesday. Walker Buehler, one of many Dodgers’ aces, is rested and prepared.
“We positively imagine we are able to win with him,” stated 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 brief.