LOS ANGELES (News4usonline) – So far, the National League Division Series has turned out to be a feast or famine affair for the Los Angeles Dodgers. In one game their bats are clicking. In the next one, their bats have gone dark.
Unlike Game 1 and Game 3, Game 4 of the NLDS was not one of those games where the Dodgers hitters found themselves whiffled into silence. The Dodgers got it going early and kept churning out the runs to the tune of 12 hits in a 7-2 win at Dodger Stadium, forcing an inevitable Game 5 with the San Francisco Giants.
“I think that, early on, I think we talked after Game 1, I think when we’re at our best is when we use the big part of the field,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “So you saw that with Trea in that double, scoring Corey, and Corey did that same thing with his base hit for his first hit of the night, and followed that up again with, against that McGee at-bat.”
Roberts continued, “But I think when we’re at our best, that’s what we do. So it just allows us to see the baseball a little bit longer, make better swing decisions. And I think tonight it could have been a lot more skewed, the score. So I thought we took some great at-bats and didn’t get rewarded, but if we continue to take those at-bats, I like our chances.”
Unlike Game 3, the Dodgers didn’t waste the efforts of their pitcher. Walker Buehler gave the Dodgers a solid outing, although it was pretty short at four and one-third innings.
With the hitters doing their thing, Buehler and the four relievers that followed did the grunt work to give the Dodgers a chance to make it to Game 5.
“I think sometimes, and this is just kind of, he just seemed relaxed, and sometimes when you might be a little bit more fatigued and not too amped up or too strong, you sort of kind of try not to do too much,” Roberts said of Buehler.
“And all night long he stayed in his delivery, all the stuff, the velocity, the characteristics of his secondary pitches was really good, used the changeup when he needed to. I thought it was really good all night long,” Roberts commented.
In his short stint, Buehler gave up three hits while posting four strikeouts.
“First time I’ve ever done the short rest thing,” Buehler said. “ I physically felt really good. We’ll see how that holds tomorrow. But elimination game and having been here a little bit, I wanted the ball and I feel good about what I did.
“I wish I could have gotten a little bit deeper, but that’s part of it and we have the talent and the guys in the back end of the bullpen to cover it,” Buehler added. “So, yeah, really good team win for us and fun to watch those guys close it out at the end.”
When the world champs have their backs against the wall it seems they play their best baseball. That means a Mookie Betts sighting is always a good thing for the energy of the ballclub.
With the Dodgers fiddling around with a 2-0 lead, Betts delivered the knockout blow in the fourth inning when he blasted a two-run home run into the bleachers to give the Dodgers a 4-0 cushion.
“I told him after the homer, I said that’s his best swing he’s taken all year,” Roberts said.
Betts said he was just looking to get more runs.
“Obviously super excited to just put some runs on the board,” Betts said. “But I think it was just the 26 guys. Those are the most important guys that the feeling was for, and I think it gave us a lot of energy and we were able to continue to keep pressure on them and obviously win in the end.”
It’s ironic the NLDS would come down to one game to decide which advances. The Giants won the NL West Division by one game over the second-place Dodgers. One game will now decide the fate of both teams. One team will watch the rest of the postseason at home, the other will play for an opportunity to advance to the World Series.
“I mean, I feel like our team and the Dodgers team have both been playing meaningful games for a while now,” Giants catcher Buster Posey said. “Obviously this one coming up on Thursday is the most meaningful to this point and it should be fun.”
I write about sports, racial and social justice, culture, and everything else in between. Beat writer for the Rams, Chargers, Lakers, and Clippers. Part of the inaugural Associated Press Sports Editors Diversity Fellowship class. Howard University alum.