Dodgers leave behind Game 2 chances

LOS ANGELES (News4usonline) – The National League Division Series (NLDS) between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres is now tied at 1-1. In a five-game series where a team can claim victory if they are the first to get to three wins, this puts the pressure on the Dodgers to come through.

The Dodgers got to this point by winning 111 out of 162 games during the regular season. That means absolutely nothing in the postseason. The Dodgers jumped all over the Padres in Game 1, coming away with a 5-3 win at Dodger Stadium. In Game 2, the Padres returned the favor, beating their National League West Division rivals 5-3.

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts speaking to reporters during a pre-game press conference prior to Game 2 of the National League Division Series (NLDS). Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

Going back to the regular season, the Padres have played on the offensive end. The key to that is making everything simple, Austin Nola said.

“Just keeping it simple,” Nola said. “Staying up the middle hard. Something low. Getting good pitches to hit and extending the at-bat to the next guy. That’s my goal. That’s been our goal going through these playoffs. We know that’s what we have to do. We have to string hits together. We can’t rely on the three-run home run all the time.”

The Dodgers managed to hit three home runs off San Diego pitcher Yu Darvish, who lasted five innings and surrendered seven hits. The problem with the home runs that Max Muncy, Freddie Freeman, and Trea Turner hit was that they were all solo shots. The Dodgers had their chances to go up 2-0 in the series, but instead left multiple runners stranded in the late innings to preserve the win for San Diego.

Two innings in particular stand out. In the sixth inning, the Dodgers placed runners on the corner (first and third base) with nobody out. Los Angeles walked out of that inning without a single run. The next inning, in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Dodgers managed to load the bases. That opportunity also went by the wayside.

San Diego Padres pitcher Yu Darvish took the mound in Game 2 of the National League Division Series (NLDS) against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Darvish gave up seven hits and three runs while striking out seven batters in the Padres’ 5-3 win at Dodger Stadium on Oct. 12, 2022. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

The Padres made the most of their chances. Thanks to a late-season trade late in the season that brought slugger Juan Soto to the ballclub, the Padres are more of an offensive threat than they’ve ever been. Dodgers catcher Will Smith talked about the difference in San Diego’s lineup now as opposed to the way it was earlier during the regular season.

“Definitely new faces, but it’s a lot of the same guys. It’s — they’re good hitters. They’re a good lineup,” Smith said. “They come with an approach every day. So you have to kind of figure that out on the fly, but we come with a good plan. We attack their weaknesses with our strengths and go about it that way.”

With the score tied at 3-3, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts sat starter Clayton Kershaw after five innings of work. It was an uneven night for Kershaw, who struck out six batters. However, he did give up three runs from six hits and didn’t look as sharp as he normally does from the mound, Roberts said.

“It was huge to get him through five,” Roberts remarked during his postgame press conference. “Allowed us to stay away from some guys. Now it’s a best-of-three series. I just felt that he just didn’t — he wasn’t sharp. I thought it was a grind all night for him. Missing just a little bit with the fastball.

Roberts continued, “The slider, couldn’t have feel for it until probably that 4th, 5th inning, and there were some other decent ones before that. The curveball didn’t really have a feel for. So he was just out there in compete mode trying to weather the storm and try to get some outs, but for him to put up a couple of zeros in the 4th and 5th inning, so not to completely spell the pen, was big.”

The Padres’ side of things nearly played out the way Game 1 turned. The Dodgers got a home run in the first inning on their way to the first win of the series. San Diego returned the favor when third baseman Manny Machado sent a Kershaw pitch into the left-field bleachers.

“Yeah, I definitely had some traffic all day,” Kershaw said. “It could have been a lot worse, for sure. I think there’s a lot of traffic all day. I had to make some pitches. Had to pitch out of jams basically every inning, but there’s a few mistakes in there that got hit hard, obviously.”

“The homer to Manny was a mistake, and the two-strike hit that Profar got there was a mistake,” Kershaw added. “Then I left a slider up to Soto too that he got a hit on. I definitely made some mistakes that they made me pay for, but overall I would like to have a few pitches back, but it definitely could have been worse, for sure.”

Featured Image Caption: Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts. File photo/Melinda Meijer for News4usonline