Arizona has the Dodgers on the brink

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (News4usonline) – The Los Angeles Dodgers are in trouble of getting taken out of the postseason. Early. After getting beat 4-2 in Game 2 of the National League Division Series, the Dodgers are now two games in the hole. Another defeat at the hands of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the Dodgers can kiss the rest of the playoffs goodbye. 

“I think a lot of our guys have — some of our guys have been in this spot before as far as facing elimination,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said after the game. “I think we’ve just got to pitch better at times and take better at-bats. I think that we have the guys that can do it. And we’ve just got to take better team at-bats and win the next game, win Game 3. If we win Game 3 we’ll pick up the pieces and go from there.”

Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Jose Herrera (11) looks to see if he got it all in the team's season finale against the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 2, 2023. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman for News4usonline
Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Jose Herrera (11) looks to see if he got it all in the team’s season finale against the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 2, 2023. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman for News4usonline

The Major League Baseball matchup between the Dodgers and the Diamondbacks, so far, is proof that it’s better to play hot rather than try to get things going when you’ve been sitting around for a week waiting to play the winner of the Wild Card series. 

While the Dodgers chilled, Arizona, a team that finished 16 games back of the Dodgers in the National League West Division, smoked the Milwaukee Brewers to win the NL Wild Card series. Like Game 1, Arizona came out in Game 2 and jumped out to an early lead. Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said that was a sign that his ballclub came ready to play. 

“Well, it told me that our team was ready to come out and play the game the way that we have been. We talked about making statements early,” Lovullo said. “They have continued to maintain their competitive focus through any situation, days off, just doesn’t matter. These guys are very hungry, and they feel like they have a lot to prove. How do I feel about the wins here in LA? Obviously, we feel good about it, but we will take nothing for granted. We will continue to stay humble and work very hard.”

So far, the Diamondbacks are showing the Dodgers and the rest of the baseball world how they are getting it done. In their Game 1 thrashing of the Dodgers, the Diamondbacks let their bats do all of the talking as they scored nine runs in the first two innings on their way to an eventual 11-2 win. In Game 2, Arizona’s pitching saved the game for the Diamondbacks. 

Game 2 was a much closer affair than Game 1. The Dodgers managed to collect four hits off Arizona in Game 1. The heart of the Dodgers’ batting lineup-Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Max Muncy, and J.D. Martinez couldn’t smell a hit. In Game 2, the Dodgers did a little better, generating six hits. But again, the power of the Dodgers’ batting lineup went limp against the Diamondbacks. 

Betts went hitless in his four at-bats. Freeman was able to pump out one hit, and Martinez accounted for two hits in the defeat. The Dodgers had their opportunities but wasted them, leaving seven players stranded on base. The biggest chance the Dodgers had in taking Game 2 came in the bottom of the fifth inning and the top of the sixth inning. 

LOS ANGELES, CA – APRIL 05: Los Angeles Dodgers Freddie Freeman (5) rounds second base on his way to scoring on a Justin Turner (10) double against the Los Angeles Angels in the third inning for a spring training game at Dodger Stadium on April 5, 2022, in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by John McCoy/Icon Sportswire)

With the Dodgers mounting their biggest offensive threat of the night, Arizona pitcher Zac Gallen showed everyone that pitching matters in the playoffs. Gallen got Betts to hit into a force out. Gallen struck out Freeman with the bases loaded to end the inning and perhaps blocked the best opportunity for the Dodgers to make the series a more competitive one.

“My thought was I felt pretty good with the curveball,” Gallen said. “Base open. I was looking for a swing-and-miss. Freddie’s Freddie. So it’s obviously a tough at-bat. You’ve got to kind of craft those sequences a little bit differently. But the curveball, really, I was just trying to throw at the bottom of the zone. 

“I wasn’t trying to bury it by any means, just give him something that he had to think about swinging at. I felt it just came out of my hand a little high. Halfway there, it’s, like, he’s not going to swing at this. Seemed to me like he wasn’t going to swing at it.”

Roberts was asked after the game whether he felt angry or frustrated with his team coming up short of the win.  

“I wouldn’t say angry,” Roberts said.“I thought all night long we had pitches to hit, but we just couldn’t do much with them. Once we got to their pen, we had an opportunity. We cashed in on one run, and we could have had a chance couldn’t get the situational at-bat. There’s certainly fight. There always has been. But it comes down to results, too.”

Top photo: Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts