Hernández: Braves didn't win NLCS Game 1 as much as the Dodgers' offense lost it

Hernández: Braves didn't win NLCS Game 1 as much as the Dodgers' offense lost it

10/17/2021 1:33:00 PM

Hernández: Braves didn't win NLCS Game 1 as much as the Dodgers' offense lost it

A baserunning blunder by Chris Taylor coupled with the Dodgers' inability to drive in runs despite 10 hits proved costly in NLCS Game 1 loss to Braves.

Dodgers’ Dave Roberts and Trea Turner discuss NLCS Game 1 lossDodgers manager Dave Roberts and second baseman Trea Turner talk about the team’s 3-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves in Game 1 of the NLCS on Saturday.Pederson threw the ball behind Taylor to shortstop Dansby Swanson, who was covering second base. Taylor was caught in a rundown.

“That’s a huge, huge out in the game,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said.In retrospect, Taylor said he should have stopped at second base. Doing so would have brought up Mookie Betts with two outs and men on first and second.“It happens,” Roberts said. “It’s baseball.”

The chances started early and came often, even with No. 1 starter Max Fried pitching for the Braves.Corey Seager doubled with two outs in the first inning, only for Justin Turner to follow with a strikeout.Photos: Dodgers vs. Braves in NLCS Game 1Photos from Game 1 of the National League Championship Series between the Dodgers and Atlanta Braves at Truist Park in Atlanta on Saturday night. headtopics.com

The Dodgers’ only hit with a runner in scoring position came in the second inning when AJ Pollock doubled and was driven in on a single by Taylor, leveling the game at 1-1.The Dodgers went in front, 2-1, on a solo home run by Will Smith in the fourth inning. The Braves countered in the bottom half of the inning with a solo home run by Riley. The Dodgers didn’t score again.

Trea Turner stroked a two-out single to center field in the fifth inning and stole second base, only for Seager to strike out looking.Justin Turner singled to center field in the sixth and reached second base on a wild pitch by Fried to Albert Pujols. Justin Turner moved to third on a groundout by Pujols, but Pollock lined out to Albies for the third out.

Fried was removed after that inning.“Tonight, considering the stuff Fried had, to get him out after six, I thought we took good at-bats,” Roberts said. “We just couldn’t push enough runs across.”The troubles continued after Fried departed.Commentary: Wall Street Baseball heading for a bust on opener pitching strategy?

Using pitchers as openers has strategic value but is it good for the game? Dodgers starter Max Scherzer doesn’t think it’s something fans like to see.Taylor led off the seventh inning with a double against left-hander Tyler Matzek. Pinch hitter Austin Barnes put down a perfectly placed sacrifice bunt to move Taylor to third base. headtopics.com

With Taylor on third with one out and Betts at the plate, the go-ahead run felt like an inevitability.Betts couldn’t deliver, popping up to first baseman Freddie Freeman in foul territory. The task of driving Taylor fell to NL batting champion Trea Turner.

He swung and missed at the first pitch, a 98-mph fastball below the strike zone. He fouled off a 99-mph pitch that was outside.Three pitches later, he swung and missed on a slider that was low and inside.“I think I might have been a little too aggressive, but I’m OK with that because that’s what I told myself I wanted to do,” Trea Turner said. “He made some good pitches, I swung at some balls. Obviously, I’d like to have that at-bat back.”

In the regular season, the Dodgers could console themselves after a game like this by reminding themselves the numbers would eventually even out, that timely hits were bound to come. Read more: Los Angeles Times »

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