The Dodgers are down 0-2 in the NLCS after losing Game 2 to the Braves, 8-7. But their position might not be as dire as that appears.
A previously flatlining offense showed a pulse in the ninth inning, which may provide a boost of confidence going into Game 3. But the Dodgers will face another Atlanta pitcher who hasn’t allowed a postseason run in Kyle Wright.
After not having pitched for 17 days and being rushed into the breach to replace schedule starter Clayton Kershaw (back spasms), Tony Gonsolin was perfect for three inning before faltering. He allowed five earned runs on three hits, with three walks and seven strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings. Pedro Baez didn’t help, walking two batters and allowing two runs to score after replacing Gonsolin. Dave Roberts would cite the three-batter rule as a problem, but in reality it was his customary poor October decision making that was the problem.
But even if Gonsolin had been great, would it have mattered when the lineup couldn’t score any runs for him?
Julio Urias might get some run support in Game 3 if the Dodgers can carry their Tuesday night ninth-inning surge forward into Wednesday. In two postseason appearances, he’s allowed one run and four hits in eight innings, with 11 strikeouts and one walk. Will Urias be just as good starting as he’s been in relief?
The Dodgers lineup could certainly help matters by scoring early, maybe even before Freddie Freeman hits a home run for the Braves. At least the team knows someone besides Corey Seager (2-for-4 with a home run and four RBI in Game 2) can generate some offense against Atlanta’s pitching now.
Facing Josh Tomlin in the ninth, Max Muncy hit a two-run homer (with a little bit of swagger), followed by a Cody Bellinger RBI triple to cut the deficit to 8-7 and make the Braves sweat a bit. The effort was too late and not quite enough to tie the game or take the lead. But the crash cart paddles jolted the offense back to life.
And if the Dodgers can win Game 3, this series gets interesting with Kershaw presumably being ready to start Game 4. Yes, being up 2-0 in the series would obviously be better. But that heart is beating again.
Ian Casselberry watchdogs sports media for Awful Announcing. He’s covered baseball for SB Nation, Yahoo Sports and MLive, and was one of Bleacher Report’s first lead MLB writers. Please follow Ian on Twitter @iancass and give him a listen at The Podcass.