San Diego Every time it seems that the Los Angeles Dodgers have put themselves in prime run scoring opportunities but have failed to make the most of.
A 0-for-8 performance with runners in scoring positions in game 2 in the National League Division Series was followed by a 0-for-9 performance in Game 3. Their unbeaten streak in these situations has gotten to 19 at-bats, which is tied with their longest streak of the season, and the longest run in one match since their first playoff in 1981. Their dominant seasonthat included 11 wins and a +334 run-differential that is which is fourth largest in the history of baseball — is close to ending in the hands of that identical San Diego Padres team they have dominated over the last six months. The postseason is often felt as if it’s a flash in the pan.
“They’re pitching good right now, and we’re not hitting,” Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman said after Los Angeles lost 2-1 in Petco Park, which gave the Padres the lead by 2-1 in the best-of-five-series. “We got to hit tomorrow.”
San Diego native and lifelong Padres fan Joe Musgrove will take the ball in the game on Saturday, Game 4 in the presence of what is expected to be a lively home crowd and the chance to take down an Dodgers team that easily won the division championship. The Dodgers starting with left-handed pitcher Tyler Anderson, must get over Musgrove and find how to generate offense against the Padres pitching staff that held their impressive offense to just nine baserunners, and no runs in 13 innings of this game.
The Padres scored with a two-out hit by Jake Cronenworth in the first and fourth innings, as well as a first-pitch homer from Trent Grisham in the fourth — his third of the postseason after hitting just two in his last forty regular season games. The team also had a tough time offensively, going just 1-for-10 when they had runners scoring and they didn’t do enough to win.
“Just timely hitting,” Mookie Betts said about the Dodgers problems. “We’re not stringing together a lot of at-bats to score runs.”
Betts started the game by hitting one hit from Blake Snell and didn’t score but instead watched Trea Turner Freeman as well as Will Smith hit out in a row. The game would soon become a recurring pattern. Two times two times, the Nos. eight and nine hitters were at the plate with no one out, and the renowned highest of the Dodgers order failed to show up. After the third, Betts lined out, Turner struck out, and after Freeman’s walked, Smith came out. At the end of fifth Betts made a sacrifice fly but Turner was able to get out, and Freeman dropped out, unable to bring the tying run to third base.
“We’re being hyper-aggressive early in counts and not staying on the ball,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “They’re getting us with spin, they’re getting us on the outside part of the plate.”
Another chance came up in the 8th inning, as Turner started the game by hitting an infield single. Freeman, Smith and Muncy were scheduled to follow however Turner was the fastest player in baseball, didn’t attempt to steal the base which could have put the tying score on the scoreboard. One time, he appeared to be mulling doing that, Padres reliever Robert Suarez nearly pounced on him which caused Turner to impale his right ring fingers against the first base. Turner went into the dugout to be taped after the game — X-rays taken of his finger were negativeThen he was able to watch the Nos. three hitters drop in order.
“He’s pretty quick to the plate,” Turner stated of not trying to steal. “He looks like he has a large leg kick, but it’s faster than you think, the times are pretty low. He’s under [1.3 seconds from the start of his deliver to when the baseball reaches the catcher’s mitt] a lot, a couple 1.4’s in there, so you got to pick and choose spots when you can try to take them. He was throwing the ball well, so I didn’t want to give them any easy outs.”
The most straightforward outs were in the next inning. Josh Hader, who has been more of his dominant self lately, eased through the lower part of the Dodgers lineup, completing his game with back-to-back strikeouts , and sparking a sold out crowd of 45,137.
The Dodgers have won their last 9 regular season games with their rivals the Padres in 2021. Then, they were 14-5 in 2022. They scored more double the amount of runs during the season-long series. After 162 games they had a 22-game advantage. However, none of that is important in the present. The Padres are hosting an exhibition series in the postseason with fans watching from the stands in the very first time since 2006. They are a victory away from destroying the team they’ve chased throughout their entire existence. They’ve never played more aggressively than they have in the four years.
Betts had to be asked if he’s surprised by the fact that his team’s star studded finds itself in this spot.
“I’m not shocked at all,” he declared. “They’re a good ball team. Regular season doesn’t mean anything. They’re playing well. We haven’t.”