At some point, scoring three to four runs a game will catch up to you in the postseason. For the Los Angeles Dodgers, that time is now.
Wednesday night, the Dodgers dropped Game 2 of the World Series to the Boston Red Sox, 4-2, and now trail the series 2-0 as the spotlight heads to Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers’ offense is nowhere to be found, and if their bats don’t wake up in Games 3 and 4, this team’s season will end in the coming days.
The road to the World Series was a wild ride for the Dodgers. After starting the season 16-26 and playing without Justin Turner for the first six weeks, doubt crept in as to whether the Dodgers would reach the postseason. Shortstop Corey Seager having to undergo Tommy John surgery three weeks into the season also did them no favors. Then, they bounced back, acquired Manny Machado, and beat the Colorado Rockies in a Game 163 tiebreaker match to claim their sixth consecutive National League West division crown.
The Dodgers defeated the Atlanta Braves in the National League Division Series in four games. Outscoring the Braves in Games 1 and 2, 9-0, the Dodgers looked poised to make quick work of their first-round opponent. While they lost Game 3, 6-5, the Dodgers were able to prevail in Game 4 to advance to the NLCS — where they were challenged a great deal by the Milwaukee Brewers.The Los Angeles @Dodgers have struggled to produce runs in this #WorldSeries. If their bats stay cold, their championship aspirations are finished.Click To Tweet
Trailing in the series twice, manager Dave Roberts and the Dodgers heavily relied on their pitching staff to bail out their ailing offense. Fortunately for Roberts and friends, their pitching was able to play the hero role. Holding the Brewers to just 25 runs in seven games, the Dodgers, for the most part, gave their offense a chance to win every game. Offensively, the Dodgers did just enough to survive, scoring 23 runs in the seven-game series. Against the Red Sox, that run production isn’t going to cut it, and the first two games of the World Series have shown that.
In Game 1 of the World Series, Chris Sale surrendered three runs in four innings, but the Red Sox bullpen relieved their ace, giving up just one run through five innings. In Game 2, it was more of the same. David Price was able to get through six innings, surrendered just two runs, and the Red Sox pen pitched three scoreless innings. The Dodgers have recorded six runs in the first two games of the Fall Classic; the Red Sox have recorded 12.
Whether it be Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez, Andrew Benintendi, Xander Bogaerts, Mitch Moreland, or Rafael Devers, the Red Sox have a number of proven and high-octane bats in their lineup. Together, they form the best lineup in the sport. In fact, in the regular season, the Red Sox were first in MLB in runs (876), hits (1,509), doubles (355), total bases (2,550), batting average (.268), on-base percentage (.339), slugging (.453), and OPS (.792). The Red Sox also lead playoff teams in runs per game this October (6.2).
But, like the Red Sox, the Dodgers have a number of menacing bats themselves. With Turner, Machado, Matt Kemp (who has served as the Dodgers designated hitter in the World Series), Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy, Yasiel Puig, David Freese, and Chris Taylor present, the Dodgers have one of the deepest lineups in the sport, yet they’ve been underwhelming in the postseason, to put it nicely.
To this point, the Dodgers have been able to rely on their pitching staff to bail them out late in games and throughout the postseason, in general. Now, the red light is going off. They’re down 2-0 to the best team in the sport and are in serious danger of being swept and watching their opponent celebrate in Dodger Stadium for a second consecutive season. And if their offensive woes bleed on, this series will get uglier.
Can Dodger Stadium bring out a different version of Roberts’ ballclub? This postseason, they’re 4-1 at home, as opposed to their 3-5 record on the road. With that said, they’re facing a Red Sox team who’s on a tear and could very easily take a commanding three-game lead in this series.
The Red Sox split the first two games of their ALDS and ALCS series — which were each played at Fenway Park. Then, they went on to finish both series on the road. They’re 5-0 on the road and 4-2 at home. Based on the way they’ve picked up steam after heading on the road, imagine how electric the Red Sox will be after winning the first two games of a series for the first time this postseason.
The Red Sox overcame the likes of the New York Yankees and Houston Astros in convincing fashion, and both of those teams were viewed as the frontrunners to win the American League this season. Going into the World Series, one could argue that the Red Sox’s first two opponents were better than the Dodgers.
The Dodgers faced-off with some competitive ballclubs prior to the World Series. While inexperienced, the Braves have a young and evolving lineup and some intriguing top-of-the-rotation starters. While their starting pitching couldn’t pitch deep into games, the Brewers have some noteworthy position players and a lockdown bullpen. With that said, the Dodgers pitching staff has met its match, and the Red Sox offense is simply more productive and consistent than the Dodgers.
Sure, Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu have been inconsistent this postseason, and the Dodgers pen has been shaky in the first two games of the World Series. At the same time, when you’re going up against a dynamite offense, you can’t expect your pitching staff to hold opposing teams to under five runs a game and average beneath that figure yourself.
The Dodgers grinded their way to the World Series, overcoming obstacles at every leg of the race. But now they’ve hit a wall. Whether they break through it is reliant on their offense righting the ship. If they do, all bets are off. If they don’t, the World Series will end in California.
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