Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2021
In the rematch of the 2020 NLCS, the Atlanta Braves had two walk-off victories at home.
After an exhausting NLDS with the San Francisco Giants, which were the best team in the Major Leagues during the 2020 season, the Dodgers have looked flat. They have wasted countless scoring opportunities during the NLCS. Sunday, Justin Turner with a severe stiff neck could not play.
The Dodgers feel the absence of both Max Muncy and Clayton Kershaw who are injured. Without having an experienced fourth starter, manager Dave Roberts was forced to have a bullpen contest in Game 1 when Max Scherzer was too fatigued to start after collecting his first professional save to end the NLDS. On Sunday, Scherzer pitched well for 4 1/3 innings despite allowing a two-run home run to former Dodger Joc “Joctober” Pederson.
Roberts elected to go with Julio Urías to pitch the eighth inning, but Urías, who has ice water running in his veins, could not throw a good breaking ball, which allowed the Braves to tie the score. The Dodger pitching staff desperately need a day off, which is not a traveling day. Tuesday, Walker Buehler is supposed to start, and the Dodgers need him to be a dominating for at least six innings.
Without Muncy with his dislocated elbow, the Dodgers do not have an experienced cleanup hitter. Trea Turner should help to compensate for the absence of Muncy, but Turner has been slumping since the National League Wild Card game. Because of this, the Dodgers have averaged a little over three runs per game during the postseason while they averaged more than five runs a game during the regular season.
The Dodgers have been in the same position to the Braves during the 2020 NLCS, but they were not exhausted after playing 170 stressful games. During the abbreviated 2020 regular season, the Dodgers had not suffered many injuries. They had both Kiké Hernandez (Boston Red Sox) and Pederson (Atlanta Braves) who had performed brilliantly in every October that they have participated in, including this one.
Can the Dodgers come back in the NLCS? Absolutely!
The Dodger pitching staff will get some rest on Monday, so they should perform better than in Atlanta. The Dodgers must have timely hitting. Trea Turner must come out of his first batting slump during 2020. Dodger fans must erupt in cheers to encourage their favorite team, and the Dodgers should not hear the Brave racist chop in Dodger Stadium.
As Vin Scully always has said, “Nothing has ever come easily to the Dodgers,” the 2021 campaign is not an exception. Let’s go, Dodgers!!