Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw have combined to provide the Los Angeles Dodgers with 14 innings pitched and 15 strikeouts, while surrendering only three runs and six hits in games 1 and 2 of the National League Championship Series.
Yet, the Dodgers find themselves trailing the St. Louis Cardinals 0-2 in the NLCS, without having faced Cardinals’ ace Adam Wainwright.
The Dodgers dropped Game 1 of the NLCS on Friday, 3-2 in a thirteen inning affair, and lost Game 2 on Saturday, 1-0.
Kershaw is the first pitcher to lose a postseason game with six innings pitched and zero earned runs allowed since 1999.
After returning to the lineup for Game 1, Andre Ethier did not start in Game 2. Hanley Ramirez was also absent from the Dodgers’ lineup on Saturday — a late scratch as he was still suffering from Joe Kelly’s Game 1 pitch that struck him in the ribs.
Ramirez left the stadium during Game 2 to get X-rays taken, which came back negative. A CT scan is scheduled for Sunday.
With Ramirez out, Yasiel Puig batted fourth in the Dodger lineup and struck out four times. The most frustrating of Puig’s strikeouts came with the bases loaded and the Dodgers trailing 1-0 in the sixth inning.
Puig is now 0-for-10 in the NLCS with six strikeouts. His inability to get a hit is a far cry from the .471 average he posted in the NL Division Series against the Atlanta Braves.
Unfortunately, Puig isn’t the only Dodger scuffling at the plate.
After collectively hitting .333 in the NLDS, the highest mark in the postseason by a NL team, Dodger batters have gone ice cold.
Just how bad is it? Kershaw has as many hits in the NLCS as Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez, and Puig have combined.
The series deficit, injuries, or ineffectiveness of Dodger batters isn’t the key story as the series shifts to Los Angeles.
On Friday night, Dodger manager Don Mattingly made the puzzling decision to remove Gonzalez from a 2-2 game in the eighth inning.
Looking to get some speed on the base paths, Dee Gordon was sent in as a pinch runner when Gonzalez reached first base. Gordon never advanced past first and the change proved costly.
Gonzalez’s order in the lineup would come up two more times in the 13-inning game.
Michael Young went 0-for-2 after replacing Gonzalez, and Ramirez was intentionally walked in each of his plate appearances after the eighth inning.
The move wasn’t the sole reason the Dodgers dropped Game 1, but it undeniably had a huge impact.
When trailing 0-2 in a postseason series, the Dodgers have come back to win the series on four occasions. The most recent was the 1981 World Series.
The Dodgers are capable of staging a comeback, but it almost certainly would have to start with a win against Wainwright on Monday, who had a regular season record of 19-9.
NLCS schedule and probables
Game 3: Monday, October 14, Dodger Stadium: Hyun-Jin Ryu (0-0, 12.00 ERA) vs. Adam Wainwright (2-0, 1.13 ERA) 5:00 p.m. PDT.
Game 4: Tuesday, October 15, Dodger Stadium: Ricky Nolasco vs. Lance Lynn (1-1, 7.11 ERA) 5:00 p.m. PDT.
*Game 5: Wednesday, October 16, Dodger Stadium: 1:00 P.M. PDT.
*Game 6: Friday, October 18, Busch Stadium: 5:30 p.m. PDT.
*Game 7: Saturday, October 19, Busch Stadium: 5:30 p.m. PDT.