The Los Angeles Dodgers, the reigning World Series champions, are in danger of being eliminated with their third straight loss.
The Dodgers fell to their knees in Game 2 of the NL Division Series (DS) against the Arizona Diamondbacks, 2-4, on Tuesday at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers dropped Game 2 on the heels of a devastating 11-2 loss in Game 1 two days earlier, leaving them with a “sweep” in the DS after winning the NL West for the second straight year. The Dodgers were swept in the DS last year by the San Diego Padres in three games.
In Game 1, trusted veteran starter Clayton Kershaw was unable to get out of his own way as he was blown out for six runs with just one out in the first inning, and in Game 2, starter Bobby Miller gave up three runs in 1⅔ innings to take an early lead, and the offense went silent again.
In particular, Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman, the Dodgers’ vaunted table-setters, failed to get a single hit on the day. The deciding run came in the bottom of the fifth inning, when the Dodgers trailed 1-3. With one out, James Outman walked Arizona starter Zack Galen and Miguel Rojas singled up the middle to put runners on first and second.
However, leadoff hitter Betts pulled a 92-mph cutter indefinitely and hit a grounder to shortstop, throwing Rojas out at second, and the ensuing runners on second and third were stranded when Freeman stared down Galen’s 83-mph mid-seam curveball on a full count. In the top of the sixth, Luerdes Gurriel Jr. hit a solo home run to left-center field to put the game out of reach for Arizona.
Betts and Freeman, who each batted in the triple digits, drove in more than 100 runs and scored more than 100 runs in the regular season, were a combined 1-for-13 in Game 1 and Game 2 of the DS.
Dodgers starter Bobby Miller walks off the mound after handing the ball to manager Dave Roberts in the second inning. AFP
스포츠토토Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman turns around after being hit by a pitch with runners on second and third in the fifth inning. AFP
Arizona players seem surprised by the Dodgers’ winning streak. That’s because the Dodgers are coming off a 100-win regular season, while Arizona is in the third wild-card spot with 84 wins and is in fall ball for the first time in six years.
After the game, Arizona designated hitter Tommy Pham said, “Realistically, I thought if we left here with one win, it would be a success, but we got two, so how good is that?”
Center fielder Alec Thomas added, “We leave here with two wins and a good feeling. It’s going to be even better when we get back home. Our fans are going to be behind us,” said Thomas, who is looking forward to Games 3 and 4 at home.
In a best-of-five postseason series, the team that wins the first two games advances to the next series 78 out of 88 times. That’s an 88.6% chance. And since 1995, when the current “2-2-1” DS format was introduced, the team that took the first two games on the road has gone on to win the series 14 out of 16 times. That’s an 87.5% chance.
This means that historically, there is only an 11.4% or 12.5% chance that the Dodgers will complete a reverse sweep, taking all three games in Arizona. The last team to win two games on the road in the DS and then drop Games 3, 4, and 5 to be eliminated was the 2015 Texas Rangers. In that year’s AL Division Series, Texas took Games 1 and 2 on the road against the Toronto Blue Jays before dropping Games 3 and 4 at home and Game 5 again on the road.
Outfielders Corbin Carroll, Alex Thomas and Rueredes Gurriel Jr. join hands in celebration after Arizona’s victory was finalized. AFP
Games 3 and 4 will be played at Arizona’s home field, Chase Field, on April 12-13. It will be Arizona’s first home game of the postseason. Arizona previously advanced to the DS with a two-game sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers in the Wild Card Series. It will be the first time in six years that Arizona home fans have been able to attend a postseason game since Game 3 of the 2017 Division Series against the Dodgers. In that DS, Arizona was eliminated with three straight losses.
The Dodgers were fortunate to win three games down the stretch to advance to the NLCS, where they would face either the Atlanta Braves or the Philadelphia Phillies, both East powers. The bottom line is that the Dodgers’ postseason form hasn’t been stellar.
Atlanta and Philadelphia split Game 1 and Game 2 at Truesdale Park. In Game 1, the Phillies won 3-0 thanks to their “mound kingdom,” and in Game 2, Atlanta came back to win 5-4 thanks to their “home run army,” with two crucial arches. It’s a rare performance from the Dodgers.