The Fenway Park security guard climbed atop the visitor’s dugout and motioned toward the clutch of Dodgers fans huddled near the tunnel that connects the field to the clubhouse. The staffer waved his hands at the group late Wednesday evening.
“Out! Out! Out!” the guard said. “Time to go!”
The fans were bundled in Dodgers jackets and beanies, wearing enough layers to stave off the 40-degree chill as midnight approached. They had more interest sticking around Boston than the Dodgers themselves after two nights getting squashed by the Red Sox. After a 4-2 loss in Game 2 of the World Series, the Dodgers will fly to Los Angeles on Thursday in jeopardy of seeing their season end this weekend at Dodger Stadium.
“It’s going to be warmer,” Cody Bellinger reasoned. “And hopefully our bats will get hot too.”
The bats were colder than the climate Wednesday. After a fourth-inning flurry, the hitters produced nothing against Boston starter David Price and the relievers who replaced him after the sixth inning. The Dodgers finished the night on an 0-for-16 skid. The group compiled three hits and struck out eight times, whimpering through the finish line after a go-ahead single by Yasiel Puig in the fourth inning.
Handed a lead, the duo of Hyun-Jin Ryu and Ryan Madson let it disappear. Ryu permitted three runners to reach base in the fifth inning with two outs. Madson allowed all of them to score.
Manager Dave Roberts paid for his faith in Madson, and found his team two defeats away from another season without a championship.
“We’ve got to find a way,” Roberts said, “to win a baseball game.”
That task proved elusive at Fenway Park. The offense has yet to materialize. Neither Ryu nor Clayton Kershaw could complete the fifth inning. Madson combusted in both games. The team allowed Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel, who teetered on the high wire earlier in the postseason, to cruise through two outings.
The Dodgers can comfort themselves with the presence of rookie pitcher Walker Buehler for Game 3. They will also roll out a lineup that features more power than the group they used in Boston.
With Boston planning to start right-handed pitcher Rick Porcello in Game 3 on Friday, the Dodgers will build a batting order that includes Bellinger, Max Muncy and Joc Pederson. All three sat Wednesday for the second day in a row, as Roberts utilized the same lineup as he did in Game 1 against left-handed starter Chris Sale.
The adjustments stressed by Roberts from Tuesday to Wednesday were small. The team felt satisfied with how they made Sale work in Game 1, and hoped to replicate that approach against Price in Game 2.
Red Sox’s Mookie Betts scores a run in the fifth inning of game two of the World Series against the Dodgers at Fenway Park.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles TImes)
Dodgers players at the end of game two of the World Series against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles TImes)
Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger strikes out in the eighth inning.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal chases after a wild pitch thrown by Scott Alexander in the seventh inning.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts takes out relief pitcher Kenta Maeda in the seventh inning.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Red Sox’s J.D. Martinez hits a single in the sixth inning to score a run.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles TImes)
Red Sox’s Andrew Benintendi scores a run in the fifth inning.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles TImes)
Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger makes a leaping catch as teammates Enrique Hernandez and Chris Taylor get out of the way.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Red Sox’s Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi celebrate after both scored on a J.D. Martinez single in the fifth inning.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Red Sox Andrew Benintendi and Xander Bogaerts celebrate after Benintendi scored on a J.D. Martinez single in the fifth inning.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Dodger relief pitcher Ryan Madsen is disgusted after walking Red Sox Steve Pearce with the bases loaded.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu waits to be taken out after walking Red Sox’s Andrew Benintendi.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Dodger pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu steps on base ahead of Red Sox’s Ian Kinsler for an out.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Red Sox pitcher David Price reacts after allowing an RBI single to Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Red Sox Andrew Benintendi makes a leaping catch hit by Dodgers’ Brian Dozier.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig celebrates after hitting a single to score a run.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles TImes)
As Red Sox pitcher David Price looks on, Dodgers Manny Machado scores on a single by Yasiel Puig.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Red Sox pitcher David Price grimaces as a run is scored on a Matt Kemp sacrifice fly to tie the game in the fourth inning.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles TImes)
Dodgers’ Manny Machado gets the ball ahead of Red Sox Ian Kinsler to tag him out at third base.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles TImes)
Dodgers’ Manny Machado tags out Red Sox Ian Kinsler at third base in the second inning.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles TImes)
Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu throws to first as Red Sox’s Mookiie Betts dives back.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Dodgers’ David Freese tries to catch a foul ball in the second inning.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles TImes)
Red Sox’s Xander Bogaerts scores on a single by Ian Kinsler in the first inning.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Dodgers first baseman David Freese tags out Red Sox Mookie Betts in the first inning.(Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times)
Dodgers’ Manny Machado pops up in the first inning.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu throws in the first inning.(Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times)
Red Sox pitcher David Price throws in the first inning.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts hugs Kevin Millar in pregame ceremonies honoring the 2004 Red Sox championship.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Dodgers’ Matt Kemp is bundled up as he works out.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Dodgers starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu shares the field with a band as he warms up.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
They aimed to shore up the defensive lapses that plagued them in the opener. Enrique Hernandez would play shallower in center field. The coaching staff counseled Yasiel Puig to avoid overthrowing the cut-off man. The team aimed to prevent creating openings for the Red Sox offense.
“Teams that play well at home feast on extra outs, extra bases,” Roberts said before the game. “You have to minimize that. For us to play the game straight, we’re going to come out on top. But if we don’t, we just make it tough on ourselves.”
The offense faced Price, who was coming off the first postseason victory as a starter in his career. His playoff resume was littered with duds, but he threw six scoreless innings on short rest in the American League Championship Series clincher over Houston.
Price looked strong at the outset Wednesday. He froze Justin Turner with a 92-mph fastball for a first-inning strikeout. Chris Taylor fanned on another fastball in the second, and Price got a charitable called-third strike from umpire Kerwin Danley to ring up Matt Kemp later in the inning.
“He just had all his pitches,” first baseman David Freese said. “I think he was confident. I think after the last outing, he was like ‘Sure, let’s go.’ And he came out, and did the same thing.”
Boston built a lead for Price in the bottom of the second inning. Ryu got punished for a flat changeup to shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who doubled off the Green Monster. Former Angel Ian Kinsler laced a single into left to bring home Bogaerts.
The Dodgers got to Price in the fourth. Freese and Manny Machado opened the inning with singles. A walk by Taylor loaded the bases with none out. Kemp hacked at a first-pitch changeup, tying the score with a sacrifice fly. With two outs, Puig gave the Dodgers their first lead of the series by lifting a 93-mph fastball over Kinsler’s head for an RBI single.
The Red Sox answered in the fifth. Ryu permitted a two-out single to catcher Christian Vazquez, who hit .207 during the regular season. Mookie Betts generated his second hit in as many at-bats. As Ryu prepared for the left-handed-hitting Andrew Benintendi, Madson started to warm in the bullpen.
The concept of warming up took on new meaning at Fenway Park. Madson mentioned earlier Wednesday that he was thrown off-guard by the temperature while loosening up Tuesday. When he came into Game 1, he threw a wild pitch and walked the first batter he faced, then allowed both runners on base to score. Madson suggested he was still fighting through his mechanics in the first at-bat.
The temperature registered at 47 degrees at first pitch Wednesday, but Madson had ample time to prepare for his assignment. As Madson threw in the bullpen, Ryu and Benintendi engaged in a protracted confrontation. The affair lasted eight pitches and included three mound visits. It ended with a fastball in the dirt, and Benintendi trotting to first base.
“It was a moment I could’ve ended the inning,” Ryu said through his interpreter, Bryan Lee. “Obviously, I couldn’t do that. and if I was able to command my pitches better, I think there would’ve been different results.”
The walk ended Ryu’s evening and dumped Madson back into the deep end. He sank. Madson issued a five-pitch walk to first baseman Steve Pearce, flinging four fastballs above the zone to force in the tying run.
Up next was J.D. Martinez, the former Arizona Diamondback who slugged .629 this season and led baseball with 130 runs batted in. Earlier in the day, Madson found an apt metaphor for facing Martinez. He compared the experience to being “in a pit with a rattlesnake,” he said. “And one bad move, you’ll get bit if you’re not paying attention.”
On the first pitch, Madson felt the sting on a 94-mph fastball on the inner half of the plate. Martinez displayed enough strength to muscle a two-run, opposite-field single into right. The hit returned the lead to Boston.
Madson struggled to explain his recent downturn afterward.
“I don’t know if it’s mechanical or physical or emotional,” Madson said. “There’s a lot of elements going on in there. You’ve just got to regroup and start over again.”
The Dodgers have only a day to regroup.
The temperature will reside in the 80s on Friday. Their lineup will feature more sluggers. And they will have Buehler, making his first World Series start. They must take solace in these things, because the 18 innings at Fenway Park left little reason for optimism.
“We’ve got Walk on the mound,” Freese said. “Give him the rock, and let’s go. We need it. We need it to be 2-1.”