Final: Dodgers stave off elimination with 11-2 rout of Braves in Game 5 of NLCS
For the fourth time in these playoffs, the Dodgers have staved off elimination.
With an 11-2 rout of the Atlanta Braves in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series, the Dodgers still trail the best-of-seven series three games to two, but have done enough to send the series back to Atlanta.
Dodgers players Chris Taylor, Cody Bellinger, Albert Pujols, AJ Pollock and manager Dave Roberts talk about the offense waking up in NLCS Game 5.
Kenley Jansen finished off the game with a clean ninth inning, sealing a Dodgers victory in which the lineup exploded for 11 runs and 17 hits behind Chris Taylor (4 for 5, three home runs, six RBIs), AJ Pollock (3 for 5, two home runs, 4 RBIs) and at least one hit from seven of eight position players in the starting lineup.
Game 6 will be on Saturday back in Atlanta.
Final: Dodgers 11, Braves 2
7-2 Dodgers, mid 8th: Corey Knebel gets through the eighth; Kenley Jansen warming for the ninth
The Dodgers are three outs away from going back to Atlanta.
Corey Knebel came out of the bullpen and pitched a scoreless eighth inning, stranding a leadoff single from Dansby Swanson with three straight strikeouts.
Now, Kenley Jansen is warming to pitch the ninth.
Mid 8th: Dodgers lead 7-2
6-2 Dodgers, end 6th: Top of Dodgers order stays cold; Blake Treinen returning for seventh
It’s a good thing for the Dodgers that Chris Taylor and others at the bottom of their order have come through tonight.
Because their top four hitters have not.
That group failed to score again in the sixth, stranding Trea Turner’s one-out single.
So far tonight, the Dodgers Nos. 1 to 4 hitters are 2 for 14 with a walk. Their Nos. 5 to 8 hitters are 9 for 11 with three home runs and six RBIs.
On the mound, Blake Treinen is indeed returning to begin the seventh inning.
End 6th: Dodgers lead 6-2
6-2 Dodgers, mid 6th: Brusdar Graterol gets at-bat, then Blake Treinen pitches scoreless sixth
You read the headline right.
Dodgers reliever Brusdar Graterol got an at-bat in the bottom of the fifth, with the Dodgers apparently unwilling to burn another bench player.
Graterol struck out, leaving Cody Bellinger stranded at second after he had singled and stole a base. Then, Blake Treinen came out of the bullpen and pitched a scoreless top of the sixth, working around a one-out double by Eddie Rosario.
Treinen, who like Graterol hadn’t previously pitched since Game 2, could be asked to return to the mound in the seventh, but did have to throw 21 pitches.
If Treinen does get through another inning, things could be set up for Kenley Jansen to get the final six outs of the game (or for someone else to take care of the eighth inning in front of him).
Mid 6th: Dodgers lead 6-2
4-2 Dodgers, top 5th: Brusdar Graterol pitches second scoreless inning
Dodgers reliever Brusdar Graterol has gotten to do two of his trademark fist pumps coming off the mound tonight.
The question now is whether he’ll get a third...
After a six-pitch fourth inning, Graterol retired the side in order again in the fifth on just seven pitches.
It keeps the Dodgers’ two-run lead intact with the bottom half of their lineup — where all their runs have come from so far tonight — due up in the bottom of the fifth.
Mid 5th: Dodgers lead 4-2
4-2 Dodgers, end 4th: Brusdar Graterol, Max Fried trade zeros
Brusdar Graterol entered in the top of the fourth as the Dodgers’ fourth pitcher of the night and retired the side on just six pitchers.
That should set him up for what could be a key multi-inning outing in the Dodgers’ bullpen game today.
Meanwhile, Max Fried settled down and retired the top of the Dodgers’ order in order in the bottom of the fourth.
End 4th: Dodgers lead 4-2
3-2 Dodgers, top 3rd: Braves caught stealing to end inning
Left-hander Alex Vesia got out of the third inning with a little help from his defense.
After striking out pitcher Max Fried, Vesia gave up a single to Eddie Rosario, putting a man on base for two of the Braves most dangerous hitters.
Ozzie Albies, however, flied out and Freddie Freeman didn’t even get to finish his at-bat. Instead, Rosario was caught stealing to end the inning — the first time in eight tries a Dodgers’ opponent this postseason failed on a steal attempt.
Mid 3rd: Dodgers lead 3-2
3-2 Dodgers, end 2nd: Dodgers don’t add on, but still have the lead
The Dodgers had a chance to add to their lead.
After Chris Taylor’s go-ahead home run, Cody Bellinger singled and Trea Turner was hit by a pitch after Max Fried seemingly got distracted by Bellinger’s steal attempt.
With two on and two outs, Corey Seager stepped to the plate and got ahead 2-0, but then grounded out to first to retire the side.
Still, in that inning, the Dodgers sent eight men to the plate, scored three runs on four hits and drove Fried’s pitch count up to 43.
Left-hander Alex Vesia is coming out the Dodgers bullpen to begin the third.
End 2nd: Dodgers lead 3-2
2-0 Braves, top 2nd: Evan Phillips strikes out a couple in scoreless second
Dodgers reliever Evan Phillips put a charge into the not-quite-completely full crowd, striking out a couple batters in a one-two-three top of the second.
Left-handed reliever Justin Bruihl had begun warming up with the top of the Braves’ order looming, but he’ll wait until at least the third inning.
Mid 2nd: Braves lead 2-0
2-0 Braves, end 1st: Max Fried sharp in opening inning
Braves starter Max Fried looked sharp in the opening inning, stranding a one-out single by Trea Turner to retire the side on only 18 pitches.
Fried got a first-pitch strike in three of four at-bats, and had success with his slider, getting a couple whiffs with it.
Evan Phillips will be back on the mound for the Dodgers to begin the second.
End 1st: Braves lead 2-0
2-0 Braves, top 1st: Joe Kelly leaves game with bicep injury; Evan Phillips finishes first inning
Joe Kelly’s start did not go as planned.
After the right-hander gave up a two-run homer to Freddie Freeman, he left the game mid at-bat later in the inning with an apparent injury (the Dodgers later said it was right bicep tightness) after being checked out by a trainer.
Evan Phillips entered and ended the inning one pitch later, striking out Adam Duvall for the third out.
End 1st: Braves lead 2-0
2-0 Braves, top 1st: Freddie Freeman hits two-run home run
If the Dodgers are going to keep their season alive, they’ll have to do it from behind.
After Ozzie Albies poked a single past the shift with one out in the first, Freddie Freeman unloaded on a hanging curveball from Dodgers opener Joe Kelly, crushing a two-run homer to center to give the Braves an early lead.
Since starting this season 0 for 8 with seven strikeouts, Freeman now has six hits, two walks and four RBIs in his last 11 trips to the plate.
Top 1st: Braves lead 2-0
Game 5 is underway
We’re underway at Dodger Stadium, where Joe Kelly opened the game with an eight pitch at-bat against leadoff man Eddie Rosario that finally ended with a hard line out to right field.
There are still plenty of fans filing in for the 5 o’clock start, but those who were here early saw formed Dodgers fan favorite Manny Mota throw out the first pitch. Albert Pujols crouched down behind the plate to catch it.
What to know for NLCS Game 5: Dodgers facing elimination, bullpen game options, and more
The scenario is the same, the Dodgers entering Game 5 of the NLCS trailing the Atlanta Braves 3-1 for the second year in a row.
But, Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts said prior to Thursday’s game, this year feels different for the Dodgers — for better or worse.
“We’re in the same situation,” he said. “Maybe a little different way.”
Asked later to expound on the differences, Betts pointed to the Dodgers’ injuries of Max Muncy and, now, Justin Turner. He highlighted the fact the team’s pitching staff has been “behind the eight ball” after needing to use Max Scherzer for relief in Game 5 of the NLDS.
And, of course, there have been the playoff-long struggles by the lineup, which has hit just .231 in the postseason and averaged just 3.5 runs-per-game this series.
“That’s not an excuse,” Betts insisted. “We still have to go out and we have to do our side, which is hit, which we haven’t been doing. So I think that’s kind of been the difference.”
Whatever the case, it leaves the Dodgers facing an elimination game for already the fourth time in these playoffs on Thursday night.
Ahead of Game 5, here’s what you need to know.
First pitch: 5:08 p.m.
Dodger notes: The Dodgers will be without third baseman Justin Turner, after he was removed from the team’s NLCS roster with a hamstring injury he sustained in Game 4.
Utility man Andy Burns replaced Turner on the roster, while Chris Taylor will slide over to third base in the starting lineup. Albert Pujols will also be in the lineup at first base, with Cody Bellinger moving to center field.
On the mound, the Dodgers will give Joe Kelly the ball to begin a bullpen game. Kelly, a right-hander, didn’t open a game during the regular-season but is a former starter capable of pitching more than one inning.
The Dodgers should have plenty of options after him. Yesterday, the team used only three pitchers out of the bullpen: Phil Bickford, Tony Gonsolin, and Justin Bruihl, the latter of whom faced only one batter.
Blake Treinen and Brusdar Graterol are extra rested, having not last pitched since Game 2.
“It’s hard,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said of facing the bullpen game. “It’s like having four pinch-hits, which pinch hitting is probably one of the toughest things to do in baseball. When teams do [a bullpen game], it’s a rough thing for hitters to have to face somebody new every time they go up there because pretty much that’s what you’re doing.”
Braves notes: The Braves got good roster news pregame, with outfielder Jorge Soler clearing COVID-19 protocols and being added to the active roster. He will be available off the bench.
The Braves tweaked their lineup for the Dodgers’ bullpen game, sandwiching switch-hitting Ozzie Albies between left-handed hitters Eddie Rosario and Freddie Freeman.
On the mound, the Braves will turn to ace left-hander Max Fried, who had six-inning, two-run start in Game 1.
The Dodgers faced Fried in a potential close-out game last year, Game 6, but tagged hi for three runs in 6 2/3 innings to keep their season alive.
They’ll need to do something similar tonight. Otherwise, the offseason will arrive at Chavez Ravine earlier than expected.
“The message is just to play every pitch like it’s our last pitch,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “I think that means something different for everyone. But in certain counts where we have to win a pitch, whether it’s a take or a foul ball, I think it’s just competing every single pitch. And that’s on the defensive side too, but specifically to the offensive side is every pitch matters.
“If we can stress them and grind and make Fried work, it bodes better for us. So I think that would probably be the message.”
How much do Dodgers miss Max Muncy? ‘A ton’, Mookie Betts says
The deeper the Dodgers have gone in the postseason, the more they seem to miss Max Muncy, the slugger who suffered a dislocated left elbow in the Oct. 3 regular-season finale against the Milwaukee Brewers and whose absence has left a gaping hole in the middle of the lineup.
The Dodgers entered Game 5 of the National League Championship Series against the Atlanta Braves on Thursday night with a .231 team average, .661 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, nine homers and 14 doubles in 10 playoff games.
They scored 35 runs, an average of 3.5 a game, struck out 78 times and walked 34 times. They were hitting .221 (17 for 77) with runners in scoring position and .222 (10 for 45) with runners in scoring position with two outs. They trail the best-of-seven NLCS three games to one.
The Dodgers are on the brink after losing to the Braves 9-2 in NLCS Game 4. Justin Turner is injured and done for the playoffs. Is his team next?
“You’re taking one of our best offensive players, a top-of-the-order guy who gets on base, can slug, hits left, right, can kind of prevent any mismatch potential [out of the lineup],” manager Dave Roberts said before Thursday night’s game.
“So, it’s a void. And clearly, not being able to keep the line moving or the slug or whatever, that’s certainly been missing, but we’ve got to find a way to kind of overcome it.”
The left-handed-hitting Muncy batted .249 with an .895 OPS and a team-leading 36 homers, 94 RBIs and 83 walks this season. He hit 26 doubles, scored 95 runs and struck out 120 times, his lowest whiff total in any of his three full big league seasons.
His injury would have been difficult to absorb even if the rest of the team was hitting up to its capabilities, but Muncy’s loss has been exacerbated by the struggles of middle-of-the-order hitters Trea Turner and Justin Turner.
Trea Turner entered Thursday with a .182 average (eight for 44) and .409 OPS, one run, one RBI, 11 strikeouts and no walks in 10 playoff games. Justin Turner hit .118 with a .416 OPS, one homer and one RBI before suffering a season-ending hamstring strain in Game 4 Wednesday night.
The Dodgers’ offense has been nonexistent during the postseason and that’s inexcusable for a team leading the NL in scoring, writes columnist Dylan Hernández.
Leadoff hitter Mookie Betts (.368, .906 OPS, five RBIs), cleanup hitter Will Smith (.278, .979 OPS, three homers), Cody Bellinger (.296, .832 OPS, six RBIs) and Chris Taylor (.286, .882 OPS, six RBIs) have been the team’s most productive hitters. Corey Seager had two homers and six RBIs but was hitting .205 with a .731 OPS.
“A ton,” Betts said on Thursday, when asked how much the offense has missed Muncy. “He brought everything — getting on base, power … not having him, it hurts big time, but there’s nothing we can do about it, another uncontrollable thing.
“Next guy up has to step up and play. And nobody’s going to feel sorry for us, so we can’t feel sorry for ourselves by not having people step up or whatnot. We just have to go out and play and do what we can do.”
Dodgers remove Justin Turner from roster; Joe Kelly to open Game 5 vs. Braves
The Dodgers will take the field in Game 5 on Thursday facing the prospect of a long winter without the soul of their team. Justin Turner limped off the field Wednesday night with a Grade 2 hamstring strain. On Thursday, the Dodgers removed him from their roster, officially ending the third baseman’s season.
Andy Burns, who appeared in 10 games this season, replaced Turner. The move officially makes Turner ineligible to play in the World Series if the Dodgers advance even if he were healthy. Burns provides the Dodgers another right-handed batter off the bench. The Dodgers designated Edwin Uceta for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for him.
Chris Taylor will get his second start of the postseason at third base Thursday against Braves left-hander Max Fried. Right-handed hitters AJ Pollock and Albert Pujols were also inserted to oppose the left-hander. Trea Turner, the Dodgers’ ice-cold No. 3 hitter, will bat second. He was flipped with Corey Seager.
While the Braves will have their best pitcher on the mound, the Dodgers are left to counter with a bullpen game opened by Joe Kelly. It’ll be the first time Kelly opens a game this season. After Kelly, who hasn’t logged more than 1 2/3 innings in 2021, the Dodgers will have to patch together outs without Tony Gonsolin, a multiple-inning option, available. The right-hander gave up four runs in two innings in Game 4.
While the Dodgers are dealing with another injury, the Braves added slugger Jorge Soler on Thursday. The outfielder had been out after testing positive for COVID-19.
An absence of offense during postseason could be Dodgers’ undoing
He used to turn moments like these into memories.
People standing. Towels waving. Man on first.
Justin Turner didn’t spread his arms and fly around the bases on this Wednesday night. His first name wasn’t chanted over and over by a Muppets character on the video scoreboard.
Which is exactly where second baseman Ozzie Albies was shifted.
Another frustrating at-bat for a wayward offense was about to turn into something worse, as the All-Star third baseman clutched his left hamstring as he hobbled through first base.
What happened? Dodgers go from miracle comeback to three hours of collapsing cringe
Momentum? Couldn’t find it.
Inspiration? Never had it.
Season? About to lose it.
They followed one game’s miracle with nine innings of nothingness.
They surrendered one night’s intimidation with three hours of cringe.
They shrugged, sighed and were sucker punched.
Center field has been a tough learning curve for Dodgers’ Gavin Lux
On the 20th day of October, the Braves moved within one game of the World Series, with Rosario hitting two home runs in a 9-2 rout of the Dodgers. After the game, as a small band of fans behind the visiting dugout chanted “Ed-die, Ed-die,” the Dodgers’ center fielder chatted with two friends on the field.
That center fielder would be Lux, in the second month of a crash course at a new position. Life comes at you fast.
“If you would have told me a couple months ago that I’d be playing in the outfield in the playoffs,” Lux said, “I’d have said you were crazy.”
The Dodgers failed on multiple fronts Wednesday. On an evening the Braves were forced into a bullpen game, the Dodgers managed four hits. Their struggles with runners in scoring position did not surface, because they only got two runners into scoring position. They are batting .219 in this National League Championship Series.
Dodgers look like a broken team. Can they get it together for Game 5?
Their sparkplug third baseman pulled up suddenly while running out a ground ball in the seventh inning against Atlanta on Wednesday and grabbed the back of his left leg, the classic sign of a hamstring injury. He walked slowly toward the dugout, clearly in pain, descending the steps with aid from teammate AJ Pollock.
To navigate the final stairs from the dugout to the Dodgers’ clubhouse he needed help from Albert Pujols, who wrapped his muscular left arm under Turner’s left arm while Turner clutched the railing for additional support.
Those moments symbolized who and what the Dodgers are now, one win and three losses into their National League Championship Series against the Braves: they’re depleted, more than a little broken and facing the point of no return after a dispiriting 9-2 loss at Dodger Stadium left them one defeat from the end of their reign as World Series champions. Their season could end on Thursday, in Game 5 at Dodger Stadium.
Betting lines and odds for Dodgers vs. Braves on Thursday
Here are the latest odds for Game 5 of the National League Series between the Dodgers and Atlanta Braves on Thursday. First pitch is scheduled for 5:08 p.m. PDT, with the game airing on TBS.
‘We’ve got to regroup’: Takeaways from Dodgers’ Game 4 loss to the Braves
By the time the Atlanta Braves recorded the final out, Dodger Stadium was half empty.
Delirious the night before, fans Wednesday witnessed mostly despair.
The Dodgers lost to the Atlanta Braves 9-2 in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series, putting them into a 3-1 hole and on the verge of elimination.
They came back from such a hole last year against the same opponent but still don’t have history on their side. Of the 89 MLB teams who have faced a 3-1 deficit in a best-of-seven series, only 14 — including last year’s Dodgers in the NLCS — have come back to win.
And based on their performance Wednesday, the Dodgers certainly look like a team that could have trouble staying alive.