Dodgers Dugout: Game 2 loss a case of missed opportunities

This goose could have become a viral sensation if the Dodgers had rallied to win.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, and I now it’s a best-of-three series, with the Padres having home-field advantage.

—Game 2 was a game of missed opportunities. While the Padres took advantage of the opportunities they were given (scoring after Trea Turner‘s error, getting a couple of hits with runners in scoring position), the Dodgers failed to take advantage of opportunities they were given. No hits with runners in scoring position (0 for 8). Didn’t take advantage of Mookie Betts’ double on a ball that Padres center fielder Trent Grisham will probably tell you he should have caught. Failing to score with runners on first and third and none out in the sixth.

—The Dodgers had more hits in Game 2 (11) than Game 1 (six).

—I like how FS1 announcer Adam Amin said so excitedly, heading into the bottom of the ninth, “And Josh Hader is coming back out!” like it was a big surprise. This happened moments after they had showed no one warming up in the Padres bullpen. I get it, filling three to four hours of live air is difficult, but.....

—The Padres bullpen won the battle in Game 2, giving up no runs, four hits and two walks in four innings, striking out two. The Dodgers bullpen gave up two runs (one earned), three hits and two walks, striking out seven.

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—Neither starting pitcher looked like an ace out there. Clayton Kershaw and Yu Darvish struggled mightily, each giving up three runs in five innings.

—And games like this are why, when all is said and done, Kershaw will never be on the same level as Sandy Koufax when it comes to great Dodgers pitchers.

—Kershaw has given up three or more runs in 17 of 31 postseason starts. Koufax did it in one of seven starts, and in that one start, three of the four runs he gave up were unearned. And while it’s true Koufax would have given up more than three runs in more than one game if he had 30 postseason starts like Kershaw, and that he pitched in more of a pitcher’s era, it’s also true that every one of his starts were in the World Series.

—Let’s look at postseason ERA’s for pitchers with at least three Cy Young Awards.

Sandy Koufax (3 Cy Young Awards), 0.95
Jim Palmer (3), 2.61
Tom Seaver (3), 2.77
Steve Carlton (4), 3.26
Greg Maddux (4), 3.27
Pedro Martinez (3), 3.46
Randy Johnson (5), 3.50
Max Scherzer (3), 3.58
Roger Clemens (7), 3.75
Clayton Kershaw (3), 4.22

—The reason most (if not all) baseball front offices aren’t fans of small ball presented itself in Game 2. Mookie Betts leads off the bottom of the fifth with a walk, then is caught stealing, deflating the crowd and emptying the bases. The Padres have a chance at a big inning with runners on first and third and one out in the sixth, when Grisham bunts and the runner is thrown out at home. I’m not defending those who are against small ball, just pointing out this is an example of why they are against it.

—Got more than a few emails asking why Trea Turner, “their fastest runner,” didn’t bunt with runners on second and third and one out, with the Dodgers trailing by one in the bottom of the seventh. He grounded to third, with the runners holding. Of course, if he had bunted and it failed, I’d have gotten emails asking why your RBI leader is bunting in that situation. Which brings me to my old adage: “100% of the decisions I make on my couch work out perfectly.” That’s not to say you can never question a decision, I just don’t think that was the one to question.


—Say what you want about Manny Machado, but the guy plays Gold Glove defense. He’s just lucky he’s not required to run hard after balls hit to him at third base.

Trayce Thompson doesn’t look comfortable at the plate so far in the postseason.

—Then again, Cody Bellinger never looks comfortable at the plate. He looks very comfortable fielding though.

—If Chris Taylor can’t pinch-hit against a left-hander with two on and two out in the the bottom of the eighth, and you go with Austin Barnes instead, then why is Taylor even on the roster?

—Look for a lineup change with a left-hander on the mound for the Padres on Friday. Expect Thompson to move to center and Taylor to start in left.

—I was so looking forward to a Rally Goose viral sensation if the Dodgers had won after the goose landed in the outfield.

—Did you notice when the goose was on the field with his wings spread apart, he looked like Craig Kimbrel getting ready to pitch?

—Dodger hitters through the first two games:

Max Muncy, .429, 3 for 7, 1 homer, 2 RBIs, 1 walk, 2 K’s
Gavin Lux, .375, 3 for 8, 1 double, 1 RBI, 1 K
Trea Turner, .333, 3 for 9, 1 double, 2 homers, 2 RBIs, 2 K’s
Will Smith, .333, 3 for 9, 2 doubles, 1 RBI
Freddie Freeman, .286, 2 for 7, 1 double, 1 homer, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 2 K’s
Justin Turner, .167, 1 for 6, 2 walks, 2 K’s
Cody Bellinger, .167, 1 for 6, 4 K’s
Mookie Betts, .125, 1 for 8, 1 double, 1 walk, 2 K’s
Trayce Thompson, .000, 0 for 6, 2 walks, 3 K’s
Austin Barnes, .000, 0 for 1
Team, .254, 17 for 67, 6 doubles, 4 homers

—Remember, Thursday is a day off. There will be no newsletter Friday, since I don’t want everyone getting sick of me (too late). The next one will be Saturday morning.

—The Dodgers announced after Game 2 that Tony Gonsolin will be their Game 3 starter. Blake Snell goes for the Padres. If you remember 2020, that’s the pitcher you want Barnes to face. This means Game 3 will turn into a bullpen game, since it’s unlikely Gonsolin can go past four innings. Expect Andrew Heaney to get put to use for multiple innings.

—My prediction remains: Dodgers in four.

Dodgers against Blake Snell

Lifetime, including the postseason:

Joey Gallo, .600, 3 for 5, 2 homers
Freddie Freeman, .444, 4 for 9, 1 double
Austin Barnes, .429, 3 for 7, 2 doubles
Chris Taylor, .263, 5 for 19, 1 double, 2 homers
Will Smith, .250, 5 for 20, 1 double, 1 homer
Mookie Betts, .239, 9 for 39, 2 doubles, 1 homer
Trea Turner, .200, 3 for 15, 1 double, 1 triple
Trayce Thompson, .200, 1 for 5
Justin Turner, .167, 3 for 18
Cody Bellinger, .111, 1 for 9
Max Muncy, .059, 1 for 17, 1 homer
Team, .245, 13 doubles, 1 triple, 7 homers

Padres against Tony Gonsolin

Lifetime, including the postseason:

Jurickson Profar, .500, 5 for 10, 3 doubles
Josh Bell, .500, 2 for 4
Trent Grisham, .400, 4 for 10, 1 homer
Juan Soto, .333, 2 for 6, 1 triple
Manny Machado, .273, 3 for 11, 1 double
Brandon Drury, .200, 1 for 5
Wil Myers, .167, 1 for 6, 1 double
Ha-Seong Kim, .167, 1 for 6, 1 homer
Jake Cronenworth, .000, 0 for 10
Austin Nola, .000, 0 for 8
Jorge Alfaro, .000, 0 for 4
Team, .238, 5 doubles, 1 triple, 2 homers

What Vin Scully meant to you

Art Weintraub: I was listening to a Brooklyn Dodgers game way back in 1950 when Red Barber and Connie Desmond introduced a new “third man” in the booth, a 22 year-old guy from the Bronx (Yankee territory) named Vin Scully. He didn’t get much airtime then but when he did it always seemed special. He knew all about the players, the “boys of summer,” my heroes, Duke and Jackie and PeeWee and Roy and Gil. Those were wonderful days, especially listening to Vin when “dem bums” won their first world series in 1955 and later calling Sandy’s perfect game. I was sad when the Dodgers moved to L.A. but resumed my fandom when I too moved to L.A. in 1981 and got to listen to him once again. What a great life of 94 years. He have us fans so much pleasure in rooting for the team. I am now 86 and will never forget his “it’s time for Dodger baseball.”


Louise Samaniego: Thank you for talking about all of the transistor radios tuned into Vinny at each game. There is really no announcing now at games. But back then, you could follow him during the game on all of the radios tuned in. I sure miss those days, and him.

Cliff Reston of Lebec: At age 10, Grandpa took me to a Shriner charity event featuring numerous sports luminaries who signed autographs before dinner. We were late upon arrival and everyone was seated and eating. Vin was sitting at the head table and I bolted to his side. He asked me my name and said to come back in 10 minutes. He then stood up and spoke to the assembled crowd welcoming everyone, explained the charity’s mission and promised a fun and informative evening. As he sat down, he motioned me to come back. Addressing me by name, we spoke for a few minutes about my Little League “career” and suggested that I should not shirk my school work! Then he asked if he could sign my autograph book and wrote a very personal message. Then he thanked me for the chat and wished me well. He is a saint.

Up next

Game 1: Dodgers 5, Padres 3
Game 2: Padres 5, Dodgers 3
Friday: Dodgers (Tony Gonsolin) at Padres (Blake Snell), 5:30 p.m., FS1
Saturday: Dodgers (Tyler Anderson) at Padres (Joe Musgrove), 6:30 p.m., FS1
*Sunday: Padres (TBD) at Dodgers (TBD), 6 p.m., FS1

*—if necessary

Stories you might have missed

Dodgers bats again fall silent after third inning as Padres tie up NLDS

Hernández: Yu Darvish overcomes the ghosts of his Dodger Stadium past in Game 2 win

Trea Turner’s costly error in Dodgers’ loss dims his bright start to postseason

Column: Dodgers at some point must figure out what to do with Cody Bellinger

Photos: Goose gets loose as Dodgers lose to Padres in Game 2 of NLDS series

Dodger Stadium concession workers get $10-per-hour raise as part of new contract

And finally

Max Muncy puts the Dodgers ahead with a Game 2 homer. Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

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