Dodgers Dugout: Game 3 a bigger thrill ride than Space Mountain

Cody Bellinger celebrates after hitting a three-run home run during the eighth inning.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, and talk about going from zero to 60 in eight seconds. Wow.

Game 3 thoughts

—Hate to admit it, but I was writing a “down 3-0” newsletter in my head before that rally.

—“We were dead in the water,” Dave Roberts said. “You could see it.”

—You have to have great respect for Cody Bellinger. He could have given up and used injuries as an excuse to hang it up this season and come back next year. But he stayed with it and has become the Dodgers’ most important postseason hitter. That three-run home run in the eighth to tie the score brought goosebumps.

—I’m not sure how he powered out a ball that was that high. Some incredible strength there.

—I see what’s happening. In years past, Bellinger would have great seasons, then horrible postseasons. He tried the opposite approach this year.


—It’s gotta be the haircut. He started hitting the moment he cut his hair. Sort of a reverse Samson.

Enjoying this newsletter?

Your support helps us deliver the news that matters most. Become a Los Angeles Times subscriber.

—Co-hitting coach Brant Brown said Bellinger made changes to his swing after a four-game series in St. Louis in September. “I think he knew he had to do something,” Brown said. “We talked about it. He was involved in the decision. We worked on it, we tinkered with it a few times. It’s just something that changes his intent right out of the get-go, allows him to have a little shorter swing, allows him to do things like he did today.”

—When the Dodgers returned from that series, Bellinger was hitting .161/.235/.296. Since then, he is hitting .255/.318/.418.

—And then the Dodgers kept it up, with a single by Chris Taylor, a steal by Taylor and a double by Mookie Betts, two guys who know what it takes to win in the postseason, to give the Dodgers the final 6-5 lead.

—“CT’s obviously someone that is kind of like an unsung hero,” Betts said. “Everybody needs a CT on their team.”

—When Will Smith led off the inning, he wasn’t trying to homer, he was just trying to get on base. Same with AJ Pollock. Dodgers need more of that.

—And what about Kenley Jansen? Striking out three tough hitters in the ninth to get the save. Back in July, the guy who writes the Dodgers Dugout newsletter for the Los Angeles Times was calling for him to be replaced by Blake Treinen. What a buffoon.

—Jansen has pitched five postseason innings, giving up on two hits while walking no one and striking out 12. He’s 2-0 with one save.

—Was it frustrating to see Gavin Lux botch that fly ball? Yes. Enough to get mad at Lux? No. Here’s a guy who hasn’t played the outfield and gets thrust into that role late in the season in the minors. Then he is called up and stuck in center field. Does he complain? No. Does he say “I’m an infielder, not an outfielder” like some would? No. He just tries his best. Management has asked him to play a position he’s not familiar with, in the most high-pressure games imaginable. Cut the guy some slack.


—Think fans in Atlanta are complaining about manager Brian Snitker‘s pitching moves like Dodgers fans were complaining about Roberts after Game 2?

—The TBS announcers got very, very quiet after Bellinger hit that home run. The opposite of when the Braves were rallying earlier.

—You have to wonder what the fans who left in the top of the eighth inning are thinking today. The telecast showed a couple dozen or so people heading to their cars in the parking lot. I can sort of understand occasionally leaving a regular-season game. It’s 12-2 against the Marlins, you have a big work meeting early the next day, or the kids have an important test, so you head out a little early. But during the playoffs? Makes no sense to me unless it’s for medical reasons.

—A lot of Dodgers fans were complaining about the blown strike-three call by the plate umpire, which if called correctly, could effectively have ended the Braves’ rally. However, if you aren’t going to complain when a blown check-swing call gives the Dodgers the NLDS, you can’t complain about this. Bad calls have been part of the game since time immemorial.

—The Dodgers’ two Turners are hitting a combined .155 this postseason (11 for 71).

—Remember, in last year’s NLCS, the Braves won the first two, the Dodgers won Game 3 and the Braves won Game 4. Let’s see if that can be changed this season.

—By the way, the Dodgers have become a stolen base machine in the postseason, which makes you wonder why they seem against it in the regular season.

—How important has the bullpen been? Julio Urías is the only Dodgers starter with a win this postseason. The question: How much will he have in the tank for Game 4 today, because the bullpen has to be a little tired.


—Greatly appreciate all the emails and tweets I have been getting during games. I’m a little busy on game days, so forgive me if I don’t respond. I try to, but sometimes work calls. I read them all though.

—My prediction remains: Dodgers in six.

Dodgers in this postseason

Mookie Betts, .412 (14 for 34, 1 double, 1 homer, 5 RBIs)
Chris Taylor, .320 (8 for 25, 3 doubles, 1 homer, 6 RBIs)
Will Smith, .313 (10 for 32, 2 doubles, 3 homers, 4 RBIs)
Cody Bellinger, .292 (7 for 24, 1 double, 1 homer, 6 RBIs)
Gavin Lux, .250 (3 for 12)
Corey Seager, .222 (8 for 36, 3 doubles, 2 homers, 6 RBIs)
AJ Pollock, .208 (5 for 24, 2 doubles, 2 RBIs)
Albert Pujols, .200 (2 for 10)
Trea Turner, .200 (8 for 40, 2 doubles, 1 RBI)
Steven Souza Jr., .167 (1 for 6)
Matt Beaty, .111 (1 for 9)
Justin Turner, .097 (3 for 31, 1 homer, 1 RBI)
Austin Barnes, .000 (0 for 2)
Luke Raley, .000 (0 for 1)
Billy McKinney, .000 (0 for 1)
Team: .241 (72 for 299, 14 doubles, 9 homers, 33 runs)

Kenley Jansen, 5.0 IP, 2 hits, 0 walks, 12 Ks, 2-0, 1 save, 0.00 ERA
Phil Bickford, 4.1 IP, 3 hits, 0 walks, 3 Ks, 0.00 ERA
Justin Bruihl, 1.2 IP, 1 hit, 0 walks, 4 Ks, 0.00 ERA
Evan Phillips, 1.2 IP, 1 hit, 2 walks, 3 Ks, 0.00 ERA
Brusdar Graterol, 5.1 IP, 4 hits, 1 ER, 0 walks, 3 Ks, 0-1, 1.69 ERA
Joe Kelly, 4.2 IP, 3 hits, 1 ER, 1 walk, 5 Ks, 1-0, 1.93 ERA
Max Scherzer, 16.2 IP, 10 hits, 4 ER, 5 walks, 23 Ks, 0-1, 1 save, 2.16 ERA
Alex Vesia, 3.1 IP, 4 hits, 1 ER, 0 walks, 6 Ks, 2.70 ERA
Blake Treinen, 6.1 IP, 4 hits, 2 ER, 2 walks, 7 Ks, 0-1, 2.84 ERA
Julio Urías, 10 IP, 9 hits, 4 ER, 1 walk, 12 Ks, 1-0, 3.60 ERA
Tony Gonsolin, 2 IP, 2 hits, 1 ER, 0 walks, 1 K, 1-0, 4.50 ERA
Corey Knebel, 3.2 IP, 3 hits, 2 ER, 1 walk, 6 Ks, 4.92 ERA
Walker Buehler, 14.1 IP, 16 hits, 8 ER, 6 walks, 12 Ks, 0-1, 5.02 ERA
Team: 79 IP, 62 hits, 24 ER, 18 walks, 97 Ks, 2.73 ERA

Braves in this postseason

Eddie Rosario, .400 (10 for 25, 4 RBIs)
Joc Pederson, .389 (7 for 18, 3 homers, 8 RBIs)
Austin Riley, .346 (9 for 26, 2 doubles, 2 homers, 4 RBIs)
Adam Duvall, .280 (7 for 25, 1 triple, 2 RBIs)
Freddie Freeman, .280 (7 for 25, 1 double, 1 homer, 2 RBIs)
Ozzie Albies, .267 (8 for 30, 2 doubles, 2 RBIs)
Dansby Swanson, .231 (6 for 26, 1 double, 1 RBI)
Travis d’Arnaud, .143 (3 for 21, 1 RBI)
Jorge Soler, .091 (1 for 11, 1 double)
Ehire Adrianza, .000 (0 for 5)
Guillermo Heredia, .000 (0 for 3)
Orlando Arcia, .000 (0 for 2)
William Contreras, .000 (0 for 1)
Johan Camargo, .000 (0 for 2)
Team: .252 (58 for 230, 7 doubles, 1 triple, 6 homers, 25 runs scored)

Will Smith, 5 IP, 3 hits, 2 walks, 5 Ks, 2-0, 3 saves, 0.00 ERA
Jesse Chavez, 3.1 IP, 3 hits, 2 walk, 2 Ks, 0.00 ERA
A.J. Minter, 3.1 IP, 1 hit, 2 walks, 6 Ks, 0.00 ERA
Chris Martin, 1 IP, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 Ks, 0.00 ERA
Jacob Webb, 0.2 IP, 0 hits, 1 walk, 1 K, 0.00 ERA
Max Fried, 12 IP, 11 hits, 2 ER, 0 walks, 14 Ks, 1-0, 1.50 ERA
Ian Anderson, 8 IP, 6 hits, 2 ER, 3 walks, 8 Ks, 1-0, 2.25 ERA
Tyler Matzek, 7.1 IP, 4 hits, 2 ER, 4 walks, 12 Ks, 1-0, 2.46 ERA
Charlie Morton, 14.1 IP, 10 hits, 6 ER, 8 walks, 19 Ks, 0-1, 3.77 ERA
Luke Jackson, 5 IP, 8 hits, 4 ER, 3 walks, 5 Ks, 0-1, 7.20 ERA
Huascar Ynoa, 1 IP, 2 hits, 2 ER, 1 walk, 2 Ks, 18.00 ERA
Team: 61 IP, 48 hits, 18 ER, 26 walks, 74 Ks, 2.66 ERA

NLCS schedule

Game 1: at Atlanta 3, Dodgers 2
Game 2: at Atlanta 5, Dodgers 4
Game 3: at Dodgers 6, Atlanta 5

Game 4: Today, Atlanta (Bullpen game) at Dodgers (**Julio Urías, 20-3, 2.96 ERA), 5 p.m., TBS, AM 570, KTNQ 1020, ESPN radio

Game 5: Thursday, Atlanta (**Max Fried, 14-7, 3.04 ERA) at Dodgers (Bullpen game), 5 p.m., TBS, AM 570, KTNQ 1020, ESPN radio

Game 6*: Saturday, Dodgers (Max Scherzer, 15-4, 2.46 ERA) at Atlanta (TBD), 2 p.m. PT if ALCS is still playing, 5 p.m. PT if not, TBS, AM 570, KTNQ 1020, ESPN radio

Game 7*: Sunday, Dodgers (Walker Buehler, 16-4, 2.47 ERA) at Atlanta (TBD), 4:30 p.m. PT, TBS, AM 570, KTNQ 1020, ESPN radio

*-if necessary

In case you missed it

Plaschke: Dodgers were finished until epic Game 3 comeback. Now it’s the Braves who are done

Dodgers go from ‘dead in the water’ to triumphant in Game 3 comeback over Braves

Hernández: Cody Bellinger becomes the Dodgers’ unexpected hero again, saving season

Momentum changer? Braves see Game 3 loss to Dodgers as ‘a speed bump in the road’


Photos: Bellinger brings Dodgers back from three-run deficit to defeat Braves

And finally

Dodgers tie Game 3 on Cody Bellinger’s three-run homer. Watch and listen here. Dodgers take lead on Mookie Betts’ double. Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

Have a comment or something you’d like to see in a future Dodgers newsletter? Email me at, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.