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The Sports Report: Betts’ and Freeman’s poor play does not bode well for Dodgers future

Dodgers stars Mookie Betts, left, and Freddie Freeman during Game 3 of the NLDS.
Mookie Betts, left, and Freddie Freeman during Game 3 of the NLDS against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
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Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

From Dylan Hernández: Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman offered no explanations for what happened.

How they were a combined one for 21 as the Dodgers were swept by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League Division Series.

How they failed to reach base safely in the final 17 innings of the best-of-five series, which mercifully ended on Wednesday night with a 4-2 defeat at Chase Field.

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How the only hit credited to either member of the most productive offensive partnership in franchise history was an infield single by Freeman in Game 2.

“It’s obviously super frustrating,” Betts said. “There’s no real known cause for it.”

“It’s hard to find words right now,” Freeman said. “They just beat us. Bad series.”

The Dodgers didn’t have the pitching to win the World Series. But that wasn’t the reason they were swept by the Diamondbacks. The offense was.

The Dodgers had a chance to win Game 2 and Game 3. They lost because they couldn’t score.

The catalysts of an offense that scored an average of 5.6 runs per game, Betts and Freeman didn’t hit. The Dodgers scored a total of six runs over their three games against the Diamondbacks, resulting in their elimination in the divisional round for the second consecutive year.

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NLDS SCHEDULE

Best-of-five
All times Pacific

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Dodgers vs. Arizona
Arizona 11, Dodgers 2 (box score)
Arizona 4, Dodgers 2 (box score)
Arizona 4, Dodgers 2 (box score)

Philadelphia vs. Atlanta
Philadelphia 3, Atlanta 0 (box score)
Atlanta 5, Philadelphia 4 (box score)
Philadelphia 10, Atlanta 2 (box score)
Philadelphia 3, Atlanta 1 (box score)

NLDS: Nick Castellanos hits two homers, powers Phillies past Braves and into NLCS

ALDS SCHEDULE

Best-of-five
All times Pacific

Texas vs. Baltimore
Texas 3, Baltimore 2 (box score)
Texas 11, Baltimore 8 (box score)
Texas 7, Baltimore 1 (box score)

Minnesota vs. Houston
Houston 6, Minnesota 4 (box score)
Minnesota 6, Houston 2 (box score)
Houston 9, Minnesota 1 (box score)
Houston 3, Minnesota 2 (box score)

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NLCS SCHEDULE

All times Pacific
All games on TBS

Arizona vs. Philadelphia
Monday at Philadelphia, 5 p.m.
Tuesday at Philadelphia, 5 p.m.
Thursday at Arizona, 2 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 20 at Arizona, 5 p.m.
*Saturday, Oct. 21 at Arizona, 5 p.m.
*Monday, Oct. 23 at Philadelphia, 2 p.m.
*Tuesday, Oct. 24 at Philadelphia, 5 p.m.

ALCS SCHEDULE

All times Pacific

Texas vs. Houston
Sunday at Houston, 5:15 p.m., Fox
Monday at Houston, 1:30 p.m., Fox/FS1
Wednesday at Texas, 5 p.m., FS1
Thursday at Texas, 5 p.m., FS1
*Friday, Oct. 20 at Texas, 2 p.m., FS1
*Sunday, Oct. 22 at Houston, 5 p.m., FS1
*Monday, Oct. 23 at Houston, 5 p.m., Fox/FS1

*-if necessary

KINGS

From Helene Elliott: The Kings were at a disadvantage before they took to the ice for their season opener Wednesday at Crypto.com Arena, and it wasn’t the kind of situation they could negate with a good penalty-killing effort.

This disadvantage likely will hang over them all season, and they’ll have to learn to live with it or risk being derailed by it.

The growth in the Kings’ talent level over the last few seasons triggered a growth in their payroll and a collision with the unforgiving limit of a hard salary cap that hasn’t grown much since COVID-19 put a dent in the NHL’s revenues. Cap concerns, a suspension to forward Arthur Kaliyev, and an injury that will keep winger Viktor Arvidsson out “a little bit,” according to coach Todd McLellan, meant the Kings dressed just 11 forwards and six defensemen — one skater short of the limit — in addition to two goaltenders for their opener.

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Worries about waiver rules and the salary cap and whether they’ll be able to put out the best possible lineup each game will be a constant for the Kings. “It’s something that we are learning to deal with,” McLellan said. “This is the difference between where we are and where we’ve been: In the past, we’ve had cap space. We’ve had extra players around. We gave a lot of people an opportunity.

“Now, we’re at the crunch time as we need to evolve and we have to learn to handle different types of ice time, even in practice. There’s a lot that we’ll have to juggle as we go along but we’ll get it done.”

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NHL scores and box scores

NHL standings

CHARGERS

From Jeff Miller: The Chargers’ most important right hand belongs to Justin Herbert, who, nevertheless, fielded several questions Thursday about his left hand.

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Specifically, the quarterback was quizzed about his left middle finger, which was fractured Oct. 1 in a victory over Las Vegas.

The injury didn’t prevent Herbert from finishing the game against the Raiders without missing a snap and, he said, shouldn’t impact his play moving forward, starting with Monday night against Dallas.

“I think there’s so much going on during the game,” Herbert said when asked about the possibility of having to adjust his approach, “that you’re probably not going to be worrying about it too much.”

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RAMS

From Gary Klein: The aftermath of Cooper Kupp’s first game back with the Rams this season apparently was not as physically painful as it could have been.

So the veteran receiver was in good spirits this week as he reflected on the tolerable toll he endured after playing against the Philadelphia Eagles.

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“It was right in the middle,” Kupp quipped after practice Thursday. “It wasn’t quite like you were in a car crash, but it was like you did something — so a perfect medium.”

Kupp, who came back from hamstring injury. that landed him on injured reserve for the first four games, looked like his typical self during the Rams’ 23-14 defeat to the Eagles. He caught eight passes from quarterback Matthew Stafford and eclipsed 100 yards receiving for the 29th time in his career.

Now perhaps a bigger test awaits Kupp when he plays against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at SoFi Stadium.

Consider: Kupp and the Rams training staff had months to prepare him physically for his season debut against the Eagles.

Kupp has only a week to recover and prepare for the Cardinals — and what will be a week-to-week management plan for the next 12 games and possibly longer.

“It’s definitely a different mentality,” Kupp said.

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Patrick Mahomes throws TD pass, Kelce has big game as Chiefs beat Broncos

Chiefs-Broncos box score

NFL standings

Sunday’s NFL schedule

USC FOOTBALL

From Ryan Kartje: When USC set out to rebuild its offensive line in the offseason, the hope was three transfers, with more talent and plenty of experience at their disposal, would seamlessly plug in to a front that had previously been blessed by unusual continuity.

Through six weeks, it hasn’t been as seamless as USC might have hoped. USC offensive line coach Josh Henson, said this week the line was “a work in progress.” Justin Dedich, USC’s fifth-year center and captain, agreed that the revamped group hasn’t meshed “at the same pace it was last year.”

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“Not saying it’s good or bad,” Dedich said, “just different.”

Neither expressed any overarching concerns about the pace of the offensive line’s progress, and coach Lincoln Riley echoed their patience on Thursday. But as USC enters a punishing portion of its schedule, with a physical Notre Dame front on deck Saturday, it’ll need proper protection to keep its offense thriving and its Heisman-winning quarterback upright.

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UCLA FOOTBALL

With UCLA playing in its final season in the Pac-12, The Times is revisiting the top five games in the history of each series. This week: UCLA-Oregon State.

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THIS DATE IN SPORTS

1903 — The Boston Pilgrims win the first World Series, 5 games to 3, with a 3-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

1947 — The NHL holds its first All-Star game with the All-Stars beating the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3. Toronto’s Harry Watson scores the game’s first goal and assists on the other two goals. Trailing 3-2 after two periods, Montreal’s Maurice Richard and Chicago’s Doug Bentley each score to give the All-Stars the win.

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1960 — Bill Mazeroski opens the bottom of the ninth with a home run off Ralph Terry of the New York Yankees to give the Pittsburgh Pirates a 10-9 victory and the World Series title.

1963 — Mickey Wright wins her fourth LPGA championship in six years by beating Mary Lena Faulk, Mary Mills and Louise Suggs by two strokes.

1982 — IOC Executive Committee approves the reinstatement of Jim Thorpe’s gold medals from the 1912 Olympics.

1985 — Phil Simms of the New York Giants passes for 513 yards with an NFL-record 62 pass attempts in a 35-30 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Simms completes 40 passes with 29 for first downs, also an NFL record.

1998 — For the first time in NBA history, the league cancels regular season games after labor talks break off.

2001 — DeShaun Foster of UCLA runs for a school-record 301 yards and four touchdowns as the Bruins beat Washington 35-13.

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2011 — American Jordyn Wieber wins another gold medal, beating Russia’s Viktoria Komova for the all-around title at the world gymnastics championships in Tokyo. Wieber, who led the Americans to the team title two days earlier, finishes with 59.382 points, just 0.033 ahead of the Russian.

2013 — Kenya’s Dennis Kimetto, six weeks removed from a bout of malaria, breaks the course mark in capturing the Chicago Marathon. Kimetto finishes in 2 hours, 3 minutes, 45 seconds, leading a 1-2-3 finish for Kenyan men. He beats the mark of 2:04:38 set by Ethiopia’s Tsegaye Kebede last year.

2017 — Gustav Nyquist scores twice and Detroit has four goals in the third period to beat Vegas 6-3, handing the NHL’s newest franchise its first loss. Vegas is the first NHL expansion team to win its first three games.

2019 — Simone Biles becomes the most decorated gymnast in history when she wins record 25th medal at the World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany.

—Compiled by the Associated Press

And finally...

Bill Mazeroski’s World Series walkoff home run. Watch and listen here.

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Until next time...

That concludes today’s newsletter. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.

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