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Dodgers Dugout: Breaking down the Game 2 loss to the Nationals

NLDS Nationals Dodgers Baseball
Clayton Kershaw wipes his face during the first inning of Game 2.
(Associated Press)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, and now the Nationals have home-field advantage.

Breaking down Game 2

--Before we blame various Dodgers for the Game 2 loss, sometimes you just have to tip your cap to the opponent. The Nationals are a good team and this was never going to be easy. Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer pitched like the aces they are.

--That being said, the Dodgers made it a little easier by swinging at pitches they normally take. There were several bad at-bats, and 17 of the Dodgers 27 outs came by strikeout.

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--Sometimes the team comes out and looks flat. I can’t explain it, and I’m sure they aren’t doing it on purpose of course, but it’s like they sleepwalk through some games. It has happened for a couple of seasons now.

--Clayton Kershaw had a 5.79 ERA in the first inning this season, and I thought things looked good when he escaped by only giving up one run. Then the second inning happened.

--Let’s face it, Kershaw will never challenge Sandy Koufax, or even Don Drysdale, as the best pitcher in Dodgers history until he has a dominant postseason. He hasn’t had one. Sure, he has had the occasional great outing, but there’s something about the postseason that makes him just another pitcher. Let’s take a look at the postseason numbers for pitchers who have won more than one Cy Young Award, ranked in order of ERA.

Sandy Koufax, 4-3, 0.95 ERA

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Bob Gibson, 7-2, 1.89 ERA

Roy Halladay, 3-2, 2.37 ERA

Tim Lincecum, 5-2, 2.40 ERA

Jim Palmer, 8-3, 2.61 ERA

Tom Seaver, 3-3, 2.77 ERA

Denny McLain, 1-2, 3.24 ERA

Steve Carlton, 6-6, 3.26 ERA

Greg Maddux, 11-14, 3.27 ERA

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Tom Glavine, 14-16, 3.30 ERA

Pedro Martinez, 6-4, 3.46 ERA

Randy Johnson, 7-9, 3.50 ERA

Roger Clemens, 12-8, 3.75 ERA

Max Scherzer, 4-5, 3.78 ERA

Corey Kluber, 4-3, 3.97 ERA

Johan Santana, 1-3, 3.97 ERA

Clayton Kershaw, 9-11, 4.33 ERA

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Bret Saberhagen, 2-4, 4.67 ERA

Gaylord Perry, 1-1, 6.14 ERA

The greatest pitchers rise to the occasion. And that’s all I have to say about that.

--It was interesting that they pitched to Cody Bellinger but walked Max Muncy. I know some of that is because Will Smith was hitting behind Muncy, but it’s still an interesting choice.

--Hyun-Jin Ryu gets the ball for Game 3, probably against Scherzer. The Dodgers need to return to their patient ways and try to get Scherzer out of there by the end of the sixth inning.

The Cody Bellinger postseason tracker

Game 2: 0 for 4, 2 strikeouts

NLDS: 0 for 6, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts, 1 run scored

Career postseason: .164 (20 for 122), 5 doubles, 4 homers, 13 RBIs, 10 walks, 49 strikeouts

Bullpen postseason tracker

Game 2: 3 IP, 4 hits, 1 ER, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

NLDS: 1.50 ERA, 6 IP, 5 hits, 1 ER, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts

Clayton Kershaw postseason tracker

Game 2: 0-1, 4.50 ERA 6 IP, 6 hits, 3 ER, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts

NLDS: 0-1, 4.50 ERA, 6 IP, 6 hits, 3 ER, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts

Career postseason: 9-11, 4.33 ERA, 158 IP, 128 hits, 76 ER, 45 walks, 169 strikeouts

NLDS schedule

All times Pacific

Game 1: at Dodgers 6, Washington 0

Game 2: Washington 4, at Dodgers 2

Game 3: Sunday at Washington, 4:45 p.m., TBS, AM 570

Game 4: Monday at Washington, 3:40 p.m.

Game 5*: Wednesday at Dodgers, 5 p.m. or 5:30 p.m., TBS, AM 570

*-if necessary.

In case you missed it

Read all our coverage and sign up for our Dodgers newsletter for even more analysis:

Bill Plaschke: Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw stumbles on big stage again in losing Game 2 of NLDS

Dylan Hernandez: Nationals’ pitching strategy makes the Dodgers look clueless in Game 2 of NLDS

Dodgers’ comeback falls short in NLDS Game 2 loss to Nationals

Stephen Strasburg continues to roll in leading Nationals past Dodgers in Game 2 of NLDS

Gavin Lux’s grasp of Dodgers lore as fuzzy as Dennis Eckersley’s mustache

And finally

Highlights from Game 2. Watch it here.

Have a comment or something you’d like to see in a future Dodgers newsletter? Email me and follow me on Twitter: @latimeshouston. Subscribe to this newsletter by clicking here.


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