The LowDown: Tough Sledding for Dodgers in World Series Rematch

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Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Game One

[FRIDAY] The Dodgers were simply shut down by the Astros’ starting pitcher, Justin Verlander. The Astros’ ace tossed seven and two thirds innings with only one blemish; a lead-off solo home run by Joc Pederson in the first inning. Following being taken deep by the red-hot Pederson, Verlander punched out fourteen batters, tying his single-game career high on strikeouts.

Alex Wood took duties against Verlander on Friday night, and although tagged with the loss, pitched a great six innings. Wood struck out four and walked three while allowing only one earned run to come across. It didn’t appear that Wood has his best stuff with the lack of control at times, but ultimately pitched a game that allowed the Dodgers a chance to win through his entire outing.

The game-deciding run came across on the same play that tacked an earned run onto Alex Wood’s line due to an error by Cody Bellinger, who was playing center field that evening. Bellinger bobbled the fielded ball while attempting to transfer it to his throwing hand, allowing Jake Marisnick to advance the extra ninety feet from third base to home and eventually decide our ballgame.

Aside from the aforementioned Joc Pederson solo shot, the Dodgers’ offense was silenced through all nine innings by Justin Verlander and Hector Rondon, who was summoned from the Astros’ bullpen to close the door with two outs in the eighth inning. Yasmani Grandal, who tore it up in the prior month of July and was named to MLB’s ‘Team of the Month’, went 0 for 4, striking out four times in the game. Grandal’s four K’s adds to the team’s sixteen total in the game.

The Dodgers lose to the Astros, 2-1. (Astros lead series, 1-0)

Game Two

[SATURDAY] Lance McCullers Jr. and the Astros forcefully pummelled the Dodgers on Saturday night, making a statement as to why last October ended like it did. The Dodgers’ pitching fell out, the offense fell asleep and stayed asleep, and the Astros capitalized.

Kenta Maeda started the night against Houston, following last night’s one-run contest, and flipped the script on last night’s disposition in exactly the wrong direction. Maeda was credited with the loss after giving up five earned runs on six hits, including a home run, and two walks.

While Maeda didn’t pitch well, the bullpen didn’t do him any favors. In three and two thirds innings combined, the bullpen gave up nine earned runs. The newly acquired John Axford, who was making his first appearance as a Dodger, yielded six of those nine runs. Axford was quoted after the game saying that his one-out, six earned performance was “the worst of [his] career.”

The offense was down in the first inning and stayed down through all nine, suffering the worst shutout of a Dodgers team at home since 1923. The Dodgers put nine runners on base in comparison to the Astros’ nineteen-spot in that department. Only three of the Dodgers’ nine baserunners reached on hits.

The top three hitters in the lineup, Chris Taylor, Manny Machado, and Justin Turner, each had a hit in the game, which frustrates the Dodgers’ inability to score any runs even more. Brian Dozier, who had been given the day off Friday against Justin Verlander, walked three times in his four plate appearances.

The Dodgers lose to the Astros, 14-0. (Astros lead series, 2-0)

Game Three

[SUNDAY] The Dodgers’ offense steps up and bounces back to take a close game against the Astros, boosting the club morale after playing seventeen consecutive games and going 9-8 during that stretch. The pitching was excellent and the offense was solid, leading to the victory.

Walker Buehler pitched well against a dangerous Houston lineup, striking out eight while yielding only two solo home runs. Besides the George Springer and Tony Kemp solo shots, Buehler only permitted two base hits through five and one third innings. After a handful of ugly starts for Buehler, this outing should do wonders for his confidence on the mound.

The Dodgers’ two July position player acquisitions, Manny Machado and Brian Dozier, played huge roles in the win. Machado, batting second for Los Angeles, went 3 for 4, scoring twice. On the other side, Brian Dozier, batting fifth, drove in two RBIs early in the game, giving the Dodgers the lead that they would keep and later add onto to seal the victory.

While Dozier drove Machado in one, the run that eventually would become the deciding run was driven in by the clean-up hitter, Cody Bellinger, who doubled to bring Machado home from first base. Bellinger would later single in the eighth to polish off a 2 for 4 line on the day.

The bullpen pitched three and two thirds innings; the exact same amount as last night when nine runs were charged to the relieving crew. However, this time around, the bullpen allowed only one hit as no runs came across. Dodgers’ closer, Kenley Jansen, came on to begin the ninth with a one-run lead and slammed the door like he’s been known to do. Jansen collected his thirty-first save of the season, leading the National League.

The Dodgers defeat the Astros, 3-2. (Astros win series, 2-1)

Dodgers-LowDown ‘Player of the Series’

With the offensive and defensive fits that the Dodgers experienced, finding one standout player is difficult. But, even though his sample size is somewhat small, Dylan Floro earns honors as the Dodgers-LowDown ‘Player of the Series’ for LA.

Floro’s Final Line:

  • 2.2 IP
  • 0 H
  • 0 R
  • 0 BB
  • 3 SO
  • 0 HR

 

Arrick Joel has covered the Dodgers since 2017, and for Dodgers-LowDown since 2018. Follow @ArrickJoel and @DodgersLowDown on Twitter for more.