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The Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 2-1 in 13 innings to take Game 4 of the NLCS at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday night and knot the series at two games apiece.
Cody Bellinger sealed the victory with a walk-off single that scored Manny Machado from second base after the sides engaged in a lengthy 1-1 stalemate that began in the top of the fifth inning.
Dodgers’ Hopes Doomed Without More Offense
During the regular season, the Dodgers didn’t have any trouble generating offense. They ranked first in the National League in runs scored (804), and they hit 17 more home runs than the second-ranked Brewers.
Based on the NLCS, you’d never guess they were so dynamic.
Despite Tuesday’s Game 4 win, the Dodgers’ numbers at the plate in three of their last four games have been downright woeful.
Excluding the Game 2 win at Miller Park, L.A. has now struck out 44 times and left 22 runners stranded on base across Games 1, 3 and 4. Those numbers were bolstered Tuesday by 17 whiffs and persistent failures with men on as the Dodgers left eight runners stranded.
FOX Sports: MLB @MLBONFOX
The strikeouts are piling up for the Dodgers tonight. https://t.co/kWSC68JmfP
In Game 5, the Dodgers have to reverse that trend against Brewers starter Wade Miley.
Flipping the switch won’t be an easy task considering the Dodgers mustered only two hits in 5.2 innings against Miley in Game 2. With that said, seeing the southpaw for a second time in five days should put them in a more comfortable position as they seek to take a 3-2 series lead.
Brewers’ Bullpen Can Carry Them to World Series
The Brewers entered Game 4 knowing they likely wouldn’t receive a particularly lengthy outing from starter Gio Gonzalez, who was pitching on four days rest.
What they weren’t counting on was Gonzalez departing with no outs in the second inning after he rolled his left ankle trying to field a comeback liner that ricocheted off his glove.
As a result, the Brewers’ renowned bullpen was thrust into action a few innings earlier than expected. True to form, one of baseball’s premier relief groups was up to the task.
Rookie Freddy Peralta came on for Gonzalez and twirled three no-hit innings in his first postseason appearance. Fellow first-year stud Corbin Burnes followed suit by tossing two perfect innings with three strikeouts.
Greg Beacham @gregbeacham
Freddy Peralta is absolutely filthy, and the Brewers hadn’t even had to use him before tonight in this postseason. That’s one helluva bullpen in Milwaukee.
Jon Morosi @jonmorosi
Freddy Peralta, 22, and Corbin Burnes, 23, are the youngest pitchers to appear for the @Brewers all season. Their combined line tonight: 5 innings, 0 runs. @MLBONFOX @MLBNetwork @MLB
In all, six Brewers relievers combined to allow five hits and record all 17 of Milwaukee’s strikeouts over the game’s final 11.2 innings.
MLB Stat of the Day @MLBStatoftheDay
The @Brewers bullpen has been lights out tonight.
Their 17 Ks are the most EVER in a #postseason game. https://t.co/1ocDYwyXzg
Any club would be envious of that depth, and it should continue to buoy the Brewers’ pursuit of a world championship even after Tuesday’s defeat.
Tired arms and all, it would be foolish to count that unit out.
Kershaw Needs Best Postseason Outing to Save Dodgers Season
The Clayton Kershaw Postseason Narrative has become one of Major League Baseball’s most dense and complex texts over the past few years.
On some nights, he looks like a world-beater capable of stymying the game’s most daunting lineups. Just look at Game 2 of the NLDS, when the southpaw shut down the Atlanta Braves with only two hits allowed over eight shutout innings.
But then there are the other nights—the ones that have largely come to define his postseason experience.
Long knocked for his inability to rise to the occasion on the game’s biggest stage, Kershaw has found consistent productivity hard to come by since he made his first playoff start 10 years ago. Since then, he has gone 8-8 with a 4.26 ERA in 21 starts, numbers hardly befitting of his caliber of talent.
In Game 1 of the NLCS, Kershaw was downright disappointing. He surrendered four earned runs and six hits, including a home run to Brewers pitcher Brandon Woodruff, over three innings.
“I think it’s hard enough to try and win a postseason game,” he said, per ESPN.com’s Alden Gonzalez. “I know more than anybody knows that.”
On Wednesday, he’ll have a chance to author an epic response to that series-opening letdown. If he can, the Dodgers will have life when the series shifts back to Milwaukee for Game 6.
If not, Los Angeles will have to reckon with yet another postseason dud.
The Dodgers will host Game 5 on Wednesday afternoon at 5:05 p.m. ET.