Saturday, December 4, 2021

Dodgers World Series title reign ends with NLCS defeat to Braves

The Dodgers’ season actually ended in the seventh inning Saturday night at Truist Park. This happened to runners in second and third, who ended up there after Atlanta Braves left-hander Tyler Matsek took out three strikers.

It happened in a fitting way: the Dodgers failed to seize a great opportunity to score in the sixth game of the National League championship series.

When the sequence ended, after Albert Pujols, Stephen Sousa Jr. and Muki Betts were punched in turn, Macek punched him twice. He jumped and howled. The Dodgers had six outs to wipe out the two-way deficit, but their hopes for the World Series were effectively damped there without kick-off, en route to a season-ending 4-2 defeat.

The result will be remembered for the stunning conclusion. The Dodgers have won 106 regular season games, a franchise record and 18 more than the Braves. Their salary was $ 100 million more expensive than in Atlanta. They were the clear favorites to claim two league titles for the first time in franchise history after surviving a division streak against the San Francisco Giants, the only team in major tournaments to have more regular season wins.

On Saturday, they entered a streak of seven knockout wins, which they started when they pulled themselves off the hole 3-1 in the NLCS against the Braves a year ago. But these dodgers were exhausted and lacked labor. The gas tank was empty and the Braves were just better.

The Braves surpassed their chances of making the World Series for the first time since 1999. They will look to their first league title since 1995 against the Houston Astros as the Dodgers enter an uncertain offseason.

“In the six years I’ve been here, this has been the core group of guys that could potentially be replaced this winter,” said manager Dave Roberts. “I’m not looking forward to it. They are great players and great people and I would like us to win another one in this group. “

The Dodger pursuit of a second title ended when Walker Buehler took a short break for the second time in 12 days after Max Scherzer announced he was not ready to take the mound. This was stopped by Eddie Rosario, the most valuable player in the series, tormenting them again with a gracious three-run home run in the fourth inning. This ended with the Dodgers going two out of 10 with the runners in a winning position. This happened when Macek took the hill opposite Puyol.

Macek was called to the site for the fifth time in the series to play a firefighter. Luke Jackson, who ditched Cody Bellinger’s three-way home run in Game 3, ditched a double run and walk to give the Dodgers life. Braves manager Brian Snitker took it easy. He went for a left-handed macek, even with Albert Pujols, the left-handed executioner, leading the way. He decided that Macek was his best choice.

Snitker’s aggressiveness was in stark contrast to the way Roberts made his decision in the fourth inning. Roberts chose to keep Buhler’s right-handers in the game to counter Rosario’s left-handed attacker. The at-bat’s seventh serve landed over a brick wall in right field in what was the Braves’ most important hit in 20 years, beating a 1-1 draw.

Macek needed four pitches to throw Puyols off. In years past, the Dodgers would have followed him with a dangerous threat from the bench. Their bench hasn’t been the same this year, as evidenced by Sousa, a veteran who signed in late May to make up for a lack of depth taken advantage of at one of the season’s highlights. He also hit on four assists. Matsek needed only three for Betts.

“His fastball is elite fastball,” Betts said of Macek. “When you pair him with a really good hitting ball, that combination turns us off every time. I know he turned me off. So I’ll just open my cap for him. “

On the day he had to take the mound to save the Dodgers season, Scherzer told reporters he didn’t start because he was too tired.

Scherzer cited “general muscle soreness” as the reason he got scratched during his scheduled start on Saturday. He claimed that he was not dealing with trauma. He said there was no structural damage to his arm. The oncoming free agent said he just didn’t have time to bounce off the dead hand he experienced in Game 2 last Sunday by Saturday’s pitch.

“I just didn’t get well,” Scherzer said. “I got to Day 4 and I still felt like Day 1.”

Scherzer, 37, said the fatigue was the cumulation of his workload, which included the appearance of one-half relief at the end of the fifth NLDS game against the Giants. Scherzer said he had no regrets about letting the team know he was available that night. He was expected to serve in some capacity on Sunday if there was Game 7. But he watched the Dodgers end of the season from an away dugout on Saturday.

The Braves opened the score with two attacks at 1-2 in the first half. Freddie Freeman started the double play when Ozzy Albis posted a double.

Austin Riley then switched places with him, turning the slider into a double for RBI, the basic rule. It was the only run the Braves scored in the inning, but they tied the score with Buehler. Four of the five balls they put into play had an output speed of at least 97 mph.

Buhler spent the next two innings without stopping. Everything changed in fourth place and again with two strikeouts. Travis d’Arnot began the rally with a walk. Snitker then stabbed Ehir Adrianze to pitcher Ian Anderson.

Adrianza hasn’t recorded a hit for 22 days, and the Braves pinch-hitters scored 0 out of 11 in the streak when he entered the batter box. Both sleds were locked on the second field when Adrianza leveled the second square on the right field line for a double.

D’Arnot had a chance to score first, but third base coach Ron Washington, known for the liberal green light, stopped him. It was on Rosario to make sure the choice wasn’t remembered as a season change mistake.

Left-hander Alex Vesia basked in the Dodgers bullpen. If he had faced Rosario, the left-handed striker, it would have given the Dodgers a better fight. But Roberts forced Buhler to face the hottest striker on the planet.

“At that moment, I just felt like he was the best option,” Roberts said.

The decision to stay with Buehler was a good start. Rosario fell 0 and 2 behind on two cutters. But he didn’t leave. Buhler tried to sneak up on another boat, but Rosario fouled him. Then he took the weight by the ball. Then it got clogged with the cutter and sinker.

Buhler’s strategy was obvious. He was going to attack Rosario with heavy objects. The plan backfired. Rosario struck with a cutter to cause frenzy. He collided with the Braves dugout and jumped onto the first pivot line, striking himself in the chest. The blast was Rosario’s third home run and 14th hit in the series, matching a major league record set by a player in any postseason streak.

“Obviously, Rosario is now on a different planet,” Buhler said.

Three innings later, Macek was one of those celebrating as he shot 98 mph past Betts. All Betts could do was shake his head.

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