Code Red: Dodgers Lose NLDS Game 3


Sadness. The Dodgers lost Game 3 of the NLDS in St. Louis, and are now on the brink of elimination. Matt Carpenter has hit about a zillion extra base hits in the series, and Yasiel Puig has the same amount of strikeouts. The Dodgers’ bullpen once again gave up a crushing late-inning homerun, and the offense could not figure out John Lackey.

Hyun-jin Ryu gave it his all, but the Dodger bullpen couldn’t come through. Photo: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Hyun-jin Ryu pitched admirably, even though he was battling his control and the awful strike zone all night. He did all that we could ask for, and the southpaw should be proud of his start tonight. It was the glaring weakness which was apparent this entire season…the bullpen. Scott Elbert, who had pitched back from multiple surgeries to make the postseason roster, gave up the devastating two-run homerun to Kolten Wong in the seventh.

The Dodgers’ offense couldn’t get much going other than a Puig triple and a RBI double from Hanley Ramirez in the sixth. The St. Louis bullpen is just better than the Dodger’s. While I complained about Don Mattingly not using a right-hander to pitch to Yadier Molina to begin the fateful seventh inning, it nearly didn’t matter when Brandon League has become your second-most effective reliever besides Kenley Jansen.

Now the Dodgers, with their backs up against the wall, will have to pitch Clayton Kershaw on three-days rest tomorrow afternoon in Game 4 in order to stave off elimination and send the series back to Los Angeles

Dodgers 1 7 0

 Cardinals 3 11 0

WP- Lackey (1-0)

LP- Elbert (0-1)

S- Rosenthal (2)

HR- Carpenter (3), Wong (1)

Dee Gordon led off with a clean single to center field off FOX’s beloved John Lackey who got extra close-up time from the camera. Gordon stole second without so much as a throw from Yadier Molina with Yasiel Puig at the plate. I love this aggressiveness by the Dodgers right out of the gate. Lackey reared back to strike out Puig, and the Wild Horse had now whiffed six times in a row in his last two NLDS appearances. Gordon moved to third on a passed ball by Yadi with Adrian Gonzalez at the plate. Gonzo fouled out after going 3-2 against Lackey. Matt Kemp flied out to center, and the Dodgers strand Gordon at third. That fly ball would have gotten Gordon home an out ago…

Hyun-jin Ryu took the mound for the Dodgers for the first time in 23 days due to a shoulder injury in the home half the first. Ryu

Oct 6, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong (16) rounds the base after a two run home run during the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in game three of the 2014 NLDS baseball playoff game at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

struck out Matt Carpenter with a nice curveball to start things off. That’s the Ryu we know and love. Randal Grichuk was also whiffed by Ryu with another beautiful breaking ball. Matt Holliday drew a two-out walk on a borderline pitch, but Jhonny Peralta is retired on a grounder to Juan Uribe at third.

Hanley Ramirez broke his bat on a single to right field which went under Grichuk on a sliding attempt in the top of the second. Carl Crawford flied out to right, and Uribe hit a long fly ball out to the warning track in center. A.J. Ellis came up with another postseason hit, a two-out single. He was now 6-for-9 during the series. Lackey struck out Ryu for the last out, and the Dodgers stranded another two runners.

The first base hit for the Cardinals was a single to center by Matt Adams to lead-off the bottom of the second. Molina followed with another single to center. Jon Jay struck out on a check swing on a ball in the dirt. Kolten Wong, future hero, grounded into a force out. After going 3-2 to Lackey, he ended up grounding out to Hanley at short to end the threat. I finally could exhale.

Lackey struck out both Gordon and Puig again in the top of the third. That was Puig’s seventh consecutive strikeout. Gonzo grounded out, and the Dodgers went down 1-2-3.

Why do they keep pitching to Matt Carpenter? Why? Lead-off solo homerun. 1-0 Cardinals. Sure, walking the lead-off guy isn’t the best idea, but Matt Carpenter is absolutely killing the Dodgers this series. That’s his third homerun in as many games. Hanley made a great catch in shallow left field to retire Adams, but the Dodgers needed to get to Lackey somehow.

1-0 seemed more like 10-0 as my passion got the best of me. It doesn’t help that Lackey shut down the Dodgers in order in the fourth inning and exclaimed with pumped up emotion when he left the mound.

In the bottom of the fourth, a nice double play grounded into by Wong erased the one-out single by Jon Jay.

A.J. Ellis was doing A.J. Ellis things in the top of the fifth with a one-out walk, the first and only free pass allowed by Lackey. Ryu laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Ellis to second. Gordon grounded out to first, and that was the fourth runner left on base for the Dodgers.

It’s not like Ryu was pitching poorly. He sent the Red Birds down in order in the bottom of the fifth. It was just that one bad pitch to annoying Carpenter…

Hallelujah! Puig hit a beautiful triple to the right field corner, and Grichuk had to chase it while the Wild Horse stampeded into third base. Dale Scott, the home plate umpire, was completely inconsistent in his calls. He gave Lackey the inside corner, but he didn’t give the same call to Ryu. Matt Kemp ended up striking out for the second out of the inning thanks to the awful umpiring.Then Hanley Ramirez came up HUGE with a RBI double to right field to tie up the game!

Hanley got a bit of revenge against the Cards with that game tying double. He not only got the big hit, but he was playing some great defense during the night as well.

Ryu pitched another scoreless 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the sixth, and that was truly a gutsy performance from the Korean left-hander

Oct 6, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez (13) hits an RBI double during the sixth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals in game three of the 2014 NLDS baseball playoff game at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

who had not pitched in weeks.

Hyun-jin Ryu pitched 6 innings and allowed 1 run on 5 hits with 4 strikeouts and 1 walk on 94 pitches.

With two outs in the seventh, Don Mattingly went to his bench with Scott Van Slyke. Lackey retired SVS on a groundout, and the Dodgers went down in order against a locked in Lackey.

The rain began to pour down harder in St. Louis (like Blue tears) during the seventh inning stretch, and the Cardinals jumped ahead thanks to another Dodger bullpen implosion. Scott Elbert would come out of the Dodgers bullpen to take over for Ryu. Yadier Molina stroked the first hit he saw for a double to left field. Jay sacrificed Yadi to third, and then Kolten Wong proceeded to crush a two-run homerun to right center field. The Cardinals took a 3-1 lead, and I began to weep.

Matt Carpenter, evil bird, doubled with two outs, and Mattingly had to bring in League to get the last out. Grichuk singled, but luckily League extinguished the rally by inducing a signature groundout, this time off League’s leg, toward first base to end the inning and retire Holliday.

John Lackey pitched 7 innings and allowed 1 run on 5 hits with 8 strikeouts and 1 walk on 100 pitches.

Pat Neshek continued where Lackey left off. He sent the Dodgers down in order in the eighth and struck out Puig once again. Puig has struck out more times this series than I can remember.

Brian Wilson was in for the bottom of the eighth, and Peralta promptly doubled off the first pitch he saw from Blackbeard. They

I feel the same way, J.P. Photo: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

intentionally walked Adams. Wilson then struck out Molina. Sure wish Mattingly would have brought in Wilson to pitch to Molina LAST INNING!

J.P. Howell was the next Dodger pitcher to come in, and the Cardinals had two on and one out. Jon Jay drove it the opposite way for a single, and the bases were loaded for Wong who just hit the big homerun last inning. J.P. somehow initiated one of the most clutch double plays I have seen. He knocked down a ball hit by Wong, threw to home to get Peralta, then A.J. threw to first to get the DP! Nice!

Trevor Rosenthal came in for the top of the ninth for St. Louis. Matt Kemp was called out on strikes, and Kemp argued with the inconsistent umpire for a moment. Hanley Ramirez hit a one-out single up the middle, and the Dodgers brought up the tying run to the plate with Crawford. CC blooped a single off a Rosenthal changeup to bring up Uribe. There was a shady grounds keeping delay when Mike Matheny asked to put some drying agent on the mound right in the middle of Uribe’s at-bat. Uribe ended up flying out to right after going 3-2, and Hanley tagged up and advanced to third. A.J. Ellis was the Dodgers’ last hope. Ellis flied out to right, and the Cardinals took Game 3.

Lots of crying ensued, and cookie eating too.

The Dodgers now have no choice but to pitch Clayton Kershaw pitch Game 4 on Tuesday on three-days rest after falling 2-1 in the series. St. Louis will counter with Shelby Miller in the 2:07 p.m. PT game.