Dodgers: Chris Taylor’s baserunning blunder leads to Braves’ Game 1 victory
You thought the Dodgers had it, didn’t you? In the top of the ninth with Albert Pujols working the count, it sure felt good.
Or how about when Chris Taylor worked a walk, which allowed manager Dave Roberts to pinch hit Cody Bellinger with two outs? Pretty thrilling stuff for Game 1 of the NLCS.
Until it wasn’t. In a tight one against the Atlanta Braves with two outs in the top of the eighth, Bellinger ripped a liner into right field off closer Will Smith.
Joc Pederson fielded it cleanly, though, and Taylor couldn’t make a decision. He rounded second and was on his way to third, but he stopped when Pederson fired into second base. That was it. Dead in his tracks. Taylor was tagged out after minimal effort to avoid it.
Onto the bottom of the ninth.
Did Chris Taylor’s baserunning blunder cost the Los Angeles Dodgers in NLCS Game 1?
That’s exactly what cannot happen in the later innings of a playoff game on the road, but here we are. Who’s coming in after Kenley Jansen handled the bottom of the eighth swiftly?
It was Blake Treinen. He’s been another one of the team’s lockdown, reliable arms … but it was over in a flash. He struck out Freddie Freeman before allowing a bloop single to Ozzie Albies. Seconds later, Albies was on second base after a steal on the first pitch of the at-bat against Austin Riley.
On the second pitch? The game was over.
Riley ripped an offering from Treinen into left field and Albies didn’t have to hesitate for a moment. He crossed home plate and declared a Braves’ victory before anyone on their couch could process it.
Taylor isn’t fully to blame, but had he either went to third or stopped at second, Mookie Betts would’ve been at the plate with Trea Turner to follow. Those are the opportunities the team needs to cash in on, especially on the road against one of the league’s most shaky closers.
The Dodgers were so close to stealing Game 1 on the east coast without having a true starter toe the slab, but Max Fried and the Braves have taken a 1-0 series lead. Just goes to show how razor-thin the margin for error is, even if you’re the defending World Champs.