After Cody Bellinger poked through a clutch two-out RBI single to tie the game in the top half, Walker Buehler made quick work of Joc Pederson and Dansby Swanson. All he needed to do was get Travis d’Arnaud out after getting ahead in the count 1-2.
He couldn’t get the Braves catcher to chase, though, and a few pitches later d’Arnaud was on first base after working a walk.
Then came the pitcher’s spot. Braves manager Brian Snitker made the decision to remove Ian Anderson from the game and bring in Ehire Adrianza as the pinch hitter. Not the worst thing in the world for the Dodgers. They had gotten to Atlanta’s bullpen. Now all Buehler had to do was get the .247 hitter out.
But Adrianza poked a double down the right field line to put runners on second and third. Next up? The hottest hitter on the Braves. Eddie Rosario. One last mistake from Buehler, and the damage was done. Rosario’s three-run homer to right field made it a 4-1 game.
Walker Buehler unraveled in the fourth inning and it may doom the Dodgers.
d’Arnaud is no slouch, but that’s a situation Buehler needs to finish the job. You can’t let someone who hit .220 in 2021 and .188 in this series get on base after putting him on the ropes. This Braves team has capitalized on just about every favorable opportunity. Every door that’s been left cracked open this series, the Braves have fully busted through it.
It’s unfortunate because there’s not much more that could’ve been asked of Buehler. He (and Julio Urías) exceeded their career high innings mark this season and started to burn out in the playoffs. Couple that with Max Scherzer’s dead arm, and the Dodgers needed to be perfect in order to win two in a row on the road to advance to the World Series.
The Braves are a team of destiny. The Dodgers are sucking wind to escape early innings of win-or-go-home games while their best players are struggling to keep it together.
When everyone can finally process it, we’ll look back and realize how truly disadvantaged the Dodgers ended up being right after escaping the NLDS against the Giants.