Gavin Lux has been having a tough postseason in the outfield for the Los Angeles Dodgers. His mishaps in center field in Games 3 and 4 have been highly discussed, as both have been rather costly.
The first, which was definitively an error but not ruled one, came on Tuesday, in Game 3 of the NLCS against the Atlanta Braves. In the top of the fourth inning, with the Dodgers up 2-0, Atlanta’s Austin Riley hit a ball to the wall in center with plenty of air under it. Lux tracked it down and dropped it at the wall when he tried to secure the out.
Instead of a second out, Riley was safe on second and Freddie Freeman had advanced from first to third. Soon after, the Braves were up 4-2 after a four-run inning and was looking to go up 3-0 in the series. The Dodgers were eventually able to regain the lead and won 6-5 in what felt like a miracle.
Many were highly critical of Lux, while others practiced patience with him, considering that he isn’t a natural outfielder and has been thrust into this role. Lux begin working in the outfield after the team traded for Trea Turner, and he’s out there in the crucial NLCS games due to the fallout of Max Muncy’s injury.
Dodgers pitched Walker Buehler backed Gavin Lux after his error.
Someone who took a different approach to the situation was pitcher Walker Buehler, who was on the mound at the time. He decided to shoulder the blame for giving the Braves pitches to hit during the explosive inning, while also commending Lux for his efforts in helping the team in the outfield.
An admirable move by Buehler while his teammate remains under a ton of heat. After all, who knows better than the guys on the field?
Buehler is right — Lux has been getting a lot of blame when it should be spread throughout the club … even after the Game 4 loss, which saw Lux let a ball fall in center field that many deemed catchable.
If Lux caught it, it would have ended the top of the third inning, instead, the single brung in a run, extending Atlanta’s lead to 4-0.
Is it Gavin Lux’s fault the offense averaged four runs per game before being eliminated from the postseason — which was inflated by 20 runs in two games? Is it Gavin Lux’s fault Trea Turner stopped hitting once October arrived? Is it Gavin Lux’s fault both Buehler and Urías have blown past their career-high marks in innings pitched and looked exhausted? Is it Gavin Lux’s fault Steven Souza Jr. was forced to step into the batter’s box for one of the most important at-bats of the entire season?
Was this last highlight really an issue, though? It garnered a lot of attention and Urías was even caught on camera showing his frustrations, but the Dodgers ultimately lost 9-2. A score like that shows that Los Angeles’ issues run far deeper than an inexperienced center fielder.
The Dodgers will be watching the rest of the playoffs from the couch now and all they can do is hang their hat on having each other’s backs. Buehler’s response supporting Lux helped characterize how truly difficult the NLCS was for LA because so many things went wrong and it wasn’t fair to assess blame to one particular party.
Buehler knows, too, because the fact he unraveled in the fourth inning of Game 6 was one of the back-breaking difference makers in this series.