It’s October, huh? That means spooky season has arrived for Dodgers fans, with ghosts and ghouls manifesting not as skulls and blood, but rather as Mookie Betts standing on second base with nobody to move him.
“You’re looking for a hit with runners and scoring position?” he said, all the color draining from his face. “We haven’t seen that around these parts in 40 years…”
LA’s 5-3 loss in Game 2 of the NLDS vs the Padres, a mirror image of their inspiring Game 1 win by the same score, was so packed with confusion, poor pinch-hitting decisions, and wayward geese by the end that it was easy to forget all the lamentable failures that could’ve changed the game’s trajectory earlier.
Yes, Chris Taylor would’ve been a better fit than Austin Barnes late in the game. Yes, Blake Treinen could’ve used a softer landing for his 2022 playoff debut. But all these points would be extremely moot if the Dodgers had only gone, say, 1-for-8 with RISP instead of a crisp 0-for-8.
And this is, believe it or not, not the first time fans have experienced such a sudden offensive cratering in October. You can set your calendars to this annual tradition.
Dodgers fans angry over RISP failures vs Padres in NLDS Game 2
Oh, and parents, make sure to check your children’s Halloween candy. We just found a noxious Austin Barnes late-game pinch-hitting appearance in there.
These 111-win Dodgers were supposed to be different from every Dodgers team that came before them. They were supposed to run over the Padres, a “division rival” they went 14-5 against during the regular season.
And yet, somehow, fans were left praying for something, anything, with runners in scoring position and Trea Turner at the plate late in Game 2.
Ask, and ye shall not receive, apparently.
In the sixth inning, things were at their most egregious. Most RISP opportunities sit on tenterhooks. The pitcher tightens. The batter clenches. Every move feels triply important.
The sixth, though, should’ve been easy. Runners on the corners, no outs for Justin Turner and Gavin Lux? Bring on any reliever.
Well … about that … whiff, double play, and the only two things that can’t happen happened.
If it makes you feel any better, the Dodgers appear to have gotten relatively unlucky with runners in scoring position in the sixth, seventh and eighth.
What’s that? Doesn’t make you feel better at all? Life still feels meaningless and the air feels thick with ghouls? Got it.
At the very least, this isn’t entirely shocking. The 10 men left on base have returned for Dodgers fans in October like a warm blanket, leaving the entire fan base feeling like James Franco in a noose, turning to the side to ask, “First time?”
Welcome back, indeed.
The Dodgers and Padres are back in action Friday, when LA’s lineup attempts to work the count against Blake Snell and get him out of there early.
On the bright side, Snell is definitely a pitcher who can create his own mischief if the Dodgers force his hand.
On the dark side, this is Dodgers playoff baseball, and it could easily look exactly like Game 2. Happy haunting!