LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – After winning seven-straight elimination games entering Saturday, the Dodgers’ run came to an end. There will be no back-to-back World Series titles for the City of Los Angeles.
The Braves defeated the Dodgers 4-2 in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series at Truist Park in Atlanta.
Los Angeles was forced to start right hander Walker Buehler on three days rest after scheduled starter Max Scherzer was scratched due to arm fatigue.
Buehler pitched solid until surrendering a three-run homer with two outs to Eddie Rosario, who torched Dodgers pitching the entire series with 14 hits.
Down 4-2 in the seventh inning, the Boys In Blue had an opportunity to tie the game with runners in scoring position (RISP) and no outs. However, Atlanta relief pitcher Tyler Matzek struck out three straight Dodger hitters to end the inning. Overall, the Dodgers went 2-for-10 with RISP in Game 6.
With a plethora of questions to answer as the team heads into the offseason, let’s look back at some takeaways from this season.
The Dodgers Probably Overachieved
The Dodgers had their fair share of adversity during the season and postseason. It all began when right hander and rising star Dustin May underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery in May. That was a huge blow to the Dodgers’ rotation.
In June, the team placed right hander Trevor Bauer on administrative leave after a woman accused him of assault. Bauer, the 2020 NL Cy Young Award winner who signed with the Dodgers in the offseason, went 8-5 with a 2.59 ERA in 17 starts.
Later in the season, the team lost Clayton Kershaw, who did not pitch in the postseason. To make matters worse, Los Angeles lost slugger Max Muncy to a shoulder laceration in the final game of the regular season.
Muncy hit .249 with 36 HR, 94 RBI during the regular season.
Decision Making Burned Out Pitching Staff
With the Dodgers missing several key starters, manager Dave Roberts and team president Andrew Friedman were forced to consider all possible options to survive and advance.
In Game 5 of the NLDS, the team trotted out Scherzer in the bottom of the ninth inning to protect the lead and send Los Angeles to the NLCS.
The plan ultimately worked. But it backfired in Game 2 of the NLCS, when Scherzer exited after 4 1/3 innings pitched. Afterwards, Scherzer mentioned to reporters that he felt like his “arm was dead.”
As a result, Scherzer, who will become a free agent, did not pitch another inning for the Dodgers.
In addition, Julio Urías struggled in Game 4 of the series after entering in the eighth inning of Game 2. After surrendering a pair of runs in Game 2, Urías gave up five runs in Game 4.
Buehler, who pitched twice this postseason on three days rest, did not perform as he has in previous postseasons.
In four starts, Buehler had a 4.91 ERA in 2021, compared to a 1.80 ERA in 2020.
Dodgers Roster Next Season Could Look A Lot Different
It will be a busy offseason for Friedman & Co.
There are a handful of players that will be entering the offseason as free agents: Corey Seager, Chris Taylor, Kenley Jansen, Kershaw and Scherzer, among others.
It is still way too early to tell who will return and who will leave.
But sooner or later, the team’s front office will have to decide who it’s willing to pay and who it’s willing to let walk away.
“The six years I’ve been here, it’s been a core group of guys that could be turned over this winter,” Roberts said after Game 6. “I’m not looking forward to it. I wish we could have won another one with this group.”