The Los Angeles Dodgers put up a good fight, but it wasn’t enough to extend their season as they were eliminated with a 4-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series.
Fatigue evidently caught up with the club as Max Scherzer was unable to make his scheduled start due to what he described as a “dead arm.” It stemmed from converting a save against the San Francisco Giants and then pitching again on two days’ rest.
With Scherzer unavailable, Walker Buehler was asked to start on short rest for a second time this postseason. He was mostly ineffective, allowing four runs and seven hits over four innings of work, including a back-breaking three-run home run to Eddie Rosario.
Along with Scherzer and Buehler, Julio Urias did not find much success when pitching on short rest in the playoffs. L.A. also had to rely on several bullpen games as a result of Clayton Kershaw sustaining a forearm injury at the end of the regular season.
“I think that’s part of it,” Chris Taylor said of fatigue and injuries playing a part in the Dodgers’ postseason elimination. “Every postseason it seems like stuff like that happens, guys sacrifice.
“Walker pitching on short rest, Julio and Scherz pitching in between starts by coming out of the ‘pen. That stuff does tax you a little bit, but sometimes those are the sacrifices necessary when you’re here. We’ve done that in the past and it’s worked for us.”
The Dodgers lineup similarly was plagued by a late-season injury to Max Muncy and Justin Turner going down with a Grade 2 left hamstring strain in Game 4. “Losing Muncy, that obviously was a huge loss,” Taylor began.
“One of the best hitters in the league, the at-bat quality he gives, pressure he puts on pitchers, maybe the best strike zone discipline, that was huge. We had a few more guys, J.T. being out of the lineup and not having his presence.
“I think injuries are part of the game and I think any team can look back at the end of the year and say, ‘Oh, this guy got hurt.’ They were playing without Acuña and Giants were playing without Belt, so I don’t think we can use that as an excuse. Every team is going to have injuries over the season and postseason.”
Taylor credits Braves
After Mookie Betts credited the Braves for a hard-fought series and conceding that it’s tough to repeat as World Series champions, Taylor echoed the same sentiments. “It’s tough. We always have a target on our back and we know we’re going to get the other team’s best,” Taylor said.
“It’s difficult. I think we had every opportunity. We rose to the occasion against the Giants; that was a huge series win. We battled them all year and being able to beat them at their place in Game 5, Scherzer coming in, that was huge.
“You’ve got to give credit to the Braves. They beat us. I don’t know if we got spent. We gave it all we had all year long. It was a little different than previous years, where we had a good lead. We were going hard the whole season, and it was tough.”
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