LOS ANGELES -- Beating yourself is no way to win a pennant, and the Dodgers have done it twice after only three games of the National League Championship Series.:: NLCS schedule and results ::Walker Buehler was outpitched by Jhoulys Chacin, the Dodgers couldn't rally against Milwaukee's bullpen after giving away
LOS ANGELES -- Beating yourself is no way to win a pennant, and the Dodgers have done it twice after only three games of the National League Championship Series.
:: NLCS schedule and results ::
Walker Buehler was outpitched by Jhoulys Chacin, the Dodgers couldn't rally against Milwaukee's bullpen after giving away a run on defense and they generally made a mess of the 30th anniversary of Kirk Gibson's legendary home run in Monday's 4-0 loss at Dodger Stadium that put the Brewers back in charge of the best-of-seven series, 2-1.
"We sucked. That's why we lost," said Enrique Hernandez. "I think as a team we were a little bit flat tonight and it showed on the offensive side. The playoffs, you've got to want it. Today it just wasn't our day. We had no energy. The stadium had no energy. The fans had no energy. So overall it was a pretty bad day for everybody that calls themselves Dodgers. Tomorrow is another game."
Hernandez clarified, emphasizing that it was the players who set the listless tone, not the fans.
"I don't have an explanation for why some days we just don't have it as a team, like energy or whatever it is," he said. "But sometimes we can feed off the crowd. The fans here do a great job of showing up and packing the stadium every night and have a lot of passion for the game. But tonight for whatever reason I guess as contagious as energy can be from the fans to the players, it was from the players to the fans tonight."
The Dodgers offense had only five hits, struck out 14 times and went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position. It was the first time the Dodgers were shut out at home in the postseason since the 1983 NLCS against the Phillies. The last time they faced Chacin, the Dodgers scored nine runs (eight earned) in 4 1/3 innings and went on to a 21-5 blowout.
• "We just didn't hit": LA comes up empty in G3
The Dodgers went through several stretches this season when, if they didn't homer, they didn't win. One game isn't a stretch, but that summed up Game 3.
"Home runs aren't there, and when the home runs aren't there we've got to find a way to score," said Cody Bellinger. "Myself included, we have to have better at-bats. Tomorrow, we've got to come out swinging."
The Dodgers statistically had the starting pitching edge coming into the series, but the two best starts of the series have been thrown by Chacin and teammate Wade Miley.
"There's not an explanation for that," said Hernandez. "I think Miley had everything going for him and then tonight the quality of the at-bats just wasn't there."
So for the Dodgers, this looked too much like the Game 1 loss in Milwaukee, filled with unforced errors, only this time they weren't able to push across even one run in a ninth-inning bases-loaded rally against Jeremy Jeffress to boost their spirits.
"It's a matter of when we get in those spots we have to find a way to be productive," said manager Dave Roberts.
The Dodgers need to win three of the next four games for a repeat trip to the World Series and the odds are against them. In the history of best-of-seven series with the 2-3-2 format, teams that lost Game 3 at home to fall behind 2-1 have rallied to win the series nine of 36 times (25 percent). Specifically in the NLCS, teams that trail 2-1 have a 7-19 series record. The Dodgers are 4-11 all-time when trailing 2-1 in a best-of-seven series.
Buehler was given the ball at home after getting rattled for an inning in an NL Division Series loss in Atlanta. The rookie came out firing 99 mph bullets, allowing only one run over the first five innings, and a second run in the sixth inning after a misplay and wild pitch. Pushed to a seventh inning, he served up a crushing two-run homer on an outside fastball to unlikely hero Orlando Arcia that the wind helped blow into the right-field box seats after Erik Kratz doubled down the left-field line.
"Up until that seventh inning, I feel pretty good about it," said Buehler. "Kratz hit a slider down the line, like you're supposed to with that pitch. Arcia, made the pitch I wanted, and he clipped it."
Milwaukee scored in the first inning on a walk to Christian Yelich and a double by Ryan Braun and its second run in the sixth inning when Bellinger said he momentarily lost sight of Travis Shaw's fly ball off the center-field fence that went for a triple. Shaw scored on Buehler's wild pitch curveball that hit the back edge of the plate and ricocheted off catcher Yasmani Grandal, who later was charged with his third passed ball of the series.
"I know everybody's going to harp on Yaz, but the ball hit the plate," said Buehler. "Those are balls you can't control. That's on me as well."
After the game, however, Roberts said Austin Barnes would start Game 4 against Brewers left-hander Giovany Gonzalez in Game 4 tonight, with the Dodgers starting Rich Hill.
• Grandal benched for G4 after struggles in G3
In addition, Manny Machado committed a fielding error and torpedoed a potential rally when he was called for an illegal slide.
Machado reached base for the Dodgers in his second-inning at-bat with a single and his fourth-inning at-bat on a walk. Both times he was forced out at second base on a Bellinger bouncer. Both times Machado made contact with Arcia, pushing the Milwaukee shortstop's right leg with his right hand. Both times Brewers manager Craig Counsell complained to umpires.
The first time, there was no formal challenge. The second time Counsell asked for a review and the original call was overturned, going as a double play with Machado having violated the slide rule for hindering and impeding the fielder. That's better known as the Chase Utley rule, enacted after Utley's 2015 slide in the NLDS broke the leg of Mets infielder Ruben Tejada.
"They looked at the review and they got it right," said Roberts. "Because you do have to make a very good effort to hold on to the bag, and apparently we didn't."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Despite allowing a pair of runs in each of the first two games, Jeffress got the ball in the bottom of the ninth and immediately allowed a single to Justin Turner and double to Machado. After Bellinger popped up, Yasiel Puig walked to load the bases. But Grandal struck out for the third time in the game and pinch-hitter James Dozier was called out on strikes to end it.
Player Page for Max Muncy, Matt Kemp, Joc Pederson, Bellinger and Puig combined to hit 146 home runs in the regular season, but they've been blanked in these three games.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Puig prevented further damage in the eighth inning after Yelich's leadoff walk when Braun dropped a flare at Puig's feet in right field. Puig deked Yelich into freezing halfway between first and second, appearing to have a chance to catch the ball, then easily threw out Yelich at second base.
HE SAID IT
"We've got a right-handed bench at that time and Chacin has been very good against right-handers. And with the way that Walker was throwing the baseball, I felt we could get two more innings out of him." -- Roberts, on not batting for Buehler with one out in the bottom of the fifth after Grandal's leadoff double
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
In the bottom of the fourth inning after he led off with a walk, Machado was erased at second base on Bellinger's fielder's choice grounder and Bellinger beat the relay throw to first base. The Brewers challenged the call, claiming Machado violated the slide rule, and on review the original call was overturned and Machado was ruled to have hindered and impaired the fielder for a double-play.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.