LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers could not hit the starter they crushed the last time they faced him at Dodger Stadium. They could not KO the reliever they clobbered two days ago in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series.It left them frustrated following a 4-0 loss on Monday
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers could not hit the starter they crushed the last time they faced him at Dodger Stadium. They could not KO the reliever they clobbered two days ago in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series.
It left them frustrated following a 4-0 loss on Monday night in Game 3, in which they went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
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"There's not an explanation for that," Dodgers second baseman Enrique Hernandez said about the team's surprising lack of success against Brewers starters this series.
Brewers right-hander Jhoulys Chacin allowed three hits in 5 1/3 scoreless innings. He walked two and struck out six. He fared far worse on Aug. 2 at Dodger Stadium. In fact, the Dodgers hit him so hard in 4 1/3 innings that Brewers position players Hernan Perez and Erik Kratz pitched the final two innings in a 21-5 loss. Chacin allowed nine runs that day. He served up three home runs.
But Chacin changed things up Monday.
Actually, he just played to his strength. He threw a ton of sliders. The Dodgers knew he would throw a bunch. He threw his slider 44.7 percent of the time during the regular season, which was the highest rate of any pitcher in baseball (minimum 2,000 pitches).
But Chacin upped his slider usage even more, which became a problem for an offense that had hit just .038 (1-for-26) against the pitch this postseason. It became even more of a problem because Chacin found himself ahead in the count a lot, meaning the Dodgers did not find themselves in many fastball counts. Chacin threw 55 percent sliders in Game 3 compared to 46 percent on Aug. 2. He threw 61 percent sliders to left-handers in Game 3 compared to 43 percent on Aug. 2.
Yasmani Grandal's bloop double down the left-field line in the fifth inning was the only hit Chacin allowed against a batter from the left side.
"We missed the ball, he made his pitches, we just didn't hit," Player Page for Max Muncy said. "With that slider, even if he missed it over the plate, it's still a tough pitch. Not at any point is it a good pitch to swing at. He knows that, too. That's why he throws a lot of it."
"His ball was moving all over the place," Cody Bellinger added.
But the Dodgers lamented the fact that they could not manufacture any runs, acknowledging that they cannot always wait on home runs to come.
They had opportunities. Manny Machado hit a leadoff single in the second. He worked a leadoff walk in the fourth. Grandal's double started the fifth and Justin Turner reached on a two-base error with one out in the sixth. But only one base runner reached third base until the ninth inning.
In the ninth, the Dodgers loaded the bases with one out against Brewers right-hander Jeremy Jeffress, who had served up the game-winning, two-run moonshot to Turner in Game 2. Jeffress has been on the mound for eight of the 11 runs the Brewers have allowed in the postseason.
He struck out Grandal and James Dozier to end the game.
"We had opportunities, we've got to take full advantage of it," Bellinger said. "We've still got a lot of room left to improve."
But they don't have a lot of time to do it.
Todd Zolecki has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.