Three keys for Dodgers in Game 2 against Cardinals
LOS ANGELES -- After their stunning loss in Game 1 of the best-of-five National League Division Series, the Dodgers must regroup to salvage a split at home in Game 2 and will send 17-game winner Zack Greinke against Lance Lynn.
Game 2 will be Saturday (6:30 p.m. PT on MLB Network) at Dodger Stadium. What follows are the three most important elements to a Dodgers victory:
1. Short memory: Before the Dodger Stadium parking lots had emptied, the Dodgers were already trying to rebound from their head-spinning Game 1 loss by drawing from their two September series against the rival Giants, in which they lost the two openers and followed up with two wins to capture both series. And it's a fact that the Dodgers have been pretty good shaking off tough losses, which is at least partially responsible for never having a losing streak longer than three games this year. Of course, the nine runs they scored were a franchise record for a postseason loss and the 16 hits tied the club mark for a postseason loss.
2. Keep hitting: One bright spot noted by several Dodgers after Game 1 was the continued production of the offense, continuing a trend that developed through the month of September. The prevailing opinion by the hitters was that if they can score nine runs in a game started by Adam Wainwright, they should be able to provide some support for Greinke in Game 2 against Lynn. The Dodgers produced as many runs with the bottom part of the batting order as the top part and they managed nine runs with leadoff hitter Dee Gordon going 0-for-5. The Dodgers will take their chances with nine runs for Greinke, although they would have said that about Kershaw.
3. Better bullpen: For all of the hand-wringing over Kershaw's implosion, the Dodgers would have won Game 1 if rookie right-hander Pedro Baez hadn't allowed a three-run homer to Matt Holliday that provided just enough insurance to withstand the last-gasp of the Dodgers' offense. They already know their eighth-inning setup situation is dicey, which might have contributed to manager Don Mattingly leaving Kershaw in long enough to squander a five-run lead. So not only do the Dodgers need Greinke to give a lead to the back end of the relief corps, but they need a bridge to get a lead to closer Kenley Jansen. Of course, the Cardinals bullpen allowed three runs in Game 1, so they have company.