LOS ANGELES – The theatrics weren’t quite the same Friday night at Dodger Stadium, but the result was. The Braves pounced on another Dodger starter in Julio Urias to cruise to a three run win despite another late rally.
Julio Urias did not have it again in game two as another starter for this staff could not hold down this potent Braves lineup. He went five innings, giving up nine hits, five runs, and three home runs to earn the loss. While the bullpen did well for the second night in a row, the starting pitching is what got the Dodgers into another insurmountable deficit. Julio Urias had a 2.03 ERA over five games from late July through August, but has now allowed eleven runs over his last two starts. This team needs not just Urias, but the entire starting pitching staff to figure it out against this dangerous Braves offense.
It was not the same kind of game for the offense in the second game either. With all of the electricity in the stadium from the game before and the wild comeback that almost turned into a win for the Dodgers, it looked like they lacked fight for the first seven innings in game two. We have seen this before, and it is something that Dodger fans hate to be reminded about, but in the 2022 NLDS just last year, the offense went missing. I completely understand that this team is facing a Braves squad that sports the best record in all of baseball, but to allow Max Fried to strike out ten hitters over seven innings is unacceptable.
In the 8th inning, the Dodgers did put together a mini rally to get the tying run to the plate thanks to Kolten Wong’s three-run home run in his first at-bat as a Dodger. That was the sole inning that there was any fight or direction for the offense, and with a series this big during Lakers Night, it was a lackluster showing for a team that wants to advance deep into the playoffs.
The Dodgers are now 83-51 and 13 ½ games up in the National League West.
Here are my three takeaways:
Kolten Wong Blasts A Home Run In First At-Bat
Kolten Wong had two home runs total in his time with the Seattle Mariners this year, and after he was released, the Dodgers picked him up and started working on his swing. He ended up hitting at a very high clip in the minor leagues and warranted a call up just today for his first game with the club. So, of course, what did he do? He hit a three-run blast to right field to get the Dodgers right back in the game, very reminiscent of Mookie Betts’ home run Thursday night. Wong credits an adjustment in his approach and swing for the success, and it will be cool to see him fill in down the stretch.
Julio Urias Struggles Again
Unfortunately for the Dodgers, it looks like Julio Urias is having an issue with consistency. Like I mentioned previously, after an excellent five game stretch where you can see an improvement in Urias’ performance, he has put together back-to-back underwhelming starts. This one in particular hurts, because this was a true test as to how he can look in a matchup in the playoffs. Let’s not forget that Urias was the Dodgers #1 starter in the postseason last year, and in one start gave the Dodgers a solid outing. However, if he continues to struggle this year, we may see him converted to a dominant reliever like he was in the 2020 playoffs.
Laker Night At Dodger Stadium
In some positive news, the Dodgers hosted “Laker Night,” with a focus on Kobe Bryant. Natalia Bryant threw out the first pitch and was greeted by all players wearing different versions of Kobe Bryant jerseys pre-game. The entire Bryant family made an appearance and even after the game, there was a drone show that showcased Kobe and the Lakers.
The Dodgers will use an opener against Bryce Elder for the Braves Saturday. First pitch is set for 6:10 PM PST.