Mighty Dodgers are reeling, frustrated after two walk-off NLCS wins for the Braves

ATLANTA — Mookie Betts gradually went out of the Los Angeles Dodgers clubhouse late Sunday night, hung a fast right, walked down the long passage at Truist Park towards the group bus and might still see Atlanta fans partying like it was 1999.

There was no anger, simply disappointment.

No reasons, simply regard and affection for the opposite.

Betts, the Dodgers’ All-Star outfielder and informal captain, would enjoy to state the Dodgers will recuperate from their spectacular 2-0 deficit in the National League Champion Series to the Braves.

However after what he simply experienced the previous two days, he wished to deal with truth, not dream.

The Braves are skilled. They might have won 18 less video games (106 to 88) than the Dodgers throughout the routine season — in an inferior department — however Betts is here to state they are barely a fluke.

“They’re excellent,” Betts said. “The Braves are really good. They’re getting timely hits. They got a really good offense.”

Atlanta provided back-to-back walk-off hits for the very first time in their postseason history given that the 1991 World Series.

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Atlanta Braves left fielder Eddie Rosario (8) celebrates his walk-off RBI against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the ninth inning in Game 2 of the NLCS.

Atlanta Braves left fielder Eddie Rosario (8) commemorates his walk-off RBI versus the Los Angeles Dodgers throughout the ninth inning in Video game 2 of the NLCS.

In Video Game 1, Austin Riley struck with a ninth-inning RBI single, and on Sunday, Eddie Rosario struck a run-scoring single with 2 outs in a 5-4 Braves victory.It was just the 4th time in postseason history that a group had walk-offs in the very first 2 video games of a postseason.

The Dodgers, who had a lead or were connected till the last at-bat in all however one inning, might quickly be up 2-0.

Rather, the series is headed to Dodger Arena starting Tuesday afternoon (5:08 p.m. ET, TBS), where the Dodgers need to beat Atlanta in 4 of the next 5 video games to protect their World Series title.

However, if they don’t unexpectedly begin striking, if they can’t get a hit in the clutch, if they can’t make a play in important scenarios, if they can’t get a shut-down ninth inning, it will be over with no requirement for a return flight to Atlanta.

“We got to strike, guy,’’ Betts stated. “That’s all it really is. Going to be hard to win playoff games scoring three or four runs.”

The popular story is that the Dodgers are mentally and physically tired after their grueling five-game NL Department Series versus the San Francisco Giants. Betts keeps in mind the days when the Boston Red Sox and New York City Yankees would go head-to-head for a weekend series, and after that take a week to recuperate.

Sorry, however it’s not the exact same, Betts stated. Sure, the Dodgers are physically tired, however to sob that they’re mentally drained pipes, he stated, would be discrediting Atlanta. Besides, you’re not going to win numerous video games producing 4 hits, stranding 17 baserunners in the series, while striking .111 with runners in scoring position.

“There ain’t no letdown,” Betts said. “Got to give credit to them boys, they’re playing really well. We’re not. … Not an excuse, but we haven’t had a break really. A day off. We’re constantly playing catch-up. But it is what it is. That’s what we signed up for.”

The Dodgers, beginning with their wild-card victory over the St. Louis Cardinals, have now played eight postseason video games in three different cities over the past 11 days, with only two off days.

“I just think it’s everything,” Dodgers third baseman Chris Taylor said. “It’s physically and mentally draining. These games, they’re long. The level of focus is a little different than regular-season games. That level of intensity is up there, especially the last game in San Francisco. …

“We’re tired, we’re ready to go home.’’

Meanwhile, Atlanta has played just two games in the last five days. They’ve slept in their own beds nine consecutive nights. And they’ve now won 4 consecutive postseason games and are two wins away from their first World Series appearance since 1999.

You know things are going their way when Freddie Freeman, the heart and soul of their franchise, can strike out seven consecutive times, go hitless in eight at-bats, and they keep winning.

“They’re deep,” Betts said. “They got Riley playing really, really well. Rosario. It’s all up and down the lineup, they’re finding ways to score runs. The arms are finding ways to put up zeroes. It’s part of it.

“They just apply pressure on us, over and over again, and we finally cracked.’’

The crack now looks as wide as the Grand Canyon with the Dodgers’ pitching in disarray. They out-smarted themselves Sunday: With a 4-2 lead in the eighth inning, they went to 20-game winner Julio Urias instead of a reliever. Urias blew the save, and instead of immediately turning to closer Kenley Jansen, they opened the eighth with Brusdar Graterol. The analytic spreadsheets went up in smoke when Rosario hit a 105-mph shot that clipped off the glove of shortstop Corey Seager into center field.

“Nine times out of 10 times, he makes that play,” Betts said. “It’s a tough play. It’s a tough play for anyone. It’s not Seager’s fault at all.”

Still, it’s a play that should have been made, and a lead that never should have been blown.

The Dodgers opened the game without third baseman Justin Turner in the starting lineup for the first time in 77 postseason games because of a stiff neck, and if the outlook couldn’t get worse, Dodgers ace Max Scherzer sounded like a man who might have thrown his last pitch of the season.

“My arm’s dead,” Scherzer said after throwing 79 pitches and lasting just 4 1/3 innings. “It wasn’t like I’m dealing with tendons or ligaments, just my arm was tired.’’

So now the Dodgers will go into Game 3 with a rested Walker Buehler on six days’ rest, but then must turn again to Urias for Game 4, who will have actually only two full days of rest. Then, if they get that far, a bullpen game with Corey Knebel in Game 5 … and who knows about Game 6, if the series even returns to Atlanta.

“Well, I think if you look at both clubs, as far as usage and leverage uses, they’re in the same position we are,” Roberts said. “But the thing is that they have got a two-game lead in the series.’’

And a rested veteran starter in Charlie Morton in Game 3, perhaps a bullpen game in Game 4, ace Max Fried in Game 5, and, if needed, Ian Anderson in Game 6 and Morton in Game 7.

The series could be over soon, with the Dodgers’ only advantage that they have beaten Atlanta in seven consecutive video games and 10 of the last 11 at Dodger Stadium.

And, if they want to play psychological warfare, Atlanta was in this same situation a year ago and blew a 3-1 lead to the Dodgers. But that NLCS was played in a bubble during the pandemic, with neither team traveling or having home-field advantage.

Different times, various teams and certainly different momentum shifts.

“I’m not shocked by what they’re doing,” Scherzer said. “I mean, this has always been a tough hitting lineup. This lineup, from top to bottom, they can put the bat to the ball and they can do great things.”

If it wasn’t painful enough for the Dodgers to watch Atlanta get the last laugh for the last 2 nights, it was former Dodger Joc Pederson who delivered a key two-run homer in the fourth inning. And in the American League, it’s former Dodger Kike’ Hernandez who has produced a record 13 hits in the last four postseason video games.

The Dodgers let them walk without offering them a free-agent contract.

“Obviously, I’ve been a part of the Dodgers for a long time and they’re a really good team and organization,” Pederson said. “But right now, they’re in the way of our common goal.’’

The goal is simple, as heard over and over at Truist Park all weekend.

“Beat LA!”

Follow Nightengale on Twitter: @Bnightengale

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Braves have Dodgers reeling in NLCS after 2 stroll-off wins, huge lead

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.