The Los Angeles Dodgers have fallen in an 0-2 hole in the National League Championship Series against the Atlanta Braves.
The 2020 World Series champions have the potential to quickly turn things around, though.
For that to happen, however, these three players need to have a great series.
3. Justin Turner
After homering against the St. Louis Cardinals in the Wild Card Game, Justin Turner has had a postseason to forget.
He only had one hit in 22 plate appearances against the San Francisco Giants in the NLDS, and so far, he also has a single hit in five plate appearances in the Championship Series.
Because of his struggles, he has lost some playing time at third base.
Justin Turner is practically batting 0fer in every game.
We finally got a Trea appearance tonight but he's been just as unreliable.
Mookie is either all in or ice cold.
Wll Smith only hits solo shots.
Seager is usually a no show.
The entire bench is useless.#Dodgers
— Joseph Rojas (@RIPChunnel) October 17, 2021
The Dodgers need all the offense they can get because several top hitters are cold at the moment.
One of them is Turner, which is odd considering he is a top postseason performer (.277/.374/.480, 13 home runs, .854 OPS) and he played well in the regular season (.278/.361/.471, 27 home runs, 87 RBI, .832 OPS).
The series has been dominated by pitching: it’s time for the bats, and Turner specifically, to show up.
2. Blake Treinen
Blake Treinen was the definition of a shutdown reliever during the 2021 regular season.
He had a pristine 1.99 ERA in 72.1 frames with the Dodgers, with 25 walks, 85 strikeouts, and a boatload of groundballs.
His sinker/slider combination is as deadly as it comes.
The Dodgers, a team that trusts its relievers perhaps like no other in MLB, really needs the best version of Treinen to fend off the Braves.
We have already seen how close these games are, both of them decided by one run and one, Game 1, lost by Treinen.
He needs to be very, very stingy for the Dodgers to have a chance.
He hasn’t been bad against Atlanta, but after having a 2.70 ERA versus the Giants in the NLDS by virtue of pitching 3.1 innings with only one run allowed, no walks, and five strikeouts, he is at 6.75 against the Braves.
The sample size is tiny, of course, but of the six batters he has faced in the NLCS, three have reached base.
Los Angeles needs an elite, filthy Treinen.
1. Mookie Betts
Mookie Betts is the Dodgers’ best player, and it may not be particularly close.
Also, it should be noted that Betts isn’t on this list because he is playing badly.
To the contrary, he has been a star: he had a 1.055 OPS against the Giants, and his postseason as a whole has been a success.
‣ Mookie Betts: .387/.429/.484, 12 Hits (2nd MLB)
‣ Will Smith: 1.145 OPS, 3 HR (2nd MLB)
‣ Chris Taylor: .979 OPS, 1 HR, 3 2B. pic.twitter.com/C5EBbept35
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) October 18, 2021
And despite his .476 OPS in the young NLCS, he has contributed two runs, two walks, and two stolen bases already.
But the Dodgers, who haven’t been displaying their offensive potential against the Braves in the early stages of the series, need their bats to inflict more damage.
And naturally, more is expected out of Betts.
The good thing for Los Angeles is that Betts always finds ways to contribute: in the batter’s box, on the field, with his arm, or on the basepaths.
But if the Dodgers are serious about making a comeback, they need more thump from Betts because the run-production in Los Angeles is currently scarce.