Dodgers frustrations boil over in Game 3 loss: 'We had no energy. We sucked'

All these wins later, 96 of them in fact, and we don’t still don’t know what to make of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Are they the baseball mega-power that has won six straight division titles and looks dangerous enough at times to run through the postseason bracket in October? Or are they the team that needed a Game 163 to lock down their division after a season of stumbling in the standings?

Are they the deep-lineup’d October vets who dispatched the Atlanta Braves in convincing fashion? Or are they this team that we saw suffocate Monday night in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series against the Milwaukee Brewers?

We know who they are right now, on this night, a team that needs to play up to its pedigree or face a long vacation in a short time. The Brewers’ 4-0 win gave them a 2-1 lead in the series and left the Dodgers feeling deflated.

Case in point, the way Kiké Hernández was talking after the Dodgers’ loss, made it seem like they’d just been eliminated and not facing a 2-1 deficit in a best-of-seven series. He blamed his team. He blamed the energy in the stadium. He even blamed fans. But at the end, he made it clear: The Dodgers sucked in Game 3.

None of that is what you want to hear — especially what disappointed fans want to hear about the first L.A. game of the series. But Hernández is right about the Dodgers’ poor performance. And most of the blame goes squarely on the players.

The Dodgers had five hits, but weren’t much of a threat to score until the ninth inning, when they loaded the bases with one out and then — as they did all night — wasted the opportunity. Three times, they started innings with a runner on base and couldn’t build rallies.

Twice, Manny Machado got on base to lead off an inning and Cody Bellinger followed by grounding into near double plays. One was ruled a double play because of Machado’s rule-breaking slide into second. The other was broken up by a Machado slide and Bellinger’s speed, but still amounted to nothing.

I think we were 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said after the game. “And one part of it is creating scoring opportunities. We had a second and third, one out. We had a lead-off double. And we couldn’t push them across. So in games like this, things like that get exploited. I definitely don’t think it’s the personnel. It’s a matter of when we get in those spots we have to find a way to be productive.”

In the fifth, the Dodgers also squandered a lead-off double by Yasmani Grandal, who had another tough night behind the plate, allowing a passed ball and not stopping a Walker Buehler wild pitch that brought home a run. Grandal also struck out with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, as he represented the game’s tying run.

Add that to his struggles in Game 1 and he was not the most popular man in Dodger Stadium. Grandal was booed by the hometown fans, something that Hernandez took exception to — another example of the team’s frustrations boiling over.

As for Grandal himself? This response won’t win back any fans who cursed his name.

The Dodgers will go to Austin Barnes at catcher in Game 4 instead of Grandal according to Roberts, which is a necessary change at this point. But they’ll need to do more than that. They’ll need to wake up their offense and move runners around the bases before the last few innings of the game. Even their win in this series came on an eighth-inning homer.

They’ll need to jump on Brewers starter Gio Gonzalez and tax Milwaukee’s bullpen. They’ll need that deep list of home-run hitters in their dugout to put pressure on Milwaukee instead of the other way around. And they’ll need to do it quick, before we learn for sure what kind of team the Dodgers are.

Because if they don’t fix things, they could be the kind of team that goes home in a couple days.

Los Angeles Dodgers’ Enrique Hernandez reacts after striking out during the seventh inning of Game 3 of the National League Championship Series baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers Monday, Oct. 15, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae Hong)
Los Angeles Dodgers’ Enrique Hernandez reacts after striking out during the seventh inning of Game 3 of the National League Championship Series baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers Monday, Oct. 15, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae Hong)

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Mike Oz is a writer at Yahoo Sports. Contact him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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