Los Angeles Dodgers

Dodgers on Brink of Elimination After 10-2 Blowout Loss to Braves in Game 4 of NLCS, LA Trails 3-1

The Los Angeles Dodgers are down 3-1 in the NLCS after a disastrous 10-2 blowout loss in Game 4.

League Championship - Los Angeles Dodgers v Atlanta Braves - Game Four
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

It started with a light breeze, but by the time first pitch rolled around, the robust wind had whipped the large American flag into a horizontal flurry of red and white stripes.

Perhaps the grey clouds overhead and the uncomfortably chilling conditions were an ominous sign from above that tonight would not be the best of nights for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

It was certainly not for Dodgers' ace Clayton Kershaw who wrote another chapter to his book of playoff misery.

"If you have a roof, I don't why you don't close it," said Kershaw about the gusty wind conditions. "It just seems like it was a little crazy enough that you might want to close the roof."

It wasn't an MLB record 11 runs, but it was enough to put the Dodgers on the brink of elimination after the Atlanta Braves scored six runs off Kershaw and the bullpen in the sixth inning.

When the dust finally settled on Game 4, the wind, and the Braves blew out the Dodgers, 10-2, giving Atlanta a 3-1 stranglehold on the best-of-seven National League Championship Series.

League Championship - Los Angeles Dodgers v Atlanta Braves - Game Four
Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers react against the Atlanta Braves during the sixth inning in Game Four of the National League Championship Series at Globe Life Field on October 15, 2020 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

If the Dodgers dreams of returning to the World Series are to become a reality, the inconsistent offense will need to resuscitate itself. Outside of a six-inning stretch between Games 2 and 3, the Dodgers have scored just three runs in 30 innings during the first four games of the series.

Part of that is paltry hitting, but the majority of credit belongs to the Braves starting pitching. Outside of a bump in the road in the first inning of Game 3, the Braves' starters have allowed just two runs in 26 innings in the series.

"They've pitched really well," Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts said about the Braves' starting pitchers. "You have to give those guys credit."

On Thursday night, it was rookie Bryse Wilson's turn to tame the Dodgers' bats. The 22-year-old became the third youngest pitcher in MLB history to pitch six or more innings allowing just one hit or fewer, and he did it in his postseason debut.

"He made pitches when he needed to," Roberts said of Wilson. "When we did hit balls hard we just didn't get any luck, that's baseball."

"Wow is about all I can say," said Braves' manager Brian Snitker. "Are you kidding me? That kid stepped up. He answered the question of how he would handle the situation. The kid hadn't pitched in three weeks. That was just an unbelievable job."

The one hit Wilson allowed came in the third inning off the bat of Edwin Rios. Rios homered against right-hander Kyle Wright in the first inning of Game 3, and Roberts decided to stay with the southpaw slugger at DH over Will Smith for Game 4.

Rios rewarded his manager by clobbering a 94MPH fastball from Wilson into the seats in right field to put the Dodgers in front 1-0.

As the game went into the fourth inning, the Fox Sports broadcasters were discussing Kershaw's postseason demons. As if on cue, Marcell Ozuna leveled the score with a home run off Kershaw. The solo shot was the 27th allowed in the three-time Cy Young Award winners postseason career, moving him into sole possession of second place for the most in MLB playoff history.

Ozuna would come back to haunt Kershaw again in the sixth inning, when he clocked an RBI double to left field that knocked the Dallas native out of the game.

"He gave us a chance to win the baseball game," Roberts said of Kershaw. "We didn't put up enough runs to hold the lead."

The Braves would string together seven total hits in the inning—four singles and three doubles—as they scored six runs to put the game out of reach.

"They build on momentum really well," said Kershaw of the Braves' hitters in that sixth inning. "They have that domino effect when things get going. They're a great team we just have to come back and win tomorrow."

Ozuna became just the second player in Braves history, and the first ever designated hitter in NL history to have a multi-homer game when he crushed a 434-foot solo shot off the batter's eye to put Atlanta up 8-2.

The Braves are just win away from advancing to the World Series for the first time since 1999.

Meanwhile the Dodgers, drained and dejected, now turn to 23-year-old Texas native Dustin May in Game 5, needing three victories in the next three days or else their season is over.

"It's tough," said Rios of the challenge ahead. "But we knew coming in today that we were going to have to win three games anyway. We only have three left. Now we need to go win them."

Game 5 of the best-of-seven NLCS is on Friday night at 6:08PM PT.

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