A big win in Game 2 on Saturday night tied the NLDS up for the Los Angeles Dodgers and sent them to St. Louis with some momentum.
After a heartbreaking loss on Friday, the Dodgers almost fell to the same fate when they relinquished a 2-0 lead in the top of the eighth, but Matt Kemp saved the day with a solo home run in the bottom half to give his team the lead and eventual victory.
Hyun-Jin Ryu takes the mound for Game 3 against right-hander John Lackey at Busch Stadium. We take a look at the Dodgers three keys to victory:
1. Offense Must Continue To Score Early
In Game 1, the Dodgers led 6-1 in the early innings and in Game 2 they led 2-0. Though they gave up the lead in both games, the offense will need to continue to score runs early and give Hyun-Jin Ryu a sense of comfortability on the mound. Ryu will be coming off three weeks of rest and an early lead can help him settle down.
Lackey owns an impressive record in the postseason, but is coming off a 4.30 ERA in his 10 starts with the Cardinals. He will be facing a Dodger offense that led the league in hitting with runners in scoring position this season. Swinging the bats early will go a long way in taking a series lead.
2. Ryu Must Go Deep Into The Game
Ryu has not pitched since September 12, meaning that he has plenty of rest for his left arm. Earlier in the season, the second-year starter missed three weeks only to return to throw six innings and allow two runs. Manager Don Mattingly said that Ryu will not have any limits tonight, meaning he can go as long as he is effective.
The Dodger bullpen has allowed a three-run home run and a two-run home run in the later innings already, and that makes it tough on Mattingly to decide what to do when Ryu comes near the end. If the 27-year-old can give the team at least six innings, it will be a huge help to keeping the score down.
3. Dodgers Must Do What They Did All Season
The Dodgers finished the year with the best road record in the entire MLB and will be playing their first road game in the postseason. Although the playoffs are a different ballgame, the NL West champions seemed to have no trouble playing away from Chavez Ravine this year.
Their offense led the NL in runs scored and batting average on the road, while their pitching staff had the third-lowest ERA away from home. This season the Dodgers dropped two of three in St. Louis earlier in the year, but should be able to bring in their “road warrior” mentality for a win.