Dodgers hope hits catch up with quality at-bats

Club confident in approach at plate, but desperately seeking elusive clutch knock

Dodgers hope hits catch up with quality at-bats

LOS ANGELES -- Even when Clayton Kershaw's back blew out and the Dodgers fell eight games out of first place, they weren't up against it like they are now -- one loss from elimination after falling to the Nationals on Monday, 8-3, in Game 3 of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium.

Now they must find a way to get their offense going while facing elimination in Tuesday's Game 4 (2 p.m. PT/5 p.m. ET on FS1). It has the capability.

"The only way to approach it is to give it all we have," said Adrian Gonzalez. "We'll go out there, be ready to attack strikes and leave it all out there."

Game Date Matchup Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 7 LAD 4, WAS 3 video
Gm 2 Oct. 9 WSH 5, LAD 2 video
Gm 3 Oct. 10 WAS 8, LAD 3 video
Gm 4 Oct. 11 LAD 6, WAS 5 video
Gm 5 Oct. 13 LAD 4, WSH 3 video

In losses Sunday in Washington and Monday at home, all they had wasn't enough. The Dodgers liked the setup for this series against a team they had beaten this summer five out of six times, an opponent with a right-handed-heavy starting rotation and key players Daniel Murphy and Bryce Harper nicked up.

But it hasn't gone their way. After holding on to beat Max Scherzer in Game 1, they roughed up but couldn't beat righty Tanner Roark or lefty Gio Gonzalez, and they haven't scored in 12 1/3 innings against the Nationals' bullpen.

The Dodgers are starting Kershaw in Game 4 and rookie Julio Urias in Game 5, if necessary. The offense has slowed to a clip of three runs a game, a .220 average and .664 OPS. They must find a way to turn those numbers around and get to Urias' start.

"I thought we did a good job against Gio," said Corey Seager, who added an RBI double in this game to the first-inning homers he hit in the first two games. "Their bullpen's tough. They've been tough on us all series, so it's one of those things -- we haven't gotten to them yet. Hopefully we can in the next few days.

"We've missed the big hit in the last two games. It happens. We've got to move on. Tomorrow we've got to find that big hit. Somebody's got to step up for us."

Seager's RBI double

The Dodgers were 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position, after going 1-for-9 on Sunday and 1-for-5 on Friday.

"You've just got to come out and put up runs tomorrow," said Adrian Gonzalez, who is 2-for-13 with no extra-base hits or RBIs in the series. "There's no other way about it. Focus on tomorrow, one game at a time. Put good swings out there tomorrow. Today, they had the better hits. They swung the bats well today, and we just didn't do enough. For the most part today, they executed better.

"These are the playoffs. The energy's there. The want and anything that needs to be there, is there. It's just a matter of getting it done."

The Dodgers had four players slug at least 25 home runs this year -- Seager, Justin Turner, Yasmani Grandal and Joc Pederson. Turner has one to go with Seager's two this postseason, but Grandal is hitting .182 without an extra-base hit, and Pederson is hitting .222 without an extra-base hit.

The Dodgers, 22-24 in games started by left-handed pitchers this year, had 12 of 13 batters retired by Gio Gonzalez between Seager's double and a single by Pederson that was followed by pinch-hitter Carlos Ruiz's pinch-hit home run.

Ruiz's pinch-hit two-run smash

But that brought on the Nationals' bullpen, which allowed only two singles and a walk over the final 4 2/3 innings with five strikeouts.

Manager Dave Roberts said he couldn't complain about at-bat quality.

"I thought there were some good at-bats in there," he said. "You know, again, I think that we hit some balls, we squared up some baseballs, and you know, right at those guys. It could have been a different game."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.