Down three games to one, Los Angeles has been overmatched by St. Louis from the get-go, and it's hard to imagine the Dodgers will win three straight games.
But momentum is fickle, and all it takes is one hit to start a rally.
The Dodgers are down, but this team is not yet out of this series. Here's what Los Angeles needs to do in order to climb out of this hole and earn a trip to the World Series.
Don Mattingly Must Make Better Decisions with Pitchers
First, Mattingly pulled Clayton Kershaw after six innings in Game 2, even though he'd only given up one run and the game was well within reach.
Never mind the team failed to score a single run. The decision was questionable—at best.
Then, in a must-win scenario, he rolls with Ricky Nolasco, who was barely a .500 pitcher this year. Zach Greinke—who was really good in a losing cause in Game 1—could have pitched on three days of rest, but Mattingly "didn't feel good about" starting him, as noted by Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register.
Mattingly doesn't have any more room for caution now, down 1-3.
He must make bolder—and better—decisions regarding his pitching staff, which happens to be one of the best in the league.
Dodgers Must Show Better Patience at Plate
St. Louis' pitching staff has been brilliant through four games, allowing just seven runs total and just four in its three wins. That averages out to under two runs a game, which is half the amount this team averaged during the regular season.
As we know, pitching tends to get better the later you get into the postseason, but Los Angeles' offense is better than this.
The Dodgers are pressing at the plate, trying to make something happen rather than letting the game come to them. There's been a distinct lack of discipline by this team's batters in this series, and St. Louis is taking advantage of their over-aggressive approach.
Bats Must Get Hot with Runners on Base
The Dodgers have been getting scoring opportunities all series long, but to this point nobody's doing much of anything with runners in scoring position.
Before finally breaking out with three RBI in Game 3, Los Angeles had only managed two RBI in the first two games.
This is a stark contrast to the high-scoring team that dominated the regular season. Jayson Stark of ESPN posted a staggering statistic during Game 4, noting the Dodgers had only managed to drive in four of 28 runners in scoring position in the series.
Yasiel Puig, Carl Crawford, Juan Uribe and Hanley Ramirez have let their team down in this series, but they can turn the team's frown upside down with a few big games.
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