Baserunning blunder by Chris Taylor in ninth inning dooms Dodgers in NLCS opener



ATLANTA — Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Chris Taylor has provided some noteworthy moments throughout this postseason. Many remember his game-winning heroics against the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Wild Card game.

Taylor kept the Dodgers playoff hopes alive with a walk-off home run. It was the highest of emotions one can have in sports.

However, it only takes one moment to reverse those goodwill feelings. In Game 1 of the National League Championship Series against the Atlanta Braves, Taylor made a critical baserunning mistake in the ninth inning.

Taylor was caught in a rundown after rounding second base. He strayed too far away from the base and was left in limbo. The Braves tagged Taylor out to thwart a potential late-inning rally.

NLCS Game 1: Dodgers left fielder Chris Taylor is tagged out by Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson to end the top of the ninth inning.

NLCS Game 1: Dodgers left fielder Chris Taylor is tagged out by Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson to end the top of the ninth inning.

The play was a pivotal moment. The Braves capitalized with a game-winning RBI single from Austin Riley and walked away with a 3-2 victory.

“It was just a bad read,” Taylor told reporters after the game. “I saw it barely got over (Ozzie) Albies’ head, and I thought I could get to third. I didn’t realize Joc (Pederson) had it that quick and tried to stop. I should have kept going.”

Taylor went 2-for-3 in the game. He drove in the Dodgers first run with an RBI single in the second inning. He also doubled to begin the seventh inning. The Dodgers couldn’t drive him in as Braves reliever Tyler Matzek did a masterful job of pitching out of trouble.

For all his great work, Taylor’s baserunning mistake will be a main headline. Mistakes are magnified in the playoffs as most decide a game.

“I thought if he would have kept going, he might have had a chance at third, I thought,” Braves third baseman Austin Riley said. “But that was a great play by Dansby. Just being able to get out of that inning there was huge.”

Taylor wondered too far at a pivotal time. It was an in-between judgement call and one that didn’t go in the Dodgers favor.

“You know, I think by the book he should have probably stayed,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said in his postgame press conference. “I think it was hit softly. It was kind of towards the gap, and so I felt that he thought he had a good read on it.

“It’s kind of one of those where you got to pick. You either are going to go hard, and I don’t know if Joc (Pederson) would have thrown to third right there and just conceded that base, or just hold up and two outs and give Mookie (Betts) a chance. But I think right there he was kind of caught in between. That’s kind of when you get in trouble.”

Taylor has a chance to make amends Sunday. The Dodgers need to win Game 2 to avoid heading home in a two-game deficit. Baseball is a game of ebbs and flows. There is ample opportunity for Taylor to bounce back on the diamond.

The question is whether Taylor and the Dodgers can respond after a tough loss to open the series.

Game 2 will be back at Truist Park. The probable pitching matchup feature Max Scherzer against Ian Anderson with first pitch scheduled for 7:38 p.m. ET.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Chris Taylor’s baserunning mistake dooms Dodgers in NLCS opener


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