The Atlanta Braves have shown in the NLCS that there is no quit in their game. Their resolve will be put to the test following a painful 6-5 loss in Game 3. Atlanta was five outs away from taking a 3-0 lead in the series, but Cody Bellinger hit a three-run home run in the eighth inning off of Luke Jackson that erased a 5-2 lead and tied the game. Mookie Betts doubled home Chris Taylor two batters later to give the Dodgers a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
“Sad thing is I would do the same thing again,” Jackson said when asked about the 1-2 fastball to Bellinger. “I was trying to throw a fastball up and away. I actually threw it better than I thought I threw it,” Jackson added. “Out of my hand, I was like, Oh, that’s a ball. It’s too high. And no it wasn’t too high. It was, you know. A good player, put a good swing on it and pretty remarkable.”
Jackson missed with a slider to begin the at-bat. He came right back with another that Bellinger swung through. He then blew a 97 mph fastball by him for strike two. Perhaps a down and in slider would have been a better choice but you can see what Jackson was trying to do. The 96 mph fastball was up and out of the strike zone but Bellinger was able to get the barrel to it.
“Yeah, he probably wanted to, if he was going up, go up a little higher. It happens,” Brian Snitker said of the pitch.
With Game 4 coming up Wednesday, the Braves won’t have long to dwell on the loss and will need to put it behind them quickly. Jackson thinks their past postseason experiences will help them do that.
“I think my first years when I was here we were kind of young in the playoffs,” Jackson said. “I think when I got over here we had a hundred-loss season almost and going to the playoffs feeling overmatched, going to the playoffs again feeling, rough one against St. Louis, and then get more last year, all the way to Game 7 here. Now being here again, I think everyone’s got a little comfortability and knows that we can compete and we’re a great team and we got a great bond together in the clubhouse and I think that pulls real hard.”
As a reliever who is often in high leverage spots, it is important that Jackson have a short memory. The moment wasn’t lost on him, but all they can do now is regroup and try to find a way to get another win.
“It hurts. We lost the game because I made a couple bad pitches that, you know, some days are outs and some days they’re home runs,” Jackson said. “This is just, you know, a speed bump in the road and I wish it didn’t happen and I wish we were up 3-0 going into Game 4 and having a chance to sweep, but I have no doubt at all in just our team coming back and just stronger tomorrow and ready to recollect and roll.