Dodgers go belly up against another lefty, now on brink of elimination

LOS ANGELES -- There are some days when resistance is futile.

Donuts in the break room? Forget about it. Binge watching shows into the wee hours? Guilty. The Los Angeles Dodgers' offense against left-handed pitching? Not good.

In a position to move one game away from winning the National League Division Series, the Dodgers instead stumbled against a lefty pitcher again. Well, three lefty pitchers exactly, as Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker followed starter Gio Gonzalez with relievers Sammy Solis and Oliver Perez.

A Dodgers team with the worst batting average and OPS against lefties in all of baseball during the regular season managed to make things interesting Monday, it just was not nearly enough.

The Dodgers fell 8-3 to the Nationals and now trail the best-of-five NLDS two games to one, putting their backs to the wall in Game 4 at home on Tuesday. Win and go to Washington, D.C., Lose and go home.

The offense wasn't the only issue. It did score runs after all. But the game played out like a daylong blackjack session. There would be no beating the house.

So what is the issue against lefties?

"If we knew, we would have already changed it," said veteran Adrian Gonzalez, one of three left-handed bats in the lineup Monday.

Corey Seager, another of those left-handed bats in the lineup, did get the Dodgers going early with an RBI double in the first inning. He also has two first-inning home runs in the series, giving him an RBI in the opening inning in each game.

But the Dodgers would go 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position Monday, making them 2-for-18 in that situation in the series. The Dodgers had six hits in the game and two came from replacements in the No. 9 hole -- Carlos Ruiz on a two-run home run in the fifth inning and a Chase Utley single in the seventh.

"That's something we don't really think about," Seager said about the lefty struggles when asked if its discussed in the clubhouse. "I thought we did a really good job against Gio. Their bullpen is tough, they have been tough against us all series, and that's one of those things that we haven't gotten to them yet and hopefully we can in the next few days."

Seager might be 3-for-3 in the first inning of the series, but he is 0-for-10 the rest of the game. On Monday, Dodgers starting position players went 4-for-28 with eight strikeouts.

"You can't just shy away from that kind of stuff, those stats," said Charlie Culberson, a right-handed hitter who started at second base over the lefty-hitting Utley. "It hasn't been the easiest years versus left-handed pitching, but we're professionals and we can find a way to change that. You just keep working and battling through it."

Going back to the last series of the regular season at San Francisco, the Dodgers have lost the past four times they have faced a lefty starter. In losing three consecutive times in the Bay Area against three consecutive lefties, the Giants were able to advance to the postseason.

The good news is that the Nationals do not have any more lefty starters in waiting for this series. On Tuesday they are debating whether or not to use right-hander Joe Ross or Reynaldo Lopez.

Not so comfortable is the back-to-the-wall feeling they have now. The Nationals, on the other hand, can play loose knowing that a slip-up Tuesday merely means a home game in the ultimate clincher.

"It's win or go home," Seager said. "You have to have that mentality and you have to come ready to play."