Think Twice Before Second-Guessing Dodgers’ Skipper
. Photo Courtesy Malingering / Flickr
Second Guess Dave? Please….
I can hear it now and am literally writing this before the game is even over. Why did Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts pull starter Rich Hill in the fourth inning of World Series Game 2? Why did he bring closer Kenley Jansen in for a six-out save when Jansen never goes six outs and hasn’t since last year’s postseason?
Sure, the Dodgers blew a two-run lead and lost the game 7-6 in 11 innings, but, is it really Dave’s fault? Or is it a lot of blah blah blah.
Look. Roberts has pulled the strings on 28 straight scoreless innings of relief pitching. That’s a postseason record. Record: as in, never been done before. Sure, it had to end sometime. How was he supposed to know when? Like, you did?
Sure, Hill looked fine after four innings, but haven’t the Dodger starters always looked fine after 4 or 5 before coughing up two or three runs in the 5th or 6th in postseasons past? And how many World Series have those guys been in before this year? Zero.
Besides, Dodger middle relievers Maeda, Watson and Stripling were fine. So was Brendan Morrow until Alex Bregman hit a double down the right field line that Yasiel Puig just missed with a layout dive.
So, it’s the 8th inning and no outs. The only way we don’t find ourselves in this situation is if Hill goes complete game with no base runners. Likelihood of that? Next to zero.
So, Roberts calls on Jansen. And if Roberts were watching from center field maybe he might sees what fans at home saw during the at-bat by Carlos Correa that cut the lead to 3-2.
Jansen is missing his spots, repeatedly, up, down, left, right. Nothing is hitting the glove. Too geeked? Maybe. Still, he survives the 8th inning with the lead.
Then the ninth comes and Marwin Gonzalez flogs one to straight-away center to tie it. Still, Roberts leaves Jansen in.
Jansen struggles but survives the rest of the ninth with the tie intact.
Maybe, just maybe, in there somewhere, is where you could question Roberts.
But, what were the options? Game 3 starter Alex Wood? You would have brought in Josh Fields earlier?
Well how about two home runs to greet him by Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa? Success of that plan? Zero.
Sometimes nothing works.
Just ask Brian Giles.
After the Dodger melt down. The Astros’ reliever gives up a bomb to serial bat-licker Yasiel Puig, a walk to Logan Forsyth and a bullet RBI single to Banana Man Kike Hernandez (who all of a sudden is bludgeoning right handers.)
Game tied 5-5.
Best throw of the game after the 7th inning? The one that nailed second base umpire Laz Diaz in the thigh as Chris Devenski tried to pick off Hernandez at second base.
Then came a single by Cameron Maybin and a two-run homer by George Springer off Brandon McCarthy to make it 7-5 ‘Stros and then a home run off Devenski by the Dodgers’ Charlie Culberson to make it 7-6.
Awesome. Incredible. Record-setting for home runs. And just a little unpredictable.
So blame Dave? Maybe a little. But after the postseason he’s had, maybe he deserves the benefit of the doubt.
Though, maybe for Game 3 it wouldn’t hurt to have a bullpen coach with some binoculars or a middle infielder weighing in or maybe catcher Austin Barnes saying something next time his reliever has no idea where the ball is going.
Then, maybe, you can blame Roberts.
But, not today.