“Last Chance Saloon-Last Rites”
Some night ahead of us…Game 6-World Series…Dodgers-Astros.
Home Run Derby…or maybe just a War of Attrition.
That was something on Sunday night…25-runs…28-hits…all those walks…hits batsmen and a (13-12) Astros win over the Dodgers.
LA is running on fumes, at least their pitching staff is.
The Astros high octane offense is hitting on all cylinders, at least at Minute Maid Park they did.
The Dodgers have to win, or there is no tomorrow (Wednesday) for them, down 3-games to two, and facing the Astros high powered pitching ace Justin Verlander.
Verlander is (4-0) in the post season with Houston. He is (16-1) dating all the way back in starts to July 31st. He is now (11-1) in starts since he put on the Astros colors.
The Dodgers are staggering badly. A pitching staff worn out, by over-use.
An every day lineup that needs home runs to score runs, since they don’t seem capable of putting the ball in play to create big rallies very often, at least not as often as the Houston batting order.
How did we get here?
Put it on the manager Dave Roberts…the pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, but maybe equally so on the front office and their analytics scouting reports.
This all began in Game 2, when Roberts pulled starting pitcher Rich Hill after four solid innings. They didn’t want him to have to face the Houston batting order a 3rd time in the game, They didn’t want the left-hander to face four right-handed bats in a row in that 5th inning.
This despite the fact Hill had thrown only 60-pitches, and had astounding success against right-handed bats.
On came long reliever Kenta Maeda, but then Roberts yanked him early. Maedea was built to give the team 4-or-5 quality innings in long relief, but he was gone too soon.
It led to LA during up 8-relievers in the game two loss, and it has spilled over since then.
LA burned thru its left-handed relievers, over used Brandon Morrow, asked to pitch 4-straight games, coming off his surgeries, and the expansion of the duties of relief ace Kenley Jansen.
Yes Jansen can get a 6-out save over two innings. But against this Astros lineup? That’s expecting too much, and he hasn’t. Getting 6-outs against the Padres and Phillies is different than facing Houston’s booming bats.
The stunning stats, Heading into tontines do-or-die game, Jansen-Maeda and Morrow have a combined (5.78-ERA) against the Astros. This is a group that had posted a spectacular combined (0.98-ERA) in the Cubs and Arizona series.
The trio made 19-appearances in the Cubs-Diamondbacks series, giving up just 2-runs-5 hits in 21-combined innings.
Since the debacle in game two, the trio has gone 14-innings…allowed 15hits…and 9-runs)
And Roberts and his smart people did it again on Sunday, yanking long reliever Maeda after just 2/3rds of an inning, setting off the chain reaction to the rest of the relief corps.
Can you say panic set in in that Dodgers dugout. In the scouting report meetings, did the consortium of Andrew Friedman and his collective assistant GMs, all tell Roberts to get to the bullpen at the first sign of trouble?
This more than anything has led to the demise of the Dodgers.
And now with the memories of Kirk Gibson’s pinch hit 1988-Game winning World series home run, serving as a back drop, the Dodgers are facing doom and gloom.
Can they hit Verlander? Can Hill give them a quality start, deep into the game? Is the gas tank on ’empty’ for that bullpen?
This could have been averted, had LA handled its pitching better early on.
The scoreboard does not lie. Down 3-to-2. Facing the fierce competitor that is the ex-Tigers ace-Verlander. And now haunted by the combined bullpen stats I just wrote about.
Last chance for the Dodgers to extend the series. Last rites about to be given to their World Series ring hopes.
Dodgers leadership may have to go to confession to ask for forgiveness, for wrecking the bullpen, which means wrecking their World Series chances.