Not to beat a dead horse but the Dodgers dreams of bringing the city of Los Angeles a title were stifled by the Houston Astros. They fell by a score of 5-1 in game 7 and lost the series 4-3. We will be discussing the three reasons why Los Angeles is not preparing for a parade.
Hindsight is 20/20, so I am sure Roberts and the Dodgers will be rethinking some of these mistakes. These will haunt the Dodgers. The first of these mistakes in this series came in game 2 in Chavez Ravine. A questionable decision by the skipper Dave Roberts. Rich Hill was pulled from the game after just four innings of work.
The fiery vet was dealing and going pitch for pitch with Astros ace, Justin Verlander. Hill gave up just one run on three hits. He was pretty good. Roberts had a formula that had worked all postseason long. That was, for the starter to get through the lineup twice and get the bullpen in once the third time through the lineup was coming up.
Though it did work all postseason, this is a different stage than the NLCS and NLDS. AJ Hinch was doing exactly what Roberts should have done. Stick to the hot hand. Yes, I understand why try to fix something if it’s not broken. However, Hill was feeling it. He was also pitching very well against the top half of the lineup. This decision to bring in an already taxed bullpen came back to haunt Roberts, and the Dodgers lost game 2 and home-field advantage to that point.
This was because it not only cost them the game but it gave them a disadvantage in an area that should have been a strength. The bullpen was the only thing that everybody agreed the Dodgers had the advantage. This would hurt even more after the Dodgers had to use this bullpen for mostly all of game 3.
Now, this leads us to our second reason. Yu Darvish. It’s not just that he gave up runs, it’s that he made Roberts overuse his bullpen. Game 3 and 7 were virtually identical in the fact that Darvish could not even get out of the second inning. More so in game 3. The Dodgers had to play three consecutive games, and that big use of the bullpen in games 2 and 3 was kind of like a domino effect.
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Though these are 2 different occasions they are a domino effect on the entire series that the Dodgers just could not win. The bullpen was supposed to be a major advantage and Roberts was not able to treat it as such because of how he mismanaged game 2 and how poorly Darvish pitched in game 3.
Now that we discussed Darvish in game 3 let’s talk about his game 7 performance. Leaving the game with a 5 run deficit. Fans were clamoring for Wood or Kersh to start but that did not make sense at all. Kershaw on 2 days rest and Wood who has shown signs of arm fatigue starting on short rest was not ideal. Therefore, Roberts had to trust Darvish would bounce back. He didn’t.
Darvish folded under pressure. Giving up a leadoff double to Springer and his defense was not helpful but if he wants to be paid like an ace in January, he needs to perform like one in October. The dagger came when Springer went deep in the second inning and that dug a hole that the Dodgers just could not climb out of.
The final reason for this failed series is obvious if you were watching. That reason is the offensive stars did not show up. Not to knock Joc Pederson because he was tremendous, but when he is your only offensive weapon, something is wrong. Taylor was good, not great, same with Barnes. Yasiel Puig was nowhere to be found for the majority of the series.
Corey Seager was just okay. Justin Turner started hot but after game 1 he looked like he was back playing for the Mets. Am I forgetting anybody? Wait. Cody Bellinger. I just have two words to describe his performance. God awful. Bellinger looked like he had a hole in his bat. He broke a record for strikeouts in a postseason series that was set by Aaron Judge earlier this postseason.
The most frustrating part about Cody was he looked to have gotten his groove back in Houston during games 4 and 5, but he was just teasing us. He would swing and miss at a curveball at his back foot at least once every at-bat. His struggles allowed the Astros to avoid the red dream. Turner is a much better hitter with protection but he did not have that in the World Series.
This series was the BEST I have ever seen. The Dodgers did all they could but it was not enough to get the job done. I believe this team will be back again with a vengeance. But for now there is nothing left to do but think what if none of these things had happened, would we be celebrating in Los Angeles for the first time since 1988.