3 NLCS pitching mistakes Dave Roberts should regret: Using Max Scherzer as a closer in Game 5 of the NLDS
Yes, the residual effects of this move from last round are still following the team today.
In Game 5 of the NLDS, starting pitcher Max Scherzer came in during the bottom of the ninth to close the door on the San Francisco Giants. In the moment, it was great, because it basically assured the team they would advance. But on Sunday night, the Dodgers began to see the tradeoffs of that decision.
During Scherzer’s Game 2 start of the NLCS, he wasn’t able to dominate for long. He pitched 4.1 innings and allowed four hits and two runs before being pulled from the game, saying his “arm was dead” in the aftermath.
It’s pretty clear that the decision to use Scherzer to close out the NLDS jeopardized his performance in Game 2. This once again forced Los Angeles to rely heavy on their bullpen, and just like in Game 1, it almost worked.
Moves that almost work aren’t going to help the Dodgers repeat, though. If they want to come back from this two-game deficit, Roberts is going to have to be more careful in his decision-making with who he sends to the mound and when. His decision has to focus more than just on the now, but also the future.
If the now is going to be prioritized, the Dodgers have to make sure that the gambles pay off. So far, through two games, they haven’t.