3 puzzling decisions that ended Dodgers’ 2022 season too early

Adam Weinrib
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 11: Julio Urias #7 and Austin Barnes #15 of the Los Angeles Dodgers walk to the dugout before game one of the National League Division Series against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium on October 11, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 11: Julio Urias #7 and Austin Barnes #15 of the Los Angeles Dodgers walk to the dugout before game one of the National League Division Series against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium on October 11, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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Tommy Kahnle #44 of the Los Angeles Dodgers (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

1. The Tommy Kahnle/Alex Vesia Decisions in Game 4

In Game 3, Tommy Kahnle plowed through Ha-Seong Kim (liner), Trent Grisham (whiff), and Austin Nola in the ninth, showing all the potential the Dodgers coveted when they imported him and allowed him to bounce back from Tommy John surgery in their system.

In Game 4, Kahnle was called upon after the Dodgers minimized another bases loaded, no out situation and was asked to protect a 3-0 lead in the seventh … against Jurickson Profar, Grisham and Nola, two of whom had just seen him the day prior.

The gambit didn’t work; Grisham lined a single into the right-center gap, and Nola knocked a hard grounder that rolled around the infield.

Only then did Roberts call on bullpen ace Yency Almonte, after making the little-used Kahnle somehow his go-to reliever in the most important seventh inning of the season to date.

Almonte couldn’t clean anything up in time, giving up a double to Kim and a game-tying single to Juan Soto, who quickly took second. Against all odds, though, he recovered to retire Manny Machado and Brandon Drury to keep the game tied … but had the audacity to fall behind in the count 1-0 to Jake Cronenworth.

That was enough to get Roberts to hurriedly signal for Alex Vesia, who’d rushed his way in from the bullpen and certainly didn’t think he’d be entering the game already a ball down in the count.

It seemed, like they did all series, that the Dodgers took their lead for granted late in this one, and got a degree or two too cute, with Phillips still standing and waiting in the ‘pen. For one last time in 2022, it cost them.

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