2018 World Series: Pulling Rich Hill too early (and over-relying on Ryan Madson)
If there is one mistake that stands out above the rest, it is Dave Roberts’ decision to pull Rich Hill in Game 4 of the 2018 World Series. Looking back at the 2018 World Series, it may not seem like a big deal, as the Dodgers ended up losing in five games.
While nothing is guaranteed, if the Dodgers would have won this game, then they would have been in a great position to rally and win the series. Boston’s pitching staff was seriously depleted, and if the series had gone past five games, Los Angeles would undoubtedly have had the advantage.
Winning Game 4 would have swung the momentum and would have put Boston in a tough spot. Instead, the Dodgers lost Game 4 and it completely changed the complexion of the series, allowing Boston to ride David Price (and closer Chris Sale) in Game 5 to a victory.
Rich Hill pitched the best game of his Dodgers career, and Dave Roberts pulled him in favor of another left-handed pitcher, Scott Alexander. Alexander lasted just one batter. The Dodgers went from having all of the momentum behind a dominant Hill performance and a three-run home run by Yasiel Puig to having their backs against the wall.
Roberts then followed up his Hill mistake with another mistake in putting Ryan Madson in. Madson was awful in the regular season and had a few good outings before the World Series. He then became the team’s chosen high-leverage reliever despite allowing all of his inherited runners to score in Games 1-3.
Roberts went to Madson again and Madson allowed a three-run bomb to Mitch Moreland. While the Dodgers still led at the time, every fan knew it was over then.