2017 World Series: Not pulling the plug on Yu Darvish sooner
There is a lot of revisionist history with Game 7 of the 2017 World Series. In hindsight, most Dodgers fans are outraged at the team’s decision to start Yu Darvish over Clayton Kershaw. Fans, of course, are saying that because Darvish was shelled and Kershaw came in and pitched perfectly in relief.
Starting Darvish was the right decision. Kershaw was on short rest and was coming off of a Game 5 in which Houston punished him at the plate (at the time, we didn’t know they were banging trash cans to do so!). The Dodgers traded for Darvish literally for this moment, as they desperately needed another big-game pitcher.
Where the mistake lies is Roberts not having a quick enough hook in a do-or-die game. This is something Roberts has gotten better at, but it unfortunately has led to him having too quick of a hook on occasion, such as when he pulled Tyler Anderson in Game 4 of the 2022 NLDS.
With the way Darvish was pitching, he never should have been given the chance to face George Springer a second time. If Roberts is one batter quicker in using Brandon Morrow, then the game could have stayed at 3-0, and who knows? Maybe the bats would not have been as demoralized, and could have put more pressure on Houston’s pitching staff.
While it might not seem to matter in a game where the Dodgers only scored one run, that home run gave the Astros a comfortable enough lead where the tying run never came to the plate. That changed the complexion of the rest of the game.
The Los Angeles Dodgers 2022 season has ended. Now it's time for free agency and roster turnover. Don't expect these guys to return in 2023.
And who knows, if Roberts pulls Darvish after the first inning it would have just been 2-0, and then everything changes.