Deep inside I knew the Dodgers weren’t going to sweep this World Series. The Astros are too good of a team. A sweep would have been nice, but very unlikely. That doesn’t ease the pain one bit. It doesn’t salve the burn I feel typing these words and swallowing this loss. Not at all.
Where do we start with the ways the Dodgers left victory sitting on the table tonight? Was it the inability to get a lead off batter on first almost all night? In the first nine innings the lead off batter got on base only twice.
Was it the failure to drive in the insurance run when the Dodgers left Cody Bellinger standing on third base in the seventh inning? Maybe it was the all-around flatness of an offense that only managed a total of five hits over 11 innings.
I’m calling tonight’s as a case of death by a thousand pitchers. I’ve griped about it all season. Dave Roberts gets too cute with bullpen substitutions and tends to lift pitchers too soon. He did it again tonight and petered away the Dodgers’ elite bullpen staff, which left the Dodgers with scrubs trying to hold off the biggest offense in the American League. 11 of the Astros 14 hits came after the 6th inning.
The Dodgers only had a few hits tonight, but they were big, loud home runs. Verlander had a no-hitter going into the fifth inning, and then Joc Pederson came up.
Rich Hill gave up just one earned run, but he was only allowed to pitch 4 innings. Hill was left angrily throwing his mitt against the dugout wall. Where have we seen that before?
Roberts followed Hill with Kenta Maeda – and Bullpen Bingo was turned up to eleven. Watson, Stripling and Morrow all came and went before we knew they were there, and Kenley Jansen was asked to get a six-out save in the eighth inning. Kenley saved the Dodgers’ 3-2 lead in the eighth, but he gave up the tying run to lead off the ninth. The Dodgers couldn’t get the walk off win, so the game went to extra innings.
And then things got really crazy.
After two strike outs, Logan Forsythe walked, and then he was wild pitched to second. Enrique Hernandez came up and singled in Forsythe. Everyone was on their feet (including everyone in my living room), high fives were flying, and the game was tied at fives.
Cue the eleventh inning and enter another Dodgers bullpen scrub, old friend, Brandon Mccarthy. The scrub gave up a single and a home run, and the score was 7-5. The Dodgers were down by two again.
To their credit, the Dodgers’ big blue hearts would not go quietly into the night. However, that didn’t happen until they logged two quick outs. Once again, the Dodgers could not get the lead off, or even the second batter on base, so Charlie Culberson came up with empty bases in front of him. If only Seager or turner could have found a way to get on base, I might be writing a different story. The bases were empty, and Culberson clubbed another home run, bringing the Dodgers to within one.
Yasiel Puig then stepped into the breach. Hopes were high, everyone in the stadium was on their feet, and we were all hoping for one more shot of World Series magic to come our way. Puig worked the count full. The excitement was palpable. Puig kept fouling off pitches as the Astros pitcher kept moving his pitches off the plate an inch at a time. The deathblow was a classic “out pitch” that I thought Yasiel had finally stopped chasing. Down and away, several inches off the plate – ball four by a mile. Puig swung, and like the Dodgers’ hopes, there was no contact. Just the sound of a thousand hearts dropping.
The Dodgers lost tonight, 7-6, in extra innings. It was World Series drama at it’s best – and its heartbreaking worst. Stay tuned, folks. I tell ya, this series is an absolute dogfight.