Live by the Home Run, Die by the Friggin’ Home Run

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.

Tied at one in the sixth, Chris Taylor walked, and Corey Seager blasted Verlander to give the Dodgers a 3-1 lead.

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.

Josh Fields came in for the Dodgers and he immediately gave up back to back home runs to put the Dodgers down 5-3. Yasiel Puig led off the tenth with a home run and Dodger Stadium went 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.

 

Oscar Martinez

Oscar Martinez

I was born in the shadow of Dodger Stadium and immediately drenched in Dodger Blue. Chavez Ravine is my baseball cathedral, Vin Scully was the golden voice of summer all my life, and Tommy Lasorda remains the greatest Dodgers manager ever. My favorite things are coffee, beer, and the Dodgers beating the Giants. I also blog about my baseball card hobby at All Trade Bait, All the Time.

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23 thoughts on “Live by the Home Run, Die by the Friggin’ Home Run

    1. A gut wrenching loss to say the least, but they are by no means out of this thing. The Astros two best pitchers did not beat the Dodgers. Tonight Roberts got too cute with the pitchers and burned his most reliable guys. He put Stripling in, the guy gives up a single and he pulls him. Morrow was again excellent, and the double he gave up was no reason to bring in Jansen. Morrow could have gotten out of the jam himself in my eyes. He has been doing it all during the playoffs. The fringe relievers lost the game, but Roberts did not put Jansen in a good spot. The failure of the offense most of the night was glaring and not getting Cody in when he was on 3rd with less than 2 outs was huge. To come so close and have McBrittle just throw the thing away. All he had to do was hold serve and pitch a clean inning. Had Cody gotten all of that pitch in the 9th it would have been different. I damn sure would have rather seen Ethier up there late in the game than automatic out Grandal. 8 home runs. Unreal. Kike gets them back in the game after Puig’s blast. The Culberson gets them close after McBrittle blows it. To ask Puig to do it again was too much. They played their hearts out. But at the end of the game, the best 9 were not on the field. So we go to Houston tied 1-1. But I think the next 3 games we have better pitchers than they do ready to go. Darvish, Wood and Kersh. I can live with that. Take 2 of 3 and come home and finish it. Leaving Morrow out there to finish the 8th would have meant that Jansen would need only 3 outs. If Morrow could get 2 outs, then he could have brought Kenley in for a 4 out save. No matter now, what is done is done. Thanks Dave, you blew that one.

      1. Roberts lost this game for us. Granted, he has managed the bullpen with aplomb. Tonight, he managed it with a bomb. Why did he go with Fields over Cingrani? Why did he pull Cingrani for McCarthy, a pitcher who hasn’t pitched since Oct. 1 and gave up 3 runs in that game. Make sense? lol.

        As I have been posting all along, you give up hits, you die, because our pitchers give up HR’s. It is our Achilles heel and it gave out tonight. We got through Verlander beautifully on 2 hits, up 3-1. Bizarre. Held our lead up to Jansen, then kaboom. ‘nough said.

        We must come back in Game 3 and put them away, fast, before they have a chance to think they have momentum. They got away with murder in Game 2, don’t make the same mistakes and give up HR’s.

      2. Here’s another observation. With the way Maeda has been pitching out of the bullpen, I feel Roberts is burning him too soon in the game. Put at the end of the bridge that leads up to Morrow and Jansen. Have him pitch in late inning and late inning crucial situations with right-handed hitters coming up. Maeda’s experience and demeanor is far more suited, at that point in the game, than Stripling.

  1. Yeah this thing had to due with an inexperienced manager giving his bullpen a gas can. Not sharp at all.
    Major blunder not getting a run in from 3rd with only one out. that’s just terrible.

    How many got jazzed when they saw Grandull coming in to pitch hit, yeah me neither.

    Roberts showed himself to be not wise in use of his bullpen and even his position players (well the use of bullpen forced the poor use of position players.)

    Sorry but one more thing, what in the hell was going on that he pulls Morrow after giving up one hit, what the hell is Roberts thinking. That was felony stupid.

    1. Was your heart in your throat when Ed Dinger went deep in the 9th??? I thought he got all of that one and it only went to the warning track. I did feel good for Joc when he hit his dinger, but back to the old ways when he K’s with Cody on 3rd.

  2. Felony stupid is a good term for many of the “opinions” here today.

    It was the third time through, with five tough RHB. You play the matchups. You go to Maeda.

    Maybe the “Mo”wasn’t strong enough. Wouldn’t be the first nor last time.

    Sometimes the right moves don’t work. Sometimes Culberson hits a HR off a good pitcher. Sometimes a guy named Marwin does.

    1. That is your opinion Bluto, no need to demean those who saw it differently. Mo looked plenty strong. His heater was hitting 99 and he only threw 10 pitches in the 7th. Expecting Kenley to get 6 outs was stupid. Yeah, he hung one to Gonzalez and we are tied, He took Hill out for no other reason than there were 5 RH bats coming up. Hill had been handling those guys quite well thank you.

      1. What’s your connection to the USS Wisconsin?

        I have a fascination with battleships. Would’ve been truly historic to have an Iowa Class battleship face off against the Yamato or Musashi. The Yamato class was bigger, had thicker armor and those 18 inch guns, but the Iowa had radar controlled fire control.

        1. My dad was on the Nevada at Pearl Harbor. Have always loved the big ships. I went on the Iowa when I was in California. She is berthed in San Pedro and is now a tourist attraction. When I lived in LA back when I used to go down to LB Harbor and watch when the Jersey or the Mighty Mo would put out to sea. I stood on the breakwater and watched when they both left port for the last time. Since one of my hobbies is model building, I have built a few. The Mighty Mo and the Arizona. I bought another Arizona model so I could build it as the Nevada. They were both the same type. Nevada class battleships. I have a decal set so I can put the Nevada’s 36 on her bow and even the name on the stern. Arizona was BB-39.

          1. That Bluto was the nickname for the USS Missouri. I can see you are not into history. I got to go on her once and stood on the spot where the Japanese surrendered.

          2. No Scott, I had mentioned the Missouri in my response to Patch as to why I have a picture of the Wisconsin as my gravitar. Explanation for which is above. There are 4 Iowa class battleships. The Iowa, New Jersey, Missouri and the Wisconsin.

          3. That’s impressive. The Nevada was the only ship to get underway during the attack. Tried to escape the harbor but ran aground.

            The official surrender by the Japanese was signed on the deck of the Missouri…the Mighty Mo

            Yes, four Iowa class battleships, the last U.S battleships commissioned. Battleships were expensive to build and maintain, and were rendered obsolete by the aircraft carrier in WWII, but the New Jersey was pulled out of mothballs to fire it’s huge 16 inch guns during the Korean and Vietnam wars. It’s guns can fire a 2,000 lb shell over 25 miles.

            During the 80s, with Reagan’s defense build up, the New Jersey was initially taken out of mothballs again and modernized, with ability to launch Tomahawk cruise missiles. The New Jersey fired it’s guns into Beirut at Syrian controlled gun batteries in 1984. The Missouri fired the opening salvo of cruise missiles during Desert Storm.

          4. Actually Patch, the Nevada was attacked while she was heading out to sea. The captain decided to beach her at Wapiao Point. My dad was wounded when the Arizona blew up. He caught a piece of shrapnel in the heinie. The Japanese were trying to sink her in the channel which would have meant months before it could be opened. The Japanese missed their primary targets, the American carrier force. Both the Lexington and the Enterprise were ferrying planes to Midway and Wake islands and were at sea. One of the reason’s I disliked the movie Pearl Harbor is because it was more of a romantic movie than a statement of the facts. Tora, Tora, Tora was more factual……and no fighter jock is going to learn how to fly a B-25 in 3 months and bomb Tokyo.

          5. Are you talking about that movie with Ben Affleck? That movie was shit. Yes, Tora, Tora, Tora was actually pretty good. Midway was my favorite. That is just an incredible story – breaking the Japanese Imperial Navy code and figuring out they were going to attack Midway, using the ruse of the broken desalinator story to confirm it, all the torpedo bombers being devastated, which distracted the Japanese to the Dauntless dive bombers at high altitude, Nagumo’s decision to re-arm his planes and attack the U.S. fleet, which rendered them vulnerable and loaded with bombs and fuel when the first bombs struck. It’s almost as if it was divine providence that allowed the American Navy to win that decisive battle. I developed my love of military history by reading Walter Lord’s book.

            The Japanese also blew it by not attacking the dry docks and oil depots at Pearl. It was bad luck for them that the carriers weren’t there. It was felony stupid to leave the dry docks intact. That just meant that the damaged ships were just repaired and put to sea in 9 months or so.

            The biggest bonehead mistake by the Japanese was attacking the US in the first place. America was a different place back then. There is still some of that can-do spirit, but it’s waning

  3. Dogfight! Those were the exact same words that came to my mind once the game was over.

    As far as I’m concerned not scoring Bellinger from 3B was the key to the game. All Joc had to do was put the ball in play because the infield was playing in. Oh well. And I still don’t understand why Morrow can’t pitch two innings.

    BTW I finally finished watching the 1981 game 6 video that Scott posted. Lasorda let Howe pitched the 7, 8, and 9th.

    1. Different era, different manager. Howe had some nasty stuff and was a former starter. Morrow pitched 2 innings a couple of times. Roberts got cute and it cost them the game.

  4. If only that could be a do over. Things may have come out differently if they approach how to use the picthers in that game differently. But you can’t take anything away from the Astros, they are a team to beat.

  5. It is no surprise that the HR’s sunk us. The BP, especially Fields and Baez gave up a lot of HR’s this year. You did not expect them to go deep on Kenley, but Fields and McBrittle, not so much.

  6. No matter what Bluto thinks, everything posted on here is someone’s opinion. And not everyone will agree with their takes. I try and read them all and see where someone’s mind is about the same game I have been watching. We all have different eyes and just like witnesses in a crime scene we have different views of the evidence before us. Because of where we live, we can express these opinions without persecution and everyone reaching the same conclusions. So far, the majority, not only on here, but other places as well, think that Dave Roberts screwed the pooch. So even if someone else thinks you are a lame brained idiot……it in no way means that you are.

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