I was listening to the radio the other day, and the topic of conversation was the Dodgers. More specifically about the 2018 World Series, and even more specifically game 4 of the 2018 World Series. I’m sure you all remember the horrible outcome of that game. That was the game in which the Dodgers blew a 4-0 lead, surrendering nine earned runs in the final three frames in a 9-6 loss to the Red Sox. Big blows from Mitch Moreland and Steve Pearce in the form of home runs accounted for most of Boston’s late rally.
That game sealed the series for the Red Sox. Sure there was still one more game the next day but the loss was a demoralizing nail in the coffin for the Dodgers. Most online wagers being placed like from BestSportsbooks.co were placed in favor of the Red Sox. The next day Boston defeated the Dodgers to clinch the series in five games.
The radio discussers turned their attention on the main focus of the conversations surrounding game 4, the inexplicable removal of Rich Hill. For those that were living under a rock at the time, let me take you back to last October. Hill (the Dodgers left handed starter) was throwing a masterpiece. He was twirling, kicking and grunting his way to a Dodger win. Up until the top of the seventh inning, Hill had allowed only one hit and no runs. He had walked only three and struck out seven and was in total command of the game. The Boston batters were flummoxed by his trademark curveball. Hill was spinning that curveball like Picasso painted a portrait.
That is why I like Hill so much. When the Dodgers need him most, he steps up and delivers. Going into that fateful frame (the seventh inning) the Dodgers were leading by a 4-0 score. Thanks to a three-run home run from Yasiel Puig and a throwing error, the Dodgers seemed to be in the driver’s seat. With the way Hill was pitching barring some kind of unforeseen disaster that the Dodgers would win. The series-tying win would seriously alter the momentum of the World Series.
Hill had made about 91 pitches and you would think, especially after both clubs played a seven hour 18-inning game the night before that Hill would be given plenty of rope to pitch as long as he could. However with one-out and a runner at first, (Hill had just struck out a batter) Dave Roberts inexplicably removed him from the game. In came the beleaguered Dodger bullpen and the rest was history.
The guys on the radio discovered that they had figured out what had happened. They had uncovered the mystery. It was just a simple misunderstanding. A miscommunication between Roberts and Hill. Apparently Hill had asked Roberts to keep an eye on him earlier in the game. According to Roberts, he had come out to the mound to simply give Hill a pep talk. He was going to give him an “atta boy” for a job well done. But when Hill saw the skipper trotting out to the mound he assumed he was being removed from the game and gave the ball to Roberts and silently walked off the mound.
Was this what really happened? Or did Roberts remove Hill from the game to go another brainless bullpen matchup? I don’t think anyone will really know, but my money is on the brainless matchup. I do know that if Hill had been allowed to at least finish that seventh inning that the Dodgers would have won the game.
There is no question in my mind. I think it was Bluto who once told me not to be counter-factual. That means don’t try to predict the outcome, because there are so many different variables that can happen or not happen in a baseball game. Surely that is true in most situations. In this situation…..I can tell you with 100% certainty that the Dodgers would have won. I’m not trying to be counter-factual, but with this one…..I can. As a matter of fact you can call me nostradamus. You can call me Mrs. Cleo. You can call me the Oracle. There is no doubt in my mind that if Hill stays in the game, the Dodgers win.
Maybe the crackpot radio guys couldn’t properly explain it, but I can. That was on the skipper. That was 100% Dave Roberts screw up. Sorry folks, but yes the Doc messed up. It wasn’t Hill’s fault. His job is too pitch. Roberts job is to manage, and in that instance he didn’t. It was Robert’s job to not just let Hill know that he was letting him go as deep into the game as he can (due to the gassed and ineffective bullpen), but also to damn well make sure that there was no miscommunication. To make sure that Hill didn’t walk off the mound and then be forced to bring in some gassed bum who couldn’t get anyone out.
I’ve always liked Roberts, but that one was squarely on him. And let me tell you guys something; the Red Sox were the wrong club to make this mistake with. Not only do the players have to get better if the Dodgers want to get over the hump and win a World Series, but Roberts and the game management has to get better too.