It’s always difficult writing the final recap of the season, so excuse me if this is a bit late. I’ve had some time to digest the Dodger’s game 6 loss to the Braves, the series and the entire season. I’ll give you my takes on the season in a moment, but I suppose I should talk about the game first even though it was over fairly early, despite the Dodgers being in the game until the end.
The Dodgers lost to the Braves 4-2 on Saturday night in Atlanta, as the Braves won the pennant (their first since 1999) and eliminated the Dodgers from postseason play. Walker Buehler had to take the mound after soft ass Max Scherzer was too tired to pitch. God bless Buehler, a true warrior for doing something that Clayton Kershaw did many times, pitching on short rest. Buehler lasted only four innings, and allowed four earned runs but truly pitched with the heart of a champion. I tip my cap to him. Eddie Rosario‘s three-run home run in the bottom of the fourth was the nail in the coffin. Honestly I still don’t understand the decision to even pitch to him with first base open. Even though Freddie Freeman was looming on deck, I don’t care. The Dodgers couldn’t get that guy out the entire series. He was hitting nearly .500 in the NLCS and I would not have pitched to him with men on base.
pitching decisions or not, the Dodger bats let us all down. The Dodgers had a couple of good scoring opportunities, including one in the seventh inning, but were unable to capitalize. The Dodgers were trailing 4-1 in the seventh frame when the Braves made a big mistake bringing in Luke Jackson again. The Dodgers jumped all over him. Chris Taylor doubled, Cody Bellinger walked, and AJ Pollock floated a double just inside the line in left field to plate a run and put runners at second and third. The score was 4-2 and at that point it looked like the Dodgers had a great look at the game. The Braves called on Tyler Matzek and he proceeded to strike out Albert Pujols, Steven Souza Jr. and Mookie Betts consecutively. That was it.
The Dodgers had a good season and definitely gave us some memorable moments. They won 112 games and got very far. They were close to repeating. Unfortunately it doesn’t matter how many games you win in the regular season. The Braves won 88 games, and they’re playing in the World Series.
Management’s pitching strategies were terrible all year. They never placed enough importance on starting pitching, and then when it bit them in the butt, they didn’t want to trust their bullpen. The Dodgers needed at least two starting pitchers at the trade deadline and possibly three. Speaking of Scherzer, I’ve lost some respect for him and don’t expect him to be back. I think he was a rental anyways, and he was great, but not being able to take the mound because he was tired screwed the Dodgers. Look, everyone is tired. All of the players are tired when you get this far. Clayton Kershaw was always able to take the mound even when exhausted. There was never a time when he said no. I think he pitched on three days rest in four consecutive postseasons, and all of those games he pitched at least 6 innings. He never told management he was too tired to take the mound. As great as Scherzer is, he is still no Clayton Kershaw.
Another problem I pointed out in spring training was the weak bench. The Dodgers had almost no depth, and the terrible minor league rosters forced the club to use guys like Luke Raley, Sheldon Neuse, and even had to use Steven Souza, and Andy Burns in the postseason. It was pathetic. You would think that the Dodgers would be able to build a better bench. One could argue that not bringing back Joc Pederson and Enrique Hernandez cost them a championship this year.
This recent run of Dodger baseball has been quite remarkable. Eight NL West division titles, nine consecutive playoff appearances, six NLCS appearances, three National League Pennants, and a World Series championship. But it kind of feels like a let down in a way. The club has had so much talent that many people, myself included feel they should have won multiple championships. Now we have to dredge through the winter knowing that most of the core players (Kershaw, Kenley Jansen, Corey Seager, Chris Taylor) may not be coming back due to free agency. This might be the end of this current run. We could be in for some leaner years ahead. I hope they can bring everyone back for at least one more run. I want to thank everyone for reading and commenting at LADR this season. I hope you all have a great holiday season and I am looking forward to Dodger Baseball in 2022.
3 thoughts on “NLCS Game 6: Dodgers Lose, It’s All Over”
the braves had a man on 2nd and 3rd.. i would of walked rosario only because we couldnt get him out .. we look at the strike and swing at the balls that almost hit the ground , plus all the games we lost was from hr balls with 0 and 2 counts
Agree Jerry. Smith needs to take a course on pitch sequencing 101. He has been 3/4 of the problem with the starting pitcher’s whoas. Five straight cutters to Rosario? Seriously? Even Scherzer stated he preferred Barnes over Smith. Smith also lacks veteran defensive skills. Too many passed balls, and too many missed tags at the plate. Sometimes it is wiser to sacrifice offense for better defense behind the dish.
Oh well. It is what it is. DR prefers launch angle over defense, I guess.
Thanks Scott. You summed it up well. It was a wild ride. They actually went further than I had anticipated. Sure, being a Dodger fan all my life, I wanted them to go all the way, but I just knew deep down in my heart they could not do it with a patchwork pitching staff, and like you say, “A Triple-A” bench.
A team with a $250MM payroll continued to shop at K-Mart to replace valuable pieces in the roster. Key players were dropping like flies, and all Friedman could come up with were dumpster finds, wounded warriors on the mend, or minor league wanna-be’s.
A season full of would of, could of, and should of. When you think back at all the one run games they blew, all the extra inning games they lost, the Jansen consecutive blown saves including the two vs. the Gnats, and all those games lost due to RISP. If they had just been able to win two of those games, they would not have had to play the wild card, and would have had home field throughout October. That would have changed the complexion of the playoffs in the Dodgers’ favor. How ironic that they would go down in the NLCS due to starting pitching forced to go on short rest and RISP.
DR’s erratic use of the pitching staff and lineups really cost them dearly. Starting pitchers were groomed to just give a strong five innings, and when it came time for them to give some length, they could not deliver. This led to overuse of the bullpen. The lineups were shuffled every night. Players could not settle in and assume their roles in the lineup. DR’s obsession with matchups and ANAL-itics frustrated me. I could just imagine how the players must have felt. Pitchers thrown out of their routine with extra days rest, or bullpen games disrupting the rotation, just to align their pitchers for the next series. Hot hitters sit the next day because they did not match up with the next day’s opposing pitcher, or they were scheduled for a rest day. I know the season is long, but these players are paid millions to play, not sit on the bench. A real player does not want to sit… he wants to play every day. Not like Scherzer, who says “I’m too tired to play”. What a self serving a-hole. I hope he does not come back.
If one thing needs to change, the Dodgers have to improve their approach to the game. DR has to stop over-shifting the defense and trust his pitchers and fielders. Sharpen their defense…so many misplayed opportunities. They have to groom their starting pitchers for length. Starters should be able to survive 100+ innings when called upon. This year, they were lucky to get 70 pitches in before being yanked prematurely due to a matchup, or they just plum ran out of bullets. Hitters have to drop the launch angle-hit it out of the park mentality. HR’s are exciting and nice, but manufacturing runs can be just as exciting and win you more games. Shorten up their swing and use the whole field. Beat the shift, create havoc on the basepaths, steal bases, move runners, pass the baton and most importantly, reduce their number of RISP. If they insist on playing Will Smith the majority of the time, work on improving his defense, pitch sequence calling, target location, and framing. A great defensive signal caller behind the dish can really control the game, and help his pitchers to be more effective and efficient.
So, back to the drawing board. It will probably be a whole new Dodger team next year. Lots of contract decisions to be made. Lots of free agents on the board. Who, on the IL can come back strong? We can only hope for the best.
Thanks again Scott. Let’s hope for a better outcome next year. Have a great Holiday Season, and most of all, stay safe…And that goes for All you Dodger Fans out there.