Roberts Takes Foot Off Gas, Cubs Take Advantage, Beat Dodgers 3-2

The Dodgers lost by one run tonight.

2nd inning: Curtis Granderson leads off the inning with a strike out. Yasmani Grandal follows that with a ground out.

The Dodgers lost the chance to sweep the NLCS by one stinkin’ run.

4th inning: Granderson leads off the inning with another strike out. Grandal walks. He would walk twice more.

The Dodgers did not clinch the National League pennant because of one freakin’ run.

6th inning: With Justin Turner on first base, Granderson strikes out for the third time to end the inning. Ol’ Grandy wasn’t done, not by a longshot. More on that later.

With the Dodgers up three games to none over the Chicago Cubs, the World Series within their grasp, and a starting pitcher who hadn’t thrown live ball in two weeks, manager Dave Roberts decided now would be a good time to allow a couple of his weakest hitting batters a chance to play, while sitting a couple of his hottest, Austin Barnes and Logan Forsythe. Did I mention the Dodgers lost the game by one run?

Alex Wood wasn’t especially bad after his long layoff, waiting around for his first chance to pitch in the postseason. He had seven K’s over 4 2/3 innings, but he also surrendered three solo home runs in his stint. Since the Dodgers’ offense wasn’t doing much against Cubs ace Jake Arrieta, Wood wasn’t long for the game.

In the good news department, Cody Bellinger and Justin Turner both launched solo homers of their own.

Cody’s was in the third inning, and Turner’s came in the eighth, giving a much-needed shot of adrenaline to the Dodgers and their fans. It just wasn’t enough to overcome the suddenly re-energized Cubs.

After being behind all night, the Dodgers had a real chance to take control of the game when Turner led off the inning with his homer to bring the Dodgers within one run in the eighth.

Yasiel Puig walked, and Andre Ethier popped up for the first out. With the Dodgers chances to get back into the game –  for reasons that I will question all the way to my deathbed – Roberts let 0 for 3, with three strike outs, Curtis Granderson, bat yet again!

Here’s where the game entered the Twilight Zone. After two quick strikes, Granderson swung and missed for strike three. But he argued he foul tipped the ball. Dave Roberts came onto the field and they managed to convince the umpire crew to huddle and discuss the play. While replays on TV and the stadium showed Granderson clearly missed the ball, the umpires couldn’t use replay to influence their decision, and they came out of the huddle overturning the original call at the plate, thus giving Granderson another shot.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon stormed from his dugout, and argued vehemently while the Wrigley Field faithful rained boos down onto the field. Maddon was tossed, and the crowd booed even louder. Little did Chicago know what Dodger fans everywhere know, you can give Granderson TEN more pitches, and he would still strike out. This time it only took one more pitch, and Granderson managed to do what only he could – he struck out twice in one at bat.

There were now two out in the innning. Yasmani Grandal took his third walk of the night, and Roberts made another critical mistake. He allowed Chase Utley, who looked lost at the plate all night, to bat again, and he struck out. The rally was over, and ultimately, so was the Dodgers’ chance at taking the pennant away from the Cubs.

The Dodgers lost tonight, by one tiny – yet gigantic – run.

 

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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21 thoughts on “Roberts Takes Foot Off Gas, Cubs Take Advantage, Beat Dodgers 3-2

  1. Oscar – that is a perfect summary.

    This is a game that should have been won.

    Arrieta was struggling early but we couldn’t take advantage.

    The bottom of the lineup looked weak before the game, but not as bad as things turned out!!!

    Not sure what the players in the Dugout must’ve thought when they saw Granderson & Utley in the On Deck Circle with the game on the line?
    Gotta be some of the strangest decisions in post season history.

    One of those 2 needs to be axed for Corey if we reach the WS. Half fit he would be better, and also Cody shouldn’t be batting 2nd.

    I don’t mind losing to the better team, but we could & should have been on our way back to LA to rest up, and align the rotation for the WS instead of having to play another game (hopefully only one).

    Looking forward to Michael’s assessment of Granderson’s contribution…

  2. Just seen Michael’s take on Granderson on previous thread – quite mild really.

    Still fuming 12 hours later.

    Hope Doc doesn’t live to regret this one.

    1. It was mild. But I was controlling what I really felt inside because I was hugely pissed. As soon as Granny walked to the plate I knew the rally was over. Utley, I can understand him hitting. He has had some huge hits for the team. To me the biggest problem is still the let the pitch you can handle go by and swing at pitches you have no shot of handling approach. Grander sin looked at at least 5 pitches in those 4 at bats that were right down the middle and struck out on those down and in pitches he had no chance of hitting. Utley did the same, and I did not realize until the announcers mentioned it that Utley was 0 for his last 21 plate appearances in the post season. But it is not all on them. Cody swung at and missed a pitch that was so far outside he needed a pole to hit it with in the first inning. When they did hit the first pitch it was usually at some one. Grandal made contact with one pitch and grounded out. But he did manage to walk 3 times. They simply did not take advantage of the opportunities that they had, unlike the first 3 games. They gave the Cubs a little life. Tonight they need to step on their neck early and keep them down. Instead of letting the Cubs strike first they need to put them on their heels. The earlier the better. Quintana pitched well for 4 innings last time. This time they need to go for a knock out punch. Give no quarter. As for Wood, it went about as expected for a guy who had not pitched since the last weekend of the season. Sans those HR’s it would not have been a bad performance. The BP was nails again.

  3. Reddickson only made any contact with the ball twice in 4 at bats, he was cleanly clueless and just whiffing.

    when i saw the lineup before the game, I got the same feeling as I got last year before being dismissed from the post season by the Cubs, “We can’t win with that lineup”.

    This giant turd falls solely on Roberts head, he should be embarrassed with his shitty decisions, both prior and during the game. Totally ridiculous and unnecessary. I know this may sound extreme but that type of decision making is how a manager has a whole team turn against him or as they say “He lost the team”. Now you have an understanding of what happened in Sept., Roberts took his foot off the throat of the opponents and the enemy arose while the team went into a funk. Total bullshit managing!

  4. I’m going to take a look at the lineup that Doc puts out tonight, that’s all I’ll need to know if the Dodgers stand a good chance of winning. Roberts shows his inexperience as a manager at times like these, we’ve seen it last year in the playoffs, we’ve seen it during most of September and it raised it’s nasty head last night.

    Kershaw has to take this on like a regular season start, whatever that means to him, because his post season starts are usually mediocre. However, it really might come down to Roberts and how he uses his bullpen. I think regardless of how the Kershaw is pitching that he has a 6 inning max put on him. Kershaw crumbles consistently in the 7th inning in the post season, if I recall correctly, hell his wheels even sometimes start to get wobbly and come off in the 6 inning. The bullpen is tough and good, use them Roberts early and often in this game tonight.

    At least Maddon torched his closer last night, using him for two innings and approx. 50 pitches.

    If we get a good lineup from Roberts (no Reddickson, no Grandull, no Utley), if we make Quintana throw a lot of pitches and get to the cubs bullpen early, and Kershaw is yanked in the 7th, we win going away. I guess what I am saying is I have confidence in our players but I am lacking confidence in Roberts abilities to manage a good game.

  5. Nomar and Orel talked about the change in the line up, and talked mainly about Granderson.

    They said Granderson had good pitches right down the middle to hit, and he would let them go, and swing at pitches out of the strike zone.

    And they also talked about how Granderson in the line up, causes the hitters in front of him, and behind him, to be pitched around, because Granderson is such an easy at bat, to get out!

    And that is why Grandal walked three times!

    I must say that non of our veteran hitters looked very good last night, including Ethier, but that is understandable, because Ethier has not been given many at bats, and many starts, mostly because of Granderson!

    But that is why I was hoping the front office would just realize that the Granderson move, just didn’t work out, and give another player a chance, to help the team.

    Not every move is always going to work out, so there is nothing wrong, with admitting that, and adjusting, and trying another player on the team.

    Because Granderson is lost, and Roberts can no longer give Granderson more time, to see what he can do, because this is a short series, and a very important series!

    And Granderson has been given more of a chance, then most any player would get, and he has hit one hundred points below the Mendoza line, since he has joined this team!

    And most major league hitters, even when they are slumping, don’t hit that far below the Mendoza line, so Granderson’s performance has not only been bad, it has been putrid, since he came to town!

    Nomar and Orel said this series is short and to important, so Roberts needs to go with his best line up, from now on!

    At least our top guys in our bullpen got some rest last night, while the Cubs wore there closer out!

    There closer doesn’t look very good at all, and that is why I thought Cody might get a hit in his last at bat, but I agree with Watford, Roberts needs to bat Turner second, from now on, so he is getting the most at bats on the team, just behind Taylor!

    1. Good info MJ about Orel and Nomar. Having basically 4 guys in a row that are not going to hurt you is beyond stupid. Essentially 6 thru 9 batters were going to be non-participants in the offense.

  6. Good game.

    Thought Wood was pretty good for a rarely used 4th starter.

    Granderson is lost. Grandal had some strong ABs, wouldn’t be opposed to going back to a straight platoon with Barnes.

    Utley in that final AB? Why? Culberson (spelling?) arguably could have done more. Farmer? Doubtful. Forsythe? Probably.

    Wonder if Granderson makes it onto the WS roster.

    1. Culberson was running for Grandal and was not available to pinch hit. Joc had already been used. Farmer would have been a better option or even Forsythe who has been having better at bats.

        1. I agree. Granderson in no way can be on a World Series roster and I do not care how many games the guy has played as a Yankee. That was years ago. If Houston pulls it out, he would be even less effective against their front line starters. Hell, I put Verdugo on the roster over that slug. But you know FAZ will be saying that is why they traded for him. He supposedly owned Arietta and Scherzer, did not look like that at all last night.

        2. Watford

          I will be thinking about you when Kershaw is pitching this game, because I am sure your nerves will be much like mine!

          Here we go again!

  7. I am looking at Kershaw to have one his better starts ever in the post season. He has been mediocre so far and I am sure Kersh is fired up to do a lot better than last start. So far his post season numbers leave a lot to be desired, and even though the Cubs won last night, they did not look great doing it. They are there for the taking.

      1. Really? They did not win a thing, they just stalled the inevitable. Had the Dodgers had someone down in the order who could actually hit the damn ball, it would not have turned out that way. Cubs have the same problem. All their runs came on HR’s too.

  8. I’ll take away from last night’s game Cody’s swing on the HR and on the double play which ended the game. Solid contact. Hopefully he is coming out of that malaise where he looked very unbalanced.

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