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Roberts Takes Bad Managing to 11 in Game One – Dodgers Lose 8-4

World Series, Game 1. Dateline: Boston

The first (and last) time these two teams met in the World Series, the Dodgers were known as the Robins. Their lineup featured a young Perfessor, Casey Stengel, and the Red Sox boasted an up-and-coming hurler by the name of Babe Ruth. Both players went on to forge their legends as New York Yankees.

After more than one hundred years, Dodger Blue and Boston Red are once again locked in battle for the most prestigious title in American Sports. What many consider to be the best team in baseball opened at home against the upstart, never-say-die Dodgers. The teams sent two of the best pitchers of a generation to the mound in the quest of the first Series victory. This was looking like a fight for every inch of scoreboard real estate.

Chris Sales cruised through a three strike out first inning, while Clayton Kershaw was in trouble immediately. After a botched pop fly behind first base, Mookie Betts got a second chance, and he turned it into a single and a steal of second base.  Kershaw gave up another single to right, and Yasiel Puig came up firing. It was an ill-advised and worse-executed throw to home. Puig missed high, and that gifted second base to Andrew Benintendi. Boston had the first run of the series.

Kersh got squeezed on his low slider by the ump, missed up high, and then delivered one belt level to J.D. Martinez (the old Dodgers nemesis from Arizona). Martinez drove the second run of the inning home with a single, and before you could say “Brooklyn Robins”, the boys were behind two runs.

Kershaw got a small measure of respect back when he picked off Martinez trying to steal second, and he finally closed out the messy inning with a pop up. Now it was the Dodgers turn.

At least, it was the DH, Matt Kemp‘s turn, as he blistered a Sales pitch up and into the Boston night. Kemp’s first World Series at bat yielded his first WS  home run, sailing over the Green Monster, cutting the Sox lead in half.

Kershaw still looked lost in the second as he walked the lead off batter and gave up a single. The Fall Classic gods weren’t entirely against Kersh as he got a ground ball and Manny Machado turned that into a double play to end the inning.

The Dodgers kept their bats rumbling in the second as well. They got three straight singles from Justin Turner, David Freese, and Machado. Manny’s single drove home Turner with the tying run. The Sox roared right back and retook the lead 3-2 in the third.

Ladies and gentlemen, we had a dogfight brewin’.

As vulnerable as Kershaw looked, the Dodgers had been steadily hitting the unhittable Sales. After Brian Dozier walked to start off the fifth inning, Alex Cora pulled Sales , who was at 91 pitches. Matt Barnes came on for the Sox, and Justin Turner greeted him with a sharp single to right. There were now two on with no out.

A passed ball advanced the runners to second and third for Machado. He blasted one straight up the middle for an out, but an RBI…TIE GAME!

After Kershaw walked a batter and gave up a single to start the fifth, his night was over. He left after fighting baserunners in every inning, and behind in the score. He was not impressive at all. Ryan Madson came in and immediately uncorked a wild pitch, advancing both runners. After a four pitch walk, J.D. Martinez approached the plate.

Madson struck out Martinez on three straight (but differently located) fastballs. But he was still surrounded by crocodiles. He got an infield hit that Machado nearly turned into a DP, but Xander Bogaerts beat it out by a glove lace. The runner scored. That was followed by a base hit that scored Kershaw’s second runner. The Sox went up 5-3.

Julio Urias came in to pitch an uneventful sixth, and the Dodgers had their first stress-free inning of the game. The question remained – Could the Dodgers’ bats respond in time to get them back into the game?

The Dodgers picked up back-to-back, one out singles from PH Max Muncie and Justin Turner in the top of the seventh. PH Yasmani Grandal picked up a five pitch walk, and up stepped Senor Manny Machado. He flied off the end of his bat for the second out, but he picked up an RBI, his third of the night. 5-4 Sox. Cody Bellinger stepped in and decided to swing for the fences. That plan didn’t work. Inning over.

Speaking of plans that didn’t work – once again Dave Roberts got too cute for the game, and he managed the Dodgers into a loss. Julio Urias began the seventh inning, but he gave up a ground rule double, and was replaced by Pedro “Nails” Baez. We can all agree that seemed sensible. A good move. Baez struck out two (with an intentional walk to JD Martinez in-between). The potential fire was being stomped out.

And then the skipper activated the “STUPID” button.

With Rafael Devers coming up, Roberts lifted Baez and inserted Alex “I’m That Guy in the Bullpen who Gives Up Postseason Home Runs” Wood. Rookie World Series manager Alex Cora snickered (probably) and he went to PH Eduardo Nunez. Wood did what Wood does. He gave up a three run home run and the Sox sat atop a Green Monster-sized lead of 8-4.

The rest of the game was played by marionettes silently running out the innings, while Dodgers fans sat in a slow burn, or simply went on to other activities that would hopefully not crush their souls.

Game 2 tomorrow. Dave Roberts will still be the manager, so stay tuned to the next episode of “Does It Learn?”

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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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.

19 thoughts on “Roberts Takes Bad Managing to 11 in Game One – Dodgers Lose 8-4

  1. Well, not the kind of first game we were looking for. Kershaw was definitely, “all too human”. Definitely not the dominating ace of old. Too much hype for the veteran Dodger to handle, looking for redemption for the past poor performances in the World Series.

    Offense did exactly what they could not afford to do. Once again, 12 strikeouts, 1-7 RISP, 7 LOB. The Notorious Lefty Lineup let the team down again. Boston gave the Dodgers plenty of opportunities to score, but the Dodger bats failed to deliver in the clutch. Boston put on an exhibition of Baseball 101: How to Manufacture Runs, and Take Advantage of Mistakes. I like Kiké, but I think it is time for him to sit. He has been getting way too much playing time, while he continues to slump.

    DR outmanaged by Cora. Dumb Move of the Day was bringing in Wood after Baez had struck out two batters, and needed just one more out to stop a threat. Wood quickly gave up a three run dinger to put the game out of reach. Never thought I’d live to see the day when I would say, “Should have left Baez in”.

    Must win tomorrow, and salvage a split. Lose tomorrow, and it would be almost impossible to recover.

  2. Weird move there, for sure, to have Wood come in for Baez. The computers malfunctioned there big time. Even if you sub out Baez I think you bring in Alexander there. If you are going to bring in Wood, bring him in a clean inning and don’t let Kershaw go through the top of the lineup a third time – they were lighting him up the first two times(!!).

    The bad news is that we are down 0-1. That happens to be the good news too, if you get my meaning.

    Let’s get them in game 2. I think this Red Sox lineup is very top heavy. If you can solve their hitters 1-5 we can win this series. That means pitching like the Astros were pitching us last year, with a lot of walks.

    1. Absolutely, Y.F.

      When you have a guy on the mound who just blew away two batters, dominating, and throwing B-B’s past the hitters, it does not matter which side of the rubber the pitch was coming from. Baez had command and was unhittable at that point. Absolutely unnecessary to bring in Wood.

      Wood blew it, put the game totally out of reach. Dodgers were only one run down, and at a snap of a finger where down by four. Now we are stuck with a shell shocked Alex Wood for the rest of the series. Too bad they left Caleb Ferguson off of the roster.

      I am so tired of metrics and Lefty/Righty matchups. The notoriuos Lefty Lineup of the Dodgers has to go… it fails more times then not, and gives the opposing pitcher an edge, as he does not have to adjust to batters from different sides of the plate.

  3. I just think Buck is an atrocious announcer. You can hear the absolute glee in his voice when the Red Sox scored or did something good. And his “not bad” comment on Kemp after he hit his home run was really bad. I miss Joe Davis a lot. Why can’t MLB find fair announcers?

    1. Joe Davis is a milk-toast announcer who usually has nothing important to say. No insights into the game, just a pleasant voice.

      1. I would still take him any day over Buck. I have never heard him say over negatively sarcastic remarks about the other team or players like Buck does or not give enough credit.

  4. Oscar, Roberts didn’t lose that game for us by inserting Wood into the game. It was 5-4, then the homer. The Dodgers did not score another run and lost 8-4. Where did you come up with 8-5 in your post? I will agree that I wouldn’t have subbed out Baez. He was a monster out there. High Heat. The game was hard fought but the Dodgers were going down even without that HR.

    As I said in another thread, I wouldn’t have started Kershaw. It was simply a knee jerk decision that had terrible consequences. Kershaw’s history of failed post-season starts should have been enough of a deterrent to throw him out there at a park he’s never pitched in with all the pressure in the world on his shoulders. Bad decision, Dodgers. Now they are really in the shit. This may also force Kershaw’s hand in opting out of his contract to see what the market will pay him. This is the kind of game that is money earned or lost for him. I would never pay him top $$ if I am a GM.

    Great to see Kemp connect on that long ball. Turner was solid, Machado drove in 3, & Freese continues to show us why he should be out there.

    Let’s hope for better times.

  5. Dave Roberts wanted Alex Cora to be his bench coach. Cora had other plans, and ends up outmanaging his buddy.

    Turner Ward’s assistant hitting coach in 2017, takes the head coaching job in Boston, and “schools” his former boss, at how the manufacture runs. Shows Ward that longball not the only way to win ballgames.

    It is no mistake that Boston won 108 games with its’ agressive, offensive attack. The key is to make contact, put the ball in play, let the defense make mistakes and capitalize on them. I hope DR and Ward are taking notes and studying videos of Boston’s relentless offensive attack.

    Stop playing games with Freese and Kemp. They deserve more playing time.

  6. Arg.

    Hate this kinda Monday Morning QBing.

    Woods pitch to Nunez was fine, it was better than fine. It was a good pitch at the guys ankle.

    Nobody ever commends Roberts or the analytics for the 95% of the time they work out. Nobody commends Nunez for coming in to a game cold and hitting a good pitch. It was a great hit, not bad managing taken to “11”.

    Makes no sense, but blame Roberts hopefully it draws responses. Maybe Package will call him Dummy again. He’s done that for less transgressions, if that’s possible.

    1. Bluto
      I think Roberts bringing in Wood was a huge mistake. He should have left Baez in. Just my opinion. Bluto, it is not like you have never made off the wall comments about me. You do it quite frequently. Can’t we just call a truce for the World Series?

  7. I needed some time to calm down from last nights game and I did not want emotion to be the center of my comments. I wanted to re view the game, and see exactly what transpired again. Bluto is right, Wood made a very good pitch. And Nunez did what he does a lot. That would be considered a bad ball, and Nunez is a notorious bad ball hitter, and he hit it out. But, lets be real here. The fact is if nothing else that Roberts made a bad decision at a key point in the game. They were down 1 run, 1 out away from getting out of the jam, and he did not trust one of his BEST relief pitchers to get the job done. Once again, as he did in last years World Series, he over managed. Alex Wood has been abysmal the entire playoffs. He has pitched 5.2 innings and given up, 5 walks, 2 hit batsmen, 7 hits, 3 of which were homers. Opponents are batting .292 off him. There were other options out there, and of course the option of leaving a guy who was on the beam in the game. Devers was hitting the ball well, but that was against Kershaw’s stuff. Jeff pointed out correctly that the Dodger offense did nothing after that inning anyway. He is right. But I think as soon as that ball sailed over the monster, the team was totally demoralized. Getting 1 run back is a lot easier than getting 4. In my opinion, Roberts bringing in Wood was one of the worst decisions in Dodger post season history. When I saw Wood coming in from the pen I actually said Oh NO! I had a bad feeling from the moment he stepped on the mound. Those post season homers he gave up were still fresh in the memory. The other bad moves in Dodger post season history were Dressen bringing in Ralph Branca to face Bobby Thompson, who had hit a homer off him 2 days earlier, and Walter Alston send Stan Williams out to face the Giants in the 9th inning of playoff game #3 in 1962 when he could have used Don Drysdale instead. The Giants scored 4 off of Williams and won the pennant. Roberts stated in his press conference that he was confident Wood could do the job. Wood did get 4 outs…..1 hitter too late. So it is on to game 2. Let us hope we see the Hyun Jin Ryu who has been so very good. David Price on the hill for the Red Sox, so the all righty lineup will be in play again. Freese, Kemp, Machado and Turner need to drive that bunch. Kike has been ineffective the entire post season and reverted to his early season struggles. I take Barnes defense over Grandal’s any day. Report today that Bryce Harper’s starting point for a contract is 350 million……McGwire not coming back to coach in San Diego. Ausmus the new Angel skipper and David Bell hired in Cincinnati. Roberts is getting hammered on twitter. And most of it is worse than when they lost the series last year, and this is only game 1. Lots of baseball left if the Dodgers get their act together. Otherwise this will be a short series. One last thought. Alex Wood is not a relief pitcher. He does not like to pitch in relief and has stated that many times. The Dodgers have 3 starters in the bullpen right now, Maeda, Urias, and Wood. Maeda and Wood have not been effective this playoff season. They would have been better served using either guys who are used to the role, like Stripling.

  8. Well, same old Lefty Lineup again tonight. I guess DR did not learn anything from yesterday’s debacle.

    Teams will continue to expose the weaknesses of the Dodger Lefty Lineup, and take advantage.

    1. Egad! Kike is still in the lineup? At this point he could not hit a little league pitcher. No change what so ever. Hmmmmm……..Well lets hope Price is off his game.

    1. Depends on what you are hoping for. Most here are good folks and try to look at it from both sides, but sometimes emotions do get a little over board. Welcome Saber…

  9. Agree Michael,

    About time for Kiké to sit. He has been given way too much playing time while nursing this miserable slump.

    Also not too crazy about Dozier leading off, and Freese back at First Base. Their lack of playing time at second and first respectively, contributed to some major defensive misques.

    Not getting a good feeling about tonight’s game. Has DR thrown in the towel already? In order to make a respectible run for the WS crown, they have to win tonight. They cannot afford to go down 2-0 to the Bosox.

  10. Bluto,

    The pitch by Wood was a decent one. Nuñez just went down and got it. The ability to go down with the pitch and hit it, has been a problem with the Dodger offense for a long time. A good hitter should be able to do it.

    Dodger hitters are basically in long ball mode. They are looking for the perfect juicy meatball to jack out of the park, and by doing so, just watch these hittable pitches fly over the plate. They get behind in the count and end up flailing desperately at a strike, or get caught looking. Their swings are not designed for contact, or protecting the plate. They only swing for the fence… a big reason for the double digit strikeouts just about every night. My philosophy is, if you can see the ball, you can hit it. Just make contact, go with the pitch, and put the ball in play. These constant Pop-ups, FC, GIDP, and KO’s will not get it done… that is what looping, long ball swings will get you.

    1. If you’ve noticed, the Dodgers batting strategy is to draw out the count and tire the starter, especially the LH pitchers, most of the time. Rarely, do they ever swing at the first pitch and this leads to more BB’s and SO’s, which the Dodgers excel in. Sometimes this works to their advantage but it doesn’t have anything to do with learning how to hit and how to place balls to certain parts of the field. I guess this is the Ward influence which has ended in two WS appearances back to back. It makes for boring baseball and the Dodgers are more or less, a boring team. Except for the HR, they have little life in them at the plate. How many times have you seen Turner get behind the count at 0-2? Turner is one of the few players that can survive that situation. Boston, otoh, is a dynamic, aggressive team that seems to have both the consistent hitting and power that makes a team enjoyable to watch.

  11. Mgmt repeatedly pulled pitchers who were doing great in complete command for Madsen who blew 2 or possibly 3 games. Sheer stupitidy or being paid to throw the game Friedman has to go. I don’t believe Roberts could be that stupid. BTW, same thing last year.

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