Notice how I used the term bullpen in parenthesis, because those collection of bums do not assemble a bullpen. The Dodgers suffered another painful loss at the hands of the Giants on Friday evening by a score of 3-2. The front office and Dave Roberts joined forces to not only steal history from rookie Ross Stripling who was pitching a no-hitter through 7.1 innings, but then handed the game to the Giants.
It was heartbreaking to watch. To make matters worse, Roberts was ejected in that awful eighth inning after running out to protect Hatcher who was arguing balls and strikes. Once again the Dodger’s moneyball created garbage bullpen stole defeat from the jaws of victory. Chris Hatcher allowed a two-run home run to Trevor Brown in the bottom of the eighth, and then Joe Blanton, Andrew Friedman’s “solution” to the bullpen problems promptly served up a walk-off home run to Brandon Crawford in the bottom of the tenth.
Dodgers 2 9 0
Giants 3 2 0
It was a dark and dreary night in San Francisco as the Dodgers gave the ball to rookie Ross Stripling. The 26-year old right hander dazzled and impressed into the eighth inning. He used a combination of super loopy curves, sliders, and 90+ heaters to keep the Giants off balance all night long.
By the time the fifth inning arrived, we knew there was something special happening. Stripling pitched 7.1 innings allowing one earned run on no hits, while striking out 4 and walking 4. He made 100 pitches, and was the only bright spot in this terrible game.
The Dodgers scored their two runs in the top of the fifth against opposing starter Matt Cain. Joc Pederson’s double down the right field line got the inning off to the right start. One out later A.J. Ellis singles to center to drive home Joc and give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead. After Stripling couldn’t get a bunt down, Chase Utley and Core Seager’s consecutive singles scored the second run to put the Dodgers head 2-0.
Stripling did have to battle out of a couple of jams. He issued back-to-back walks to Joe Panik, and Hunter Pence. He recovered to get Brandon Belt to fly out, and Matt Duffy to ground out. In the bottom of the seventh, a leadoff walk to Pence put the no-hitter in jeopardy before he got Belt to ground into a double play, and Duffy to ground out again.
Stripling took the no-hitter into the bottom of the eighth with a chance to make history, but his pitch count was rising. This is where things get frustrating for all of us. You guys know by now that I am not a fan of moneyball or sabermetrics, but things are starting to become clear.
Stripling got the first out of the frame when Brandon Crawford flied out to Puig. Then he walked Angel Pagan. His pitch count was at exactly 100. Dave Roberts walked out to the mound and immediately hooked him. As soon as Roberts hooked him I knew the game was blown. The Dodger’s bullpen is awful.
Roberts brought in Chris Hatcher and the game was immediately blown. Hatcher goes 3-0 to backup catcher Trevor Brown and then serves up a game-tying two-run home run. Let me remind you all that this is Trevor Brown. If it were Hunter Pence, or Buster Posey, or even Brandon Belt, that could be understood if not excused. This was Trevor Brown, the Giant’s backup catcher. He was working at in-N-out burger joint before he became a baseball player. TREVOR BROWN people! These are the pitchers Andrew Friedman acquires.
After that there wasn’t much point to watch the game anymore because I knew, like many Dodger fans did that the bullpen would just blow the game in extra innings, or in the ninth. Roberts came running out after the Brown homer to argue with the umpire when Hatcher took offense to his charitable strike zone. Roberts was ejected from the game.
Not like that mattered at all. The Dodgers miraculously got out of the inning, and somehow Pedro Baez pitched a perfect bottom of the ninth. Right hander Joe Blanton, Friedman’s “solution” to the bullpen problems immediately gave up a walk-off home run to Brandon Crawford in the bottom of the tenth. The Dodgers lose once again in agonizing fashion.
Before you start chastising Roberts let me remind you that Stripling’s pitch count limit was announced on the pregame show.
Pedro Martinez on MLB Network suggesting #Dodgers had "pre-set" 100-pitch limit for Stripling before game. That's not a Dave Roberts call.
— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) April 9, 2016
What a joke this team is sometimes. This could have been a magical night for the Dodgers and a real pick me up after Thursday’s debacle. Instead it’s just another embarrassing disaster. They robbed poor Ross Stripling of his chance at history. You could say it was the “right move” because of his Tommy John surgery in 2014. I can understand that you don’t want to blow out a youngster’s arm in the fifth game of the season. I just don’t believe that an extra 20 pitches on his arm was going to do that. Why not just ask Stripling how he felt? The kid is throwing a no-hitter in his MLB debut in your arch rival’s home park. The same arch rivals who demolished you the night before. You gotta let him finish the game. It’s his to lose. He had five outs left.
Especially considering that with a slim 2-0 lead the game is in danger as well. At the very least you can not lose the game. The bullpen is so bad that I would have rather left Stripling out there, even without a no-hitter going. This isn’t Robert’s fault. He’s only been on the job for a week. Andrew Friedman built a crappy bullpen with average pitchers. There were plenty of reliable relievers (Tony Sipp, Antonio Bastardo, etc etc) on the market available for purchase. Yes the Dodgers could afford to sign anyone of those guys, or all of them. They chose not to sign anyone decent. Everyone wanted to pitchfork Ned Colletti when he built a bad bullpen. Andrew Friedman should not get a get out of jail free card.
This is moneyball guys. Moneyball garbage. Acquiring reclamation projects, and below average pitchers on the cheap. The bullpen problem was never addressed. Expect many more losses like this one. What’s Hatcher have to say about this mess?
Perfect timing on the camera shot https://t.co/UQbIqtPZKS
— Baseball Bros (@BaseballBros) April 9, 2016
Are the Dodgers even going to win one of these games? Their only chance to not be completely disgraced lies with Clayton Kershaw. Saturday afternoon will see the first Clayton Kershaw vs. Madison Bumgarner match-up of 2016. It’s going to be quite a battle. Get ready to rumble!