The Dodgers lost game two of the World Series to the Red Sox 4-2 on Wednesday night at Fenway Park. It was certainly a demoralizing defeat as the Dodgers come home mired in an 0-2 series hole. Being down 2-0 in the World Series isn’t an insurmountable deficit but the Dodgers probably would have to win games 3 and 4 if they want to have a chance at winning the series. They’ll have to play nearly flawless baseball and it’s going to be a tough road ahead for them.
I understand that winning back-to-back pennants is difficult to do. The Dodgers are a good team, but let’s talk about some of the poor game decisions that were made in game 2. I feel if different choices were made then the Dodgers probably win. I think it’s ok to be able to criticize your favorite team and at the same time celebrate their accomplishments. I’ll never stop pointing out ways the Dodgers can improve their play and in-game management. So let’s get to it.
The first pivotal point came in the top of the fourth inning. Boston had a 1-0 lead and the Dodgers mounted a nice rally against starter David Price. David Freese and Manny Machado started the inning with consecutive singles and Chris Taylor worked a lovely walk. The bases were loaded and Matt Kemp’s sacrifice fly brought home the tying run.
At this point the Dodgers had the Red Sox on the ropes. After Kemp’s sac fly the Dodgers had runners at first and second with one out. Here’s where things get stupid. The next hitter up was Enrique Hernandez. As you all know Hernandez has been ice cold in the postseason. He’s had a great regular season but has gotten three hits this postseason and none since the division series. He went ohfer the entire NLCS. The wise decision there was to pinch-hit for him. Don’t let him bat with runners on base.
But you know the Dodgers. Management simply refuses to let a left handed hitter face a left handed pitcher…..ever. Even though Hernandez couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat. Yet he was allowed to face Price with two on and the Dodgers having a chance to put up some runs. To his credit, Enrique did work the count to 3-2, fouling off several pitches. Then he struck out. Such a wasted opportunity. Look if the Dodgers refuse to left a lefty off the bench (Joc Pederson, Max Muncy) who were clearly better options to get hits face Price, then you either have Yasmani Grandal hit from the right side of the plate, or and forgive me for even saying this, have Enrique lay down a bunt and move the runners over.
Because of he did that then Yasiel Puig’s base hit into center scores both runners instead of just one. The Dodgers have to stop letting cold bats stink up the lineup. Hernandez, Brian Dozier and Austin Barnes all suck. None of them should be allowed plate appearances with runners on base in crucial situations. I’m sorry to say this, but it’s the truth.
The second moment came in the bottom of the fifth. Starter Hyun-jin Ryu was breezing along. Ok maybe he wasn’t breezing but he was pitching pretty well. He was getting swings and misses and had allowed only one earned run up until that point. But Boston put together a two-out rally. Their two-strike approaches are phenomenal. Ninth-place hitter Christian Vazquez singles, and Mookie Betts also singles. Then Ryu gets squeezed a bit and walks Andrew Benintendi to load the bases.
The Dodgers have a couple of choices here. Either let Ryu finish the inning and get the third out, or bring in your hottest reliever to squelch this potentially game ruining rally. At this point the odds of the Dodgers scoring again were well…nill. You might ask how I knew this but I can just point towards the Dodger’s hitting futility this season. You would think the best thing to do here is bring in Pedro Baez. He’s actually been the best reliever for the Dodgers. Dude has been dealing this October, and has been blowing guys away. Needing one out, Baez would have been the perfect counter to kill Boston’s rally.
So what do the Dodgers do? They bring in Ryan Madson…..again. No offense to Madson here. I like him, and he’s provided the Dodgers with some consistency. He’s gotten some key outs for the Dodgers over the last several weeks. However he’s way past his prime and coming in with the bases loaded and no room for error is a recipe for disaster.
The most important thing for the Dodgers that inning is not only prevent the Red Sox from taking the lead, but not let letting J.D. Martinez reach the plate with runners on base. The Dodgers had one hitter to get before Martinez strode to the plate. That was Steve Pearce. Before you say anything, which matchup do you like better? Red hot Pedro Baez vs. Pearce? Or Madson vs. Pearce? I’ll l take the first choice in this one. Madson walked Pearce to force in a run, and then gave up a two-run single to Martinez that put the Red Sox ahead for good.
I’m sure I’ll hear all the apologists and optimists and people who never criticize giving me the same rhetoric. They’ll say things like….
“Do you know how hard it is to win consecutive pennants and win the World Series”?
Yes I understand that it’s hard, but good game management makes it easier to win games.
“You’ve never played baseball and never managed in your life”!
Correct. I’ve never played or managed a baseball game in my life besides little league action. I write about baseball, but don’t play.
“You think you could do better”?!?!
Probably not, but I hit for Enrique Hernandez in the top of the fourth, and bring in Pedro Baez to face Steve Pearce, and the Dodgers likely win the game.
“You’re just too negative! Stop complaining!” You complainer!!!! Arghghghghgh!!!!”
No, I just want the Dodgers to win a World Series before I shuffle off this mortal coil. Sometime within the next 50 years or so.
The naysayers can say whatever they want to me, but the fact remains that if the Dodgers want to win the World Series this year then the game management has to get better. I’m sorry but it just has to.