A friend of mine and I have been texting this evening about Dee Gordon's CS in the ninth inning of last night's game. With the Dodgers down 4-3, Gordon represented the tying run after he pinch-ran for A.J. Ellis with one out, after Ellis had earned a walk. PH Andre Ethier came to the plate.
First, there was a pickoff move by Craig Kimbrel to first. And then, on the first pitch of the AB, Gordon was off and running. Atlanta catcher Brian McCann threw to second, and even though Andrelton Simmons' tag looked a little late, the umpire called Gordon out. Replays were inconclusive; the play did look close. Gordon, upon getting called out, had this expression of indignant surprise, but he was polite and ran back to the dugout without argument. Two out. Game basically over.
I don't know why Dee Gordon is on the postseason roster, but I can tell you why he isn't on the roster. Gordon can't hit (.234 BA in the regular season). He doesn't hit for power; in complete contrast, Gordon annoyingly tries to bunt his way on incessantly, almost always with unsuccessful results, since he's not a very good bunter. And, to paraphrase Bill Plaschke: in one moment, Gordon is not a good fielder. In another moment, Gordon is not a good thrower, either.
Which leaves one tool left for Gordon to try and shine: speed. Dee Gordon is indeed fast, and if he could just figure out how to use that power for good, he could be transformatively powerful--sort of like Impulse of DC Comics.
But that means Gordon has to succesfully steal bases, and that means figuring out the right time AND making the play NOT close at second to begin with. In that situation, with the game on the line, Gordon has got to steal that base hands down, period. Otherwise, with the current state of the rest of his skills, Gordon is dead weight on the roster.
The Dodgers should have won tonight's game, but they didn't. I'm not alarmed yet; it's just unfortunate. But if we had come back from that 4-1 deficit to tie, or even win--that would have crushed the Braves like James Loney's grand slam crushed the Cubs in the 2008 NLDS. Gordon's whiff was a missed opportunity.
Look, we didn't lose this game because of Dee Gordon. But on the other hand, we didn't win that game, either, partially because of Dee Gordon.
We need more from you, Dee! Make those SBs happen, dammit.
photo: Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images