Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Post-NLCS Game 3 Thread: Dave Roberts Is A Genius, But SoSG Sax Deserves Credit For The Win

Darvish At The Bat

When the lineup for NLCS Game 3 was posted, I have to admit I thought Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts was nuts.

Cody Bellinger batting second so Puig could bat cleanup Andre Ethier, in his first start this postseason, batting fifth? Chase Utley, in his second start this season, batting sixth? Joc Pederson, who didn't even make the NLDS roster, batting eighth? What the hell is going on here?

And sure enough, all of Roberts' crazy moves paid off. Well, almost all of them: Ethier went 2-for-4 with a HR, and protected Puig, who went 2-for-5; Pederson went 1-for-3 with a run scored after hitting a double; only Utley went 0-for-3 and is hitless in this postaseaon.

But even the Utley thing could be tolerated (not only because we're down an infielder, with Corey Seager out for the NLCS), when Dave Roberts had the tactical cojones to bat Yu Darvish for himself in the top of the sixth, with two out and the bases loaded. Instead of substituting a pinch hitter, Roberts sent Darvish up to the plate. Darvish was 1-for-17 lifetime (.059 BA) with 14Ks. Darvish has a career OPS+ of 8. Darvish has one total base in his entire career.

But Darvish did some crazy bunt-feigning mime act up there at the plate, and on four straight pitches, Cubs pitcher Carl Edwards Jr. walked Darvish. The Dodgers stretched a 3-1 lead to a 4-1 lead with the bases-loaded walk, and from then on, Wrigley Field (to quote a tweet from Alanna Rizzo) quickly became a morgue.

Charlie Culberson was at the plate when, after feebly striking out, he watched Cubs catcher Wilson Contreras lose the ball of his bicep (that's why they give catchers that big glove, by the way) and scampered to first to extend the inning, allowing Logan Forsythe to score. Kyle Farmer, he of the 20 AB across his full career, came in to pinch hit and had a sac fly to score Austin Barnes and make it 6-1 LA.

Unbelievable, this Roberts guy. Every move he makes seems to yield dividends.


But the unsung hero of this game, however, was not Darvish and his game-winning line (6.1 IP, 1 ER, 7 Ks and 1 BB, and 1 RBI), nor Chris Taylor and his HR + triple night, nor even Roberts the genius himself.

No, that honor goes to me, and here's why.

Up 6-1 in the bottom of the ninth, Roberts went to Ross Stripling, who gave up the bullpen's first hit this whole NLCS and got into trouble when Alex Avila singled and Albert Almora Jr. followed with a ground-rule double that got stuck in the Wrigley ivy. The Chicago crowd started to stir. A HR from Addison Russell would make it 6-4 with none out.

Roberts, wisely, went to Kenley Jansen.

SoSG Sax, even more wisely, moved from the large living room television back to the smaller kitchen television, where the first eight innings of the game were watched and where the Dodgers were rolling.

Clearly, the change in television and room choices at the start of the ninth inning was not working for the Dodgers. So, sure, Jansen came in and got Russell to pop to first, and then Tommy La Stella and Ian Happ to strike out, ending the game. But the move back to the kitchen, when Stripling exited and Jansen entered, was a critical move and a tactical stroke of brilliance that will be discussed in history books forever more. Yeah, Roberts and Jansen had something to do with the Dodgers' preserving the victory, putting the team up 3-0 in the NLCS.

But we all know who really won the game last night for us.


Neeebs said...


Stay in the kitchen again tonight.

But remember, if you can't stand the know the rest.

Orel said...

Thanks for looking at this game from a different aspect (ratio)

Steve Sax said...

Thanks guys. To be fair, that Roberts guy is all right as well.

Steve Sax said...

And Pedro Baez gets a non-participation award

MR.F said...


Steve Sax said...

Woooooooo Darvish