Dodgers can’t score, Hill can’t finish

The story after three innings was Rich Hill setting a bizarre Dodger record. Hill recorded seven strikeouts in his first three innings something no other Dodger had ever done. The twitter and blogging world were agog with his success but it seemed that maybe they hadn’t noticed that Hill needed a Houdini double play to even get out of the 2nd inning unscathed.

I put my worry into words:

all this is great but will be a moot point if he doesn’t go five with the lead.

by meercatjohn on Oct 9, 2016 | 11:35 AM

And sure enough in the 4th inning after multiple beautiful curves, he hung one to the worst hitter in the National lineup, and Lobaton proved that even the worse hitter can hit a hanging curveball a long long way.

Hill would not even go five innings and left with the team behind 4 – 2. Eventually, the Nationals would score once more  against the bullpen and win the game 5 – 2

The Dodgers had plenty of chances against Roark but simply couldn’t get the big hit they needed. Cory Seager started the offense off on the right foot once again slugging his 2nd home run of the series to get the Dodgers up 1 – 0. Better yet, Seager did it after Roark had fired a fastball over his head.

The Dodgers would get their second run on a single by Reddick to drive in Turner. Turner should have been out if the catcher had held onto the wrong side throw by Harper. At that point, Lobaton was wearing the goat ears.

Lobaton had hit into a double play that didn’t seem possible back in the 2nd inning. With the bases loaded he hit a ground ball back to Hill. Hill bobbled the ground ball and then threw the ball underhand to Grandal to get the force at home. To the amazement of everyone, Grandal fired to first and still got Lobaton at 1st place for the double play. That might have been the slowest moving major leaguer I’d ever seen, but at least he had a reason given he was playing on a bum ankle.  When Lobaton dropped the throw from Harper that was two strikes against him.

But they couldn’t get the third strike and when Lobaton had deposited the ball into left field it was quite a ride from the basement to the penthouse.

Squandered opportunities abounded early:

  • The Dodgers loaded the bases in the 2nd but had Rich Hill coming up. He made his predictable out, and Chase made the 3rd.
  • The Dodgers loaded the bases in the 3rd with only one out and one run in.  They were up 2 – 0 at that point and anything might have driven the nail in the coffin. Anything but a DP. Grandal hit into a DP.
  • The Dodgers loaded the bases in the 5th with only one out. This time, Grandal did not hit into a double play, he struck out. Howie Kendrick pinch hit for Toles and worked the count full and struck a line drive, but it was right at Werth.

I’m not a fan of pinch-hitting for starting players in the fifth inning. The Dodgers started these guys for a reason and even though the Nationals have three left-handers in the bullpen the two best bullpen pieces are right handed.

Craig Minami suggested the Dodgers would be ill advised to knock out Roark early since the Nationals do have those three left-handers.

Craig was right,  until the Dodgers can do something/anything against a left-hand pitcher they can’t aspire to go very deep in a postseason run.


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