This is National League baseball
Dave Roberts had a big decision to make, and only in the National League does this decision get to be made. His team was leading 1 – 0, his best starting pitcher, the best starting pitcher of his generation was pitching. It was the bottom of the 8th, and Clayton Kershaw was due up with a runner in scoring position.
Does Roberts pinch hit for Kershaw knowing he has Kenley Jansen ready to close out the current 1 -0 game while giving him a better chance at scoring a 2nd run?
Does Roberts let Kershaw hit, close out his own game?
Roberts let Kershaw hit, he walked, but Logan Forsythe struck out for the 4th time in the game and the runner was left stranded at second. In the top of the 9th, the Cardinals scored the tying run on a fluke play and the critics of the move felt that Kenley Jansen should have been pitching the 9th.
I think in this case you could argue either way. I was okay with the Roberts decision, though I could understand the thought process of those who felt Roberts should have pinch hit, gone aggressively for the second run, and let Jansen close it out.
What I can’t get behind is that this was a slam dunk decision. I really think it was 50/50 with good arguments on either side and that it just didn’t work out.
Pro Roberts Decision:
- Kershaw was cruising as only Kershaw can cruise
- Kershaw pitch count was completely under control and there were no signs of struggle
- Even in today’s game, a CG/Shutout means something to the pitcher. Does that make him bigger than his team by letting him go for it? Maybe. In this case Jansen was available. But what if this is October, and Jansen has pitched two straight games and is tired, and you have a cruising Kershaw? If he had bagged this game, that is just one more mental component that would help him in that October game if you don’t have a Jansen fall back. Or in a more simple sentence, Roberts went for the long game.
Anti Roberts Decision:
- Getting the second run with Jansen on the mound makes the lead just about 99.9% in the bag
- Jansen in the 9th, is better than Kershaw in the 9th
- A team win is more important than letting a pitcher go for CG/Shutout
I get it either way, I just don’t think either decision was a slam dunk.
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