Cruise control doesn’t work at Fenway

Other than a minor hiccup, Ryu was dispatching the potent Red Sox lineup with aplomb when he ran into the 9th hitter in the lineup. Unlike the National League, Ryu had to face a real hitter even though Christian Vazquez hardly qualifies as a real hitter. Vazquez was just about the worst hitter in the AL in 2018 so he shouldn’t have been much trouble when you consider the way Ryu was pitching. With only five pitches in the fifth inning, Ryu already had two outs and two strikes on Vazquez when he lofted a fly ball to right field

Dodger beat writer Bill Plunkett tweeted earlier in the day about how the Dodgers were going to play shallower after allowing too many hits to fall in front of them on Tuesday.

Yasiel Puig did not get the message and was not able to cover the ground necessary to catch the looping single by Vazquez. With two out and nobody on, and the extremely dangerous Mookie Betts coming up, I would have liked to have seen Puig layout for the single instead of backing off at the last second and playing it safe. The last person I wanted to see up was Mookie Betts with a runner on in the fifth inning, but when the ball landed that was what he had. Luckily enough, Mookie only hammered a single to center field. Ryu’s last hitter was going to be Andrew Benintendi and they had a nice battle but in the end, Ryu walked Andrew and that was it for him. Ryu had been in cruise control but was unable to finish the fifth on what might have been a harmless fly ball to right field if the Dodger outfield alignment hadn’t been so conservative.

Ryan Madson came in and it was certainly the right call by Dave Roberts to bring in a right-hander to face Pierce who has made a living crushing left-hand pitching but is 100 OPS points lighter against righthand pitchers. If Madson was the correct right hander that can be debated. I’d say no, because what we had was a one-run lead, with the bases loaded, and the guy you need to get out at the plate because after Pierce was arguably the most dangerous hitter in the American League.  I was wondering if Craig Counsel would have used Kenley Jansen in that situation? This is the World Series after all and down one game already you could make a case that getting Steve Pearce out was going to be the most important out of the game.  For any of that to happen, Dave Roberts would have needed to get Jansen warmed up as soon as Vazquez blooped his single. Anyway, Dave Roberts didn’t flinch and brought in the same guy who failed on Tuesday. On Wednesday he failed again when he walked Pierce on five pitches.

JD Martinez then lofted another single in front of the outfield and the Dodgers were down 4 – 2 and would never recover.

MLB writer Mike Petriello had tweeted about how the Dodger outfield was playing deeper than usual so far in the playoffs.

 

These are little things you won’t hear about when watching the game, but if you were listening to the radio you would have heard Rick Monday mention that the Dodger outfield was playing too deep. It is significant that Puig was 319 feet deep instead of 302. Very significant. The series might have turned not on the walk by Ryu or the walk by Madson but the depth of the Dodger outfield.

Anyway, Ryan Madson has a 0.00 World Series ERA. Possibly the most misleading stat you’ll ever read.

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