Feebly into the night
Now we know what the fans of the 1966 Dodgers felt like after the Orioles swept them in four games. That series was known for the ineptitude of the Dodger offense and this one can sit right along with it. The difference being the 1966 team went into the World Series having scored only 606 runs while the 2018 team scored over 800 runs. The 1966 team was expected to win on the backs of the outstanding pitching staff and in 1966 that pitching held up their side of the bargain losing the final two games by the score of 1 – 0.
Maybe I should be talking about 1974 when the Dodgers lost in five games just as they did in the 2018 series. Except in 1974, the games were extremely close with the Dodgers losing three games by a score of 3 – 2. The expectations were also different because the 1974 team was brand new to the postseason. Just about everyone on the team was in the postseason for the first time so you could expect them to have some misfires while in the fire for the first time.
The 2018 team couldn’t possibly have anymore postseason experience. They have been in the postseason year after year and back to back World Series visits. The big debate will continue as to whether experience trumps skill but for this series, the best player for the Dodgers was the pitcher, pitching in his first postseason.
Players who did their part above and beyond expectations.
Walker Buehler, Rich Hill, and David Freese.
Players who were ok, Justin Turner, Muncy (one big hit), Puig (one big hit), Kershaw, Ryu, Urias
Everyone else was horrible.
Cody Bellinger had his second straight World Series with nary a positive impact. The Dodger catchers get their own special award for World Series offensive ineptitude. I don’t know how to search it via Bref play index but hard to imagine any position having a more meager offensive performance than the Dodger catchers over the past two World Series. Manny Machado can’t take off his Dodger jersey fast enough for me. If I hadn’t been a Dodger fan, and I was watching the postseason, just watching Machado would have been enough for me to root against the Dodgers. Kiké hit a pointless home run in game four but that couldn’t stop him from having one of worst Dodger offensive postseasons in recent memory that didn’t include Yazmani Grandal. Chris Taylor, Brian Dozier, and Joc Pederson just didn’t hit.
Play Play Play Play Play Play Play Play Name AB H HR RBI BA OBP SLG OPS Justin Turner 24 8 0 0 .333 .385 .417 .801 Manny Machado 22 4 0 3 .182 .208 .182 .390 Yasiel Puig 20 5 1 4 .250 .286 .400 .686 Max Muncy 17 4 1 1 .235 .316 .471 .786 Cody Bellinger 16 1 0 0 .063 .063 .063 .125 Enrique Hernandez 15 2 1 2 .133 .133 .333 .467 Chris Taylor 14 2 0 0 .143 .333 .143 .476 David Freese 12 5 1 1 .417 .500 .833 1.333 Joc Pederson 12 1 1 1 .083 .083 .333 .417 Austin Barnes 11 0 0 0 .000 .083 .000 . Matt Kemp 9 1 1 2 .111 .100 .444 .544 Brian Dozier 5 0 0 0 .000 .375 .000 .375 Yasmani Grandal 5 1 0 0 .200 .429 .200 .629 Totals 189 34 6 14 .180 .249 .302 .550
Clayton Kershaw started games one and five and didn’t pitch well enough for the Dodgers to win either game. Ryan Madson did him no favors in game one, but it wasn’t like he wasn’t being hit hard when he was forced to leave the game in the 5th inning. In game five dingers were the story, early, and late. He was awesome however from the 2nd – 5th innings, something the Kershaw postseason apologists can hang their hats on as they discuss his postseason legacy. The Dodgers weren’t going to win game five unless Kershaw was going to throw a shutout but that became a moot point when Pearce took him deep. Kershaw did keep the team in the game until two of the best hitters in baseball took him deep in the 6th and 7th. See, a Kershaw apologist lives within me, even now.
Enough can’t be said about what Walker Buehler did in game three.
Rich Hill almost duplicated that effort in game four but was taken out with one out in the 6th after issuing a walk The next hitter was left-handed Brock Holt and Hill had walked him and gotten him to ground out in his previous two at-bats. Dave Roberts in possibly his worst managed game in a World Series which is saying something, pulled Hill and went for Alexander hoping for a double play. The score was 4 – 0 at the time with one out in the 6th. By the time Roberts stopped pushing his buttons, the Red Sox would score nine times and the series was effectively over.
Ryu, like Kershaw in game one, deserved a better fate. Ryu pitched extremely well for fourteen outs. He was in cruise control getting the first two outs in the fifth and had two strikes on the worst hitter in the Red Sox lineup. One more good pitch he would be into the 6th, and he made that good pitch, but Vazquez looped the single into right field in front of Puig. Now it was trouble, and the Red Sox would put up a three-spot against Ryu/Madson.
All in all, I thought the Dodger rotation did the job well enough that if the bullpen had done their jobs, and the offense had hit even a little they could have taken this series to seven games.
The idea that the Red Sox are some legendary team just seems like a rationalization for having lost to them. Any team getting beat by Steve Pearce shouldn’t be putting the tag of legendary on them, they should be looking in the mirror.
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