"The principal factor from this point forward may be endurance. Both teams are approaching the edge of what the body, specifically the throwing arms of their pitchers, can tolerate, and in some cases may have breached it. Two groups of pitchers who, almost uniformly, are reaching the point of diminishing returns, if not full-system failure.Consider Brandon Morrow. On Sunday night, the right-handed reliever was supposed to have been off-limits for the Dodgers, having already gone beyond his established limitations by pitching in four straight games, bisected by one off-day, and in 11 of the Dodgers' 12 total postseason games to that point.
But he was also one of the Dodgers' two or three best – responsible for nearly a quarter of the 28 consecutive scoreless innings the Dodgers' bullpen had amassed at one point this postseason -- and he thought he had an inning in his arm Sunday night. He phoned the dugout and told Manager Dave Roberts he wanted to pitch the seventh, with the Dodgers up by a run – a decision Morrow would later characterize as "selfish."
"In the seventh inning," Roberts said, "you can't turn him down."
Morrow would last just six awful, lifeless pitches, two of which left the park, propelled by the bats of Astros stars George Springer and Carlos Correa, two others of which produced hits and still another of which bounced away from the catcher for a wild pitch. By the time the Dodgers could get another reliever ready, Morrow had given up four runs and coughed up the lead. Roberts was only taking the word of one of his most trusted men, but with the benefit of hindsight it looks like a borderline case of medical malpractice.
The ranks of the overcooked and the flat-out burnt is long. It likely includes Astros closer (in name only) Ken Giles, a stalwart all season but someone the Astros studiously avoided Sunday night – even as they blew leads of 11-8 and 12-9 -- and probably can't put into another high-leverage situation the rest of the series.
There is no telling what the Dodgers can expect any more from Kenta Maeda or Kenley Jansen -- the latter widely regarded as the best closer on the planet, but who appeared a shell of himself, his velocity down, in giving up the winning run on Bregman's single Sunday night – or the Astros from top relievers Will Harris, Chris Devenski or Joe Musgrove. Now, at the end, the Dodgers are almost surely paying dearly – in dead arms – for the decision to pull Hill after four mostly effective innings in Game 2, and Darvish's subsequent, 1 2/3-inning dud in Game 3. Both exits, one forced and one unforced, necessitated long, grueling nights for the Dodgers bullpen, the toll of which has brought them to this point of danger.
And now, Roberts must stitch together enough outs out of the tattered shreds of his pitching staff to beat these Astros. He must do it with some key pieces diminished, and others completely useless. He must do it without getting anybody hurt. And if he manages to do it Tuesday, he has to come back on Wednesday and do it again."
………. Dave Sheinam Washington Post
.......... muses about ballgames and life in Las Vegas - particularly the long hours spent in the casino sports book surrounded by sexy cocktail waitresses, degenerate horse players, the Whale Man's entourage ....and the sheer terror of having Under 7 with 5 runs already on the board by the fourth inning".