"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
Game #1. 9 innings. 3 -1 Dodgers win. 4 relief pitchers. 2 hours 28 minutes. Both SP's allowed to go 6+ innings.
Game #2. 11 innings. 7 - 6 Houston win . 14 pitchers used, 4 hours 19 minutes. Rich Hill for LA. has 4 IP, allows 3 hits 1 ER and is yanked. 8 relief pitchers follow in the loss. Insane managing.
Game 3. 9 innings, 5 - 3 Houston. 8 pitchers used. 3 hours 46 minutes. L.A. uses 5 relief pitchers in loss.
Game 4. 9 innings, 6 - 2 Los Angeles win. 9 pitchers used. 3 hours 6 minutes. Charlie Morten Houston: 6 IP.
3 hits. 1 ER. 7 K's and is yanked. 4 Astro relief pitchers follow in 3 innings and lose the game. Insane managing.
Game 5. 10 innings, 13 - 12 Houston. 12 Relief Pitchers used. 5 hours 17 minutes. Insane managing.
Game 6. Pre-game chatter. Both managers concerned their BP's are fatigued. WTF!! Ya Think?! Grow a pair and allow your very good SP to win the game for you and quit "over-managing"
.... some thoughts on the recently concluded series between the Yankees and Indians.
The Atlanta Braves for a good part of the 90's were a strong team every season, usually finishing first or second in the NL East. This was primarily due to their very strong SP during that span. Some people even credited Bobby Cox with that great run also since they claim he ran a 'loose' clubhouse and the players allegedly loved him. That may be true but here is the purpose of this post. When it came to playoff time the Braves woefully underperformed. They beat the Indians for a World Series title and lost one to the Yankees and that's it. Most years they failed to get past the opening round.
Why? Their great SP wasn't always so great and their pretty good hitters were consistently shut down by their opponents very good SP and BP's. It also appeared the 'relaxed' and 'contented' Braves could not find the next higher gear which is vital in the playoffs and Bobby Cox had no way to make that happen. That scenario may very well play out next season - and seasons to come - in Cleveland. A supposedly much-loved manager, loose clubhouse, great SP (that is not-so-great come playoff time) and a line-up of hitters who choke under the pressure. Braves and Indians; so much similarity.
I find it fascinating that MLB claims they want to speed up the games that now average 3+ hours but at the same time have added Instant Replay ..... to supposedly get umpire calls correct. Not only does this not shorten games but it sometimes has been a complete joke. The latest replay joke was last night in the Nationals and Cubs game pivotable loser-go-home contest.
Here is what took place on the controversial non-call involving the Cubs Javier Baez and the Nationals catcher Matt Wieters. Baez missed a pitch that then got away from Wieters, and two Cubs runs crossed home plate in the process. But here is the problem: Baez hit Wieters in the mask with his swing. At that point, it’s a dead ball and those two runs do not score. That has been a rule for DECADES, all the way from Little League to the Pro's. Amazingly the entire umpiring crew missed what happened but that’s supposedly why there’s replay, so that situations such as this one can be ruled on properly.
Ah, but there lies the problem. MLB in their always questionable wisdom has decided this situation is one of those things that’s NOT reviewable. lmao. Don’t ask me why, as I cannot explain MLB’s stance that says some things can be reviewed and others cannot. This make no sense at all.
There’s a really simple solution to this problem. Make everything reviewable at the discretion of the crew chief. There’s no question had the play been reviewed, the contact with the mask would have been conclusively seen and the two runs don’t score.
I think the current MLB playoff format is a joke and as a result we will no longer be publishing any MLB handicapped picks. Far to often since it's inception the Wild Card team has advanced at the expense of a superior, division winning team. The fans may love the 'ginned up' atmosphere' but to a purist like myself it wreaks of show biz. Probably the all-time worst playoff joke was the 2014 World Series when two wild card winners got hot for a 2 week stretch and ultimately faced each other in the world series. lmao. Or, how about the 2002 wild card winner Anaheim Angels who went on to win the world series? Or the Boston Red Sox in 2004? I could go on and on but I am sure get the point.
I would suggest if MLB really wanted to reward division winners they would reward them with 4 home games
in the 5 game series. If the wild card winner could then win 4 games on the road, good for them
.......... 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".