Dave Roberts Made The Right Moves; Dodgers Lost; It Happens

One of the things that was discussed often by John Smoltz, and really people everywhere was how Dave Roberts chose to manage Game Two of the World Series.  The end result of those moves was Brandon McCarthy, who was added to the World Series roster in place of Curtis Granderson, made his first pitching appearance since October 1st.  The end result was McCarthy allowing a two run homer to George Springer that ultimately decided the game.

Roberts had to go with McCarthy because he was his last reliever available as he went to his bullpen early in this game.  Oh, and by the way, all hell broke loose after the seventh inning.

In back and forth games like this, there is seemingly nothing a manager can do to stem the tide.  Sure, it helps to have your best relievers available, but Roberts already used his.  He was probably right to do so.  To that end, here’s each move he made:

Top of the 5th, Dodgers Down 1-0

At this point in the game, Justin Verlander had a no-hitter going, and he looked every bit as hittable.  At the time, Rich Hill limited the Astros to an Alex Bregman RBI single, but he was far from dominant allowing three hits and three walks.  At this point, if you are going to win this game against Verlander, you’re really hoping someone runs into one to tie it and let your dominant bullpen win the day.  For that to happen, you have to keep it as close as possible.  As a result, going to Kenta Maeda was precisely the right move.

Top of the 6th, Game Tied 1-1

Joc Pederson did exactly what the Dodgers needed tying the game with a homer.  After Maeda did his part keeping the Astros off the board in the fifth, he allowed a lead-off single to Carlos Correa.  After a Guerriel pop-out, the Astros lineup was L-S-L, which called for a left-handed reliever.  Roberts brought in Tony Watson, who did his job by getting Brian McCann to hit into the inning ending double play.

Top of the 7th, Dodgers Leading 3-1

Out of nowhere, Chris Taylor earned a two out walk, and Corey Seager hit a good pitch to give the Dodgers an improbable 3-1 lead.  The team would have only two hits until extra innings, but they certainly made them count.  To try to hold the lead, Roberts, who had pinch hit for Watson in the sixth, went to Ross Stripling.

If you want to ding Roberts, this is the spot.  After Stripling allowed a lead-off walk to Marwin Gonzalez, Roberts pulled Stripling from the game.  Apparently, he was not willing to let the game get out of hand, so he instead brought in Brandon Morrow, who induced Josh Reddick to hit into a double play to prevent the inning from escalating.

Top of the 8th, Dodgers Leading 3-1

Roberts tried to get some extra outs out of Morrow, who only threw nine pitches in the seventh.  After a Bregman ground rule double just out of the reach of Puig, Roberts didn’t take chances.  He went to Kenley Jansen, who has been as dominant a postseason closer we have ever seen this side of Mariano Rivera.

Yes, the Astros would get one back here, and they would tie the game on an unlikely Gonzalez homer off Jansen, but as any Mets fan that saw Tyler Clippard set the stage for disaster in Game 4 of the World Series, it was the right move.

In the end, Roberts went full bore for this win with a day off today giving his pitchers an extra day of rest.  He had the pitcher you wanted on the mound to close out the game to take a commanding 2-0 series lead.  Just because Jansen failed doesn’t mean Roberts was wrong.  Rather, it means it didn’t work.  Those aren’t always the same thing.

If the Dodgers win, we’re talking about Roberts the genius.  Fact is, we still should be because he did a great job getting his team on the precipice of a 2-0 series lead.

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