Last night’s comeback victory was typical of how the Dodgers have came back to win all year, but this one was different in that Dave Roberts did not try and exploit the usual matchups. It was not an analytic driven win. As much as some may dislike, it was a win that was made on “gut feelings” as much as analytics. I thought Dave should have left Rich Hill in the game until it looked like he had lost it. He clearly hadn’t lost it after 4 innings. Doc did leave Alex Wood in for 5.2 innings while he was throwing a no hitter, but when he gave up his first hit (which happened to be a Big Fly), Dave yanked him. I thought that was a good call.
However, the lineup was not analytics driven as the Dodgers had 6 RH batters in the lineup against a RH pitcher. Using sabermetrics, you might have seen Utley instead of Forsythe, Ethier instead of Hernandez or Grandal in place of Barnes. One thing this lineup did is improve the defense. Andre Ethier is a liability in LF and Logan Forsythe is much better than Chase Utley. Look, I am all for statistical analysis and all the possibilities that it brings, but it was a breath of fresh air to see Dave Roberts, when the Dodgers were down 2-1 go with his “gut” and not purely follow the numbers.
Sometimes, you just have to change it up and trust the guys you put out there. When they see the trust you place in them, they often rise to the occasion. Barnes, Hernandez and Forsythe all played roles in winning that game, but no one came up bigger than Cody Bellinger who was stone-cold, dead and buried by many, and Joc Pederson, whose struggles have been well documented. Joc appears to have accepted that what he was doing was not working. He is evolving and it appears to be working. Wouldn’t if be wonderful to see him get a few more hits and win the Series MVP Award? Talk about coming full circle.
I knew Bellinger would adjust – it took him some time, but he will be a force the rest of the way. Alex Wood was amazing, especially considering how little he has pitched in the last 30 days. If the series goes 7, I would think he might be available to pitch a couple of innings, if needed. He was not awed by the Big Stage and neither was Charlie Morton. That guy pitched one amazing game too. Brandon Morrow and Tony Watson did their part, but I do not want to see Doc bring Kenley in for a 6 out save. His ERA is 4.50 against the Astros. He is not automatic against them.
Now, it’s back to Kershaw and Keuchel tonight. This is Clayton’s opportunity to throw that playoff monkey off his back once and for all. He needs to pitch the game of his life. No pressure! Just like last time. A dominate performance by Clayton tonight with the team headed back to LA would be HUGE! My only question is: Will we see Joc at DH again, or will it be Grandal or Ethier (that would defy the analytics, but maybe it all does)?
Photocredit: Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers