In a game where the two best hitters struck out 7 out of 10 plate appearances, this was a very hard game to watch much less write about. Unfortunately for the good guys, JT’s strikeouts were much more problematic than Christian Yelich’s. The Blue put up a good fight late, but Game 1 goes to Craig Counsell in his chess match against Dave Roberts. It appears that Counsell played Roberts by starting LHP Gio to get the RH hitters, and then brought in RHP Brandon Woodruff in the 3rd. In the meantime, Clayton Kershaw showed us again that he is not the Ace he once was and should not be considered one…at least in the playoffs.
How does a $30MM pitcher give up a HR to a relief pitcher, and how does a $30MM pitcher last 3 IP in a NLCS game? And please do not bring up David Price because he has never pitched well in the playoffs and he hasn’t pitched well for the last two years. None of Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel, Gerrit Cole, or Chris Sale give up the HR to Brandon Woodruff. But then Hyun-Jin Ryu probably does not either, and really neither do any of the other Dodger starting pitchers, including the much maligned Alex Wood. The story line going into this NLCS was that the Dodgers were favored because of their advantage in starting pitching. It just did not happen with Kershaw in Game 1.
Counsell got Roberts to use Max Muncy for David Freese in the 4thinning, taking Freese was out against LHP Hader and Cedeno. Because Kershaw had his worst outing of the year, the Dodgers used Madsen in relief in the 4thand then had to use Dozier as a PH in the 5th. The Dodgers then proceeded to use five relief pitchers. Fortunately for the Dodgers, the Brewers used 6 relievers. Of course, all of the Brewers relievers are relievers and all except Hader will be available for Game 2.
I am sorry but the NLCS is not a time to experiment with a pitcher out all year with a shoulder injury. If Alexander is hurt (no word that he is), there was still Josh Fields whoISa relief pitcher who could have been used. The Brewers are only using 2 LHRP, but the Dodgers needed three, one of which who has not pitched almost the entire year? This is not a knock on Julio Urias, who may very well be that dominant LHSP that many hoped he would become. But to be asked to be a reliever in a NLCS after not pitching for the vast majority of the past two years??? This is not May or June. This is October and the NLCS.
For all of those that were so quick to blast Alex Wood for giving up a HR to Freddie Freeman, I hope you are all just as quick to hold both Kershaw and Urias to the same level of expectation of perfection.
For the 1st7 innings, other than Manny Machado, it was very hard to come up with anything positive out of this game. Machado and Kemp get RBI singles in the 8thto get close, but with 13 strikeouts, it is hard to get runs in. It was extremely hard to watch Puig and JT K with a runner on 3rd. At least with a ball in play, there is a chance. Geez, the Dodgers batters have to do something to change their approach with 2 strikes!!!
And then there were the 4 errors, 2 by Grandal along with 2 passed ball. It was certainly not a great defensive game for our catcher. That is not to mention the 4 strikeouts, 2 with runners in scoring position, and a fielding error by JT.
Not everything was a bust, especially in a 7-game series. The Dodgers did come back from 6-1 down to make it close. They were in a position to win this game. CT3 had a 3 hit game, Machado had a 3 RBI game, Kemp had 2 hits including a key hit in the 8th. Two of Chris Taylor’s 3 hits (including his triple) were against RHP. He has the hot bat, and maybe should stay in the lineup. We know he will be with Miley going in Game 2.
Hader went three innings in Game 1, so it will be extremely hard for him to come back for Game 2. The object was to come to Milwaukee and split so they could come to LA to win it in 5. As bad as Kershaw was tonight, I cannot remember him being bad two playoff games in the same series, and he is due to be back for Game 5.
It was never going to be easy. This year’s team seems to play at the next level when the situation seems the most bleak. The team is now down 1 game to none and have Hyun-Jin Ryu going in Game 2. The Dodgers still have the advantage as long as they win Game 2. If Hader is not available tomorrow, I like the Dodgers chances. They will need to be patient and not overswing against Miley, but they can hit him. As I said after Game 3 in the NLDS, KEEP THE FAITH. Even after a poor Game 1, the Dodgers will prevail.