October 27, 2018

World Series 4: Red Sox 9, Dodgers 6

Red Sox - 000 000 315 - 9  8  1
Dodgers - 000 004 002 - 6  9  0

The Red Sox were baffled by Rich Hill (6.1-1-1-3-7, 91), but the Dodgers lefty was not going to pitch a complete game. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts probably wishes he had left Hill out there until he either finished the contest or collapsed from exhaustion, because once Hill was gone, with one out in the seventh and a man on first, the Dodgers' 4-0 lead quickly evaporated.

Only three batters after Roberts entrusted the game to his bullpen, Mitch Moreland crushed a pinch-hit, first-pitch, three-run homer off Ryan Madson. It was measured at a suspiciously short 437 feet. Madson has now allowed all seven of his inherited runners to score in this series, the number of them setting a World Series record he likely won't be bragging about to anyone. Madson has been charged with only one run, however.

Steve Pearce knotted the game in the eighth with a solo blast off Kenley "I-Gave-Up-A-Game-Tying-Dong-To-Boston-Two-Games-In-A-Row-And-All-I'm-Going-To-Get-Is-This-World-Series-Losers-Share" Jansen. Rafael Devers broke the tie with a pinch-hit single in the ninth and Pearce put the victory on ice with a three-run double.

Before tonight, the Dodgers were 54-0 this season when they held a four-run lead in a game at any point. ... This game was played in under four hours: 3:57! Blink and you'd miss it!

The Red Sox can win their fourth World Series championship in the last 15 seasons - and ninth overall - with a victory tomorrow night. David Price - not Chris Sale, as expected - will start Game 5.

As noted, the Red Sox were having no luck against Hill and his mega-nasty curveball. He walked a batter with two outs in each of the first two innings and he hit Eduardo Rodriguez in the right arm with a 2-2 pitch to begin the third. (A pitcher had not been drilled in a World Series game in fifty years. Nelson Briles of the Cardinals was hit by Detroit's Mickey Lolich in Game 5 of the 1968 World Series.) Christian Vazquez got Boston's first hit, a single to left with one out in the fifth inning. It came two pitches after he nearly hit a home run down the left field line.

Meanwhile, Rodriguez was having similar success with the Dodgers. He also issued a walk with two outs in the first and gave up a two-out single in the second and a leadoff single in the fourth. But nothing came of either baserunner. In making this start, Rodriguez was the first pitcher to relieve in a World Series game and start the next day's game since Firpo Marberry did for the 1924 Senators. Marberry got one out in Game 2 and started Game 3, lasting only three innings. The list of pitchers to do that is heavily weighed towards the Deadball Era:
1906 Game 6: Doc White (White Sox), relieved in Game 5, started Game 6
1908 Game 2: Orval Overall (Cubs), relieved in Game 1, started Game 2
1910 Game 5: Mordecai Brown (Cubs), relieved in Game 4, started Game 5
1911 Game 6: Red Ames (Giants), relieved in Game 5, started Game 6
1924 Game 3: Firpo Marberry (Senators), relieved in Game 2, started Game 3
2018 Game 4: Eduardo Rodriguez (Red Sox), relieved in Game 3, started Game 4
As the Dodgers batted in the bottom of the sixth, neither team had advanced a runner past first base. Rodriguez hit David Freese with his first pitch of the inning. He struck out Max Muncy on three pitches, but Justin Turner doubled down the left field line, with pinch-runner Enrique Hernandez going to third. The Red Sox decided to give Manny Machado (who had whiffed on an 88 mph changeup down the heart of the plate in his previous at-bat) an intentional walk, loading the bases for Cody Bellinger.

Bellinger hit the ball on a hop to Pearce at first. Pearce threw home, forcing Hernandez and Vazquez's throw back to first was too close to the runner and Pearce could not get on the other side of the runner to catch it. The ball also eluded Brock Holt, who was backing up the play along the right-field line. Turner scored and Los Angeles had men at second and third with two outs. Yasiel Puig then battered a 2-1 pitch to deep left field for a three-run homer. Puig raised both hands in the air in celebration and Rodriguez - disgusted and frustrated and angry - took off his glove and slammed it into the dirt.

It felt like Alex Cora had left a possibly gassed Rodriguez in the game too long. But looking at my scorecard, I don't see any evidence for that. He hit his first batter, but got a quick strikeout. (Maybe here is where you'd pull him?) Turner doubled. Machado was intentionally walked and Rodriguez got what probably should have been an inning-ending double play. And then Puig went boom.

In the Red Sox dugout, things were not good. Alex Cora: "We felt that we had no energy, actually none whatsoever. It had to do with Rich Hill, the way he was throwing the ball." ... Then Chris Sale started yelling. "He's got two fucking pitches!", Sale hollered, holding two fingers up in case anyone did not understand how disgusted he was at his teammates' inability to hit Hill.

Rafael Devers admitted that Sale "scared me a little bit, because I had never seen him yell like that, and the words that he was saying, I had never heard that come from him before. But ... that moment helped us get motivated for the rest of the game."

Brock Holt was down in the tunnel and heard someone yelling. He asked Mookie: "'Who's yelling up there?' He said, 'Sale.' Oh, my God. He was mad at us. ... We didn't want to see him mad anymore. So we decided to start swinging the bats a little bit."

Hill walked Xander Bogaerts to start the seventh and after he struck out Eduardo Nunez for the third time, Roberts went to Scott Alexander. He faced only one batter, throwing four balls to Brock Holt. Then it was Madson's turn. Jackie Bradley batted for Vazquez and popped to second baseman Hernandez, who made a tough catch in short right field with his back to the infield. Moreland batted for Matt Barnes and wasted no time, sending the ball so deep into the outfield seats that Puig did not even move.

Suddenly, there was confidence. The Red Sox may have been trailing by a run, 4-3, but they had the Dodgers right where they wanted them. (The Dodgers may have had a sinking feeling that they were sunk.) Roberts's decision to lift Hill was undoubtedly criticized on Twitter, especially considering the final score, but who knew that The World's Most Famous Troll would put his two cents in:

Joe Kelly struck out Joc Pederson to begin the bottom of the seventh. Max Muncy singled with two outs, but Turner flied harmlessly to center.

Jansen trotted in for the eighth and I have to think the Boston hitters were smiling. Andrew Benintendi grounded to first, but Pearce homered to left-center on the first pitch he saw, a cutter that was a little more inside than right down the middle. 4-4.

I was surprised to see Kelly on the mound for the eighth, even though Craig Kimbrel had been warming up. Kelly pitched in 73 games this year, but in only six of them did he pitch more than one inning. He pitched two innings twice, both in April. Machado singled to right-center but Kelly struck out Bellinger. Puig grounded to shortstop. He ran hard for about 70 feet, then decided that was enough and slowed up. He still beat the relay from second, but it was extremely close. Kelly threw a strike to Chris Taylor, but plate umpire Chad Fairchild called it a ball. Taylor singled to left on a 2-0 pitch and Puig went to third. Yasmani Grandal pinch-hit and after taking strike two on a pitch low in the zone, he swung and missed a fastball up and away at 98. Whew.

After eight innings, the game was tied 4-4 and the prospect of extra innings was very real. Dylan Floro started the ninth for Los Angeles and Brock Holt slapped a one-out double down the left field line. Devers batted for Sandy Leon. He took two balls before grounding a single through the infield and into right-center. Holt scored, giving the Red Sox their first lead of the game.

Blake Swihart grounded to second. The Dodgers walked Mookie Betts (4-for-19 in the WS, .211) intentionally and Alex Wood faced Benintendi. Wood got ahead 0-2 but Benintendi hit a slow grounder towards third. Turner ran in on the grass and make a quick throw, but it was still too late. the bases were loaded for Pearce and Kenta Maeda came in.

Pearce swung and missed the first pitch and lined the second one to the wall in right-center. With two outs, everyone was running on contact and they scored easily. After J.D. Martinez (who had struck out three times in four trips) was given a free pass, Bogaerts worked a full count and drove Maeda's seventh pitch out of the reach of Machado's left into left center, driving in Pearce with the inning's fifth run.

Kimbrel began the ninth by walking Brian Dozier on four pitches - though the first one was a strike and the second and third balls could easily have been called strikes. Fairchild's zone had been pretty solid through the first half of the game, but it got worse in the late innings. He missed four obvious strikes in the bottom of the ninth.
Hernandez homered to left-center, cutting the Red Sox's lead to 9-6 and getting Cora to tell the bullpen to have David Price start throwing. Kimbrel threw a strike to Muncy, but Fairchild called it a ball. Muncy grounded to shortstop for the first out. Turner singled to left. Machado grounded to Devers's right side. Devers went down to a knee, stood up, set himself and fired to first, nipping the runner by a step. It was a fantastic play, especially considering I was hoping that he would just hold the ball rather than possibly throwing it away. But his throw was on the mark for the second out.

Fairchild did his best to prolong the game, to give the Dodgers every chance to comeback, without making his efforts too obvious. He refused to call strikes on Kimbrel's first and third pitches to Bellinger. Because Bellinger fouled off the second pitch, that should have been a game-ending strikeout. But the Human Element forced Kimbrel to throw four more pitches. Bellinger flied to left, Benintendi squeezed the ball in his glove, and the Red Sox were one win away from the mountain top.

Eduardo Rodriguez / Rich Hill
Betts, CF
Benintendi, LF
Pearce, 1B
Martinez, RF
Bogaerts, SS
Núñez, 3B
Holt, 2B
Vázquez, C
Rodriguez, P
Eduardo Rodriguez has pitched in two of the three World Series games, but he has thrown only nine pitches (three in Game 1 and six last night in Game 3). Rich Hill has pitched only one inning since he went five innings in Game 4 of the NLCS on October 16. That relief stint was in Game 6 on October 19.

Manager Alex Cora said that Chris Sale, David Price, and Rick Porcello all volunteered to start tonight's game.

Dan "CHB" Shaughnessy is nothing more than a clickbaiting troll. His Globe column this morning is headlined: "What Once Seemed Certain For The Red Sox Is Now In Doubt". And for reasons that make sense only to him, he mentioned Bill Buckner twice. He writes: "The series looked like it was over, but now it looks like it could go seven with the Dodgers lined up to used wonderboy Walker (No Days Off) Buehler in Game 7."

2-0 = "It's over. 2-1 = "Sure thing now in doubt". ... Why would it look like the series could go 7 when the Red Sox easily could win in 5? That's just wishful CHB thinking. (Maybe he can get another 'curse' brewing.*) Shaughnessy, who referred to this team as dull, emotionless automations this summer, sees the Red Sox win two of three games and tries to spin that as having their backs against the wall. (*: It's entirely possible. Fox's Joe Buck, in a short comment about the 2004 team, mentioned "breaking the curse" twice, but made no mention of Boston winning its first title in 86 years. Buck chose fiction over fact (and then repeated the ghosts-and-goblins tale).) 

The only reason to even look at a Shaughnessy column is to ridicule him. If you get any amount of your baseball news from him, please, stay far away from this blog.


Paul Hickman said...

I'd call THAT a response !!!!!!!!!

The Response of a Champion Team ?

MThomas said...

We need a nickname for Machado, who, after kicking Aguilar's ankle in the NLCS, just intentionally landed on Pierce's ankle/heel on that run to first.

I was thinking Stompy, in remembrance of Slappy, who is not too often referenced anymore.

Straddling the Border said...

All's well that ends well, but I hope someone more knowledgable than I am will comment on Rule 5.09(a)(11) in relation to Bellinger's route to first base resulting in Vasquez's error, whether that was appealable or reviewable, what Alex Cora and the umpires did or did not discuss, and the television and radio announcers' pertinent comments. WEEI's Castiglione, Neverett and Merloni paid more careful attention to it than the Fox and AM 570 LA Sports crews did, but frustrated me by concluding that although Bellinger violated the rule, "They never call it". The Fox guys were appalling, saying "He runs inside the line, no fear of interference", "And that trip down the first base line looked perfectly fine."

Paul Hickman said...

Tronald Dump the MLB Manager ?

STREWTH !!!!!!! Lord spare us ......

Given the way the Dump Administration has completely "butchered" everything in sight , Tronald Dump would be the only Manager who could make the Cleveland Spiders from the 1880s "worse" !!!

It's just a pity he's not in the correct Century ......

Mind you , I'd gladly volunteer to "transport" the NOT ( Nasty Orange Turd ) back in time , for the sake of Mankind !!!!!!!!

Dr. Jeff said...

MThomas is right. How can Buck possibly say that Machado was "just trying to get to first" when he intentionally kicked the first baseman from the Brewers in the NLCS? Buck has been willing to call out Machado for his laziness, but I think he should have at least raised the possibility that it was intentional. I would be happy if Price plonks Machado at some point in G5 after we have a 5 run lead.

Straddling is also right. I can try to get a screenshot, but I thought Bellinger was inside the line. "They never call it" in real time is true, but they MIGHT have called it if the play was challenged...

Jere said...

"Straddling is also right. I can try to get a screenshot, but I thought Bellinger was inside the line. "They never call it" in real time is true, but they MIGHT have called it if the play was challenged..."

Fox, who is rooting for the Dodgers (would a Dodger fan even argue this?) swept this right under the rug, showing replays of several other things on that play but hardly even mentioning it and never looking at it slowly and analyzing it. It's the type of thing where if the teams were reversed, they'd have showed it in super slo-mo, analyzed it to death, and said "this WILL be talked about tomorrow," cueing all the sports radio/news people to do the next 24 hours on how the Red Sox got lucky because of a bad call. Joe Buck knows he controls the narrative and is happy to do so any way he wants. This was a game where, by my count on the GameDay strike zone, more than EVERY THIRD BALL thrown by a Red Sox pitcher was in the strike zone, and Buck never once came out with even a "that was a close pitch," let alone an "is this umpire OKAY?"

allan said...

more than EVERY THIRD BALL thrown by a Red Sox pitcher was in the strike zone, and Buck never once came out with even a "that was a close pitch," let alone an "is this umpire OKAY?"

You are counting only balls and called strikes, right? Your 33-35% seems impossibly high.

I kept track for the first five innings.
Fairchild made 6 bad calls, 3 against the Red Sox and 3 against LA.

With Red Sox pitchers, he missed 5 of 41 calls.
With Dodgers pitchers, he missed 1 of 43 calls.

So in the first five innings, he was correct 92.9% of the time.