Dodgers Regular Season Strategies Come Up Short Against Astros

(Archive Post) This was originally written for Next Generation Baseball (Now known as Diamond Digest) on October 30th, 2017.

One win away.

“We gotta go out there and take it in LA.”

Sometimes, when one states the obvious, it’s received by an eye-roll.

Sometimes, when one states the obvious, it’s enough to excite an entire stadium. When Carlos Correa spoke with FOX Sports’ Tom Verducci last night after the second-longest World Series game of all time, the realization that Houston is one win away hit an entire fanbase.

“The best game ever, for sure.” He was talking about the game that had just concluded, in which the Astros defeated the Dodgers 13–12 in ten innings. He proceeded to mention the emotions that the team was feeling at the time, but he could have said nothing and everyone watching would have seen them. Carlos Correa, the starting shortstop for the Houston Astros team that is currently one win away from a World Series Championship, has a huge smile on his face.

Baseball’s funny. Strategies that worked for 162-plus games stop working in the World Series. Take, for example, LA Dodgers reliever Brandon Morrow. 43.2 innings pitched this season with 50 strikeouts and an ERA of 2.06. Morrow was spectacular all year, so Los Angeles skipper Dave Roberts went to him in World Series game one as the setup man.

Then he appeared in game two. Then, game three. Game four appearance? Check. Morrow, before Sunday night, had pitched in five of six games, and 11 of the 12 Dodgers postseason matches.

Dave Roberts said Brandon Morrow was unavailable for game five, which was entirely expected and reasonable, considering the former starter had never pitched that workload. In a game where neither team could clinch, and that Clayton Kershaw was starting, he was unavailable.

Only problem? Brandon Morrow talked his way into the game anyway. “It was probably selfish of me to make that call and try to push to get in,” said Morrow postgame to Yahoo Sports’ Mike Oz after giving up three runs, including two home runs.

Dave Roberts’ bullpen has been very good all season. As a whole, they haven’t been living up to expectations in the World Series. Kenley Jansen, who blew one save all season, blew one earlier in the fall classic, and gave up the Alex Bregman walkoff hit last night.

There’s only so much a manager can do.

With only Brandon McCarthy left in the bullpen last night, Roberts opted to keep the bullpen quiet in the top of the tenth inning, and bring in his all-star closer for a second inning.

Enter Alex Bregman.

But really, just use the Houston Astros offense as a whole when you’re talking about this. Houston was the top offense in Major League Baseball last year, and that’s one thing that has crossed over from the regular season to the World Series, despite some stumbles in the Championship Series. Houston’s offense is so powerful that 6-time Silver Slugger Brian McCann hit ninth in the batting order last night. McCann’s a 7-time All Star.

Bregman hit a single off Kenley Jansen in the tenth to score Derek Fisher, and the crowd erupted as Houston celebrated on the field.

Sometimes the obvious statement is all you need to hear. The Astros offense worked in the regular season, and it’s working now. Houston is one win away from winning the World Series.

“Astros” by g.bernal81 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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