NLCS Game 6

Well…that sucked.

Big time.

I know that the Dodgers haven’t won the World Series except once in the years since I started following the team, but that’s what you hope for your team at the beginning of every season. And, with the Dodgers this year, there was plenty of reason to hope. They won it all last year with a very similar group of guys, after all…and it would have been cool to have won this year to show the haters out there that last year’s was a ‘real’ win.

Only the Dodgers ain’t gonna do that this year. They got eliminated by losing to the Braves last night, 4-2.

And I woke up this morning feeling…well…y’all know what your worst hangover felt like? Ok, now add in a dose of depression. That’s how I feel. And it ain’t a good feeling, trust me. I barely feel like writing, but I feel like I should do it while my impressions of the game are still fresh. And I reckon that writing about it might be some kind of therapy for me. I sure could use some.

My hopes were high – y’all can see that from what I’ve written during the postseason. Ok, they were high with a few reservations, but, after Thursday’s win, I really did feel that we could pull three rabbits out of the hat in a row, just like we did last year. I reckon three straight wins against a team that was probably better than it was last year was a lot to ask, but I felt we stood a very good chance of pulling it off.

The Braves may not have been a good team at the beginning of the season, but, dang, did they work some magic at the trade deadline. And they didn’t even know what they were getting in the dude who turned out to be the NLCS MVP. That’s the dude who sank the Dodgers’ hopes game after game during the series, Eddie Rosario. And he only ended up playing as much as he did because Jorge Soler got COVID.

Hey…maybe that means that the Dodgers losing the NLCS is one more thing we can blame on COVID lol…

I don’t know that we can say that the Braves are the better team by far, but they’re certainly a better team than we expected to meet. We probably underestimated them, especially after beating the team with the best record in baseball. We were also probably a little hangover from the 5-game San Francisco series. The fact is that the Braves outplayed us, maybe not in every game (some of games we lost rather than that they won because our starting pitching was so fucked up), but certainly last night was a game they deserved to win.

So, yeah…congratulations to the Braves. They are a good team with some really good players (I’ll admit it: I’ve always liked Freddie Freeman, but who wouldn’t?)…and I hope they go and kick some serious Houston ass in the World Series. I’m not sure I’m gonna watch much of it, but I remember there was this total jerkoff outfielder I played with in college who did say one thing that made sense: you should always root for the team that beats your team when your team gets eliminated. I know that sounds counterintuitive, but, if you think about it for a minute, it makes sense. And that’s even when the team that beat you isn’t going ahead to play a bunch of rotten cheaters who unfairly beat you in the World Series four years ago. (Ok…if you ask me, Dave Roberts had a lot to do with our losing in 2017, but the Astros still cheated.)

So…back to Game 6, the last of the Dodgers’ season. I said that Atlanta won the game, as opposed to our losing it. The fact is we came at them with everything we had, and we just came up short.

Would we have won with Scherzer on the mound? Who can say?. I am, however, sure that Scherzer in form would have been better than Buehler on short rest, especially because Buehler already looked burnt out on his last outing. Still, Buehler gave it his all, and I admire him for stepping up and doing what he could.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that they should have let Buehler face Rosario with two men on base after throwing something like 70 pitches on 3 days’ rest. Roberts could have brought out someone else – it would probably have been Vesia – to face Rosario. Ok, Rosario has been a fuckin beast all series long, and there’s nothing to say that Vesia would have gotten him out, but, well, I still think he might have stood a better shot. (Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten that Vesia totally sucked when he got into the game and gave up those 3 straight walks, but that’s not to say that he would have sucked earlier on when it mattered the most.)

Ok…that really is a hypothetical. The decision for which I really blame Roberts (although I don’t think that it’s enough of an excuse to cover up the fact that Atlanta really did outplay us) came in the 7th. You have men on 2nd and 3rd, 1 out…and you’re behind by 2 with the pitcher’s spot coming up. Let me ask people who know nothing about baseball the question: who do you stick in? The best hitter you have on the bench…or some lameass who’s only on the roster because someone got injured. Yeah, fine…there was an issue of lefty-on-lefty (pitcher and lameass were lefties)..but one dude batted .242 in the regular season and the other batted .152. You take the better hitter, right?

Not if you’re Dave Roberts. He took the lameass. Who struck out.

Okay…the pitcher – Kutzak – was fuckin lights out all night long (he retired the 6 batters he faced in 17 pitches and struck out 4 of them.) So there’s nothing to say that Lux would have had more success than Souza. He wouldn’t have been a sure thing by any reckoning…but, still, he stood a better chance than the dude they did put in.

True, however, that when Betts got up after Souza he struck out too, and Betts is a better hitter than Lux (he batted .319 in the postseason)…so a certain kind of logic would suggest that Lux would have gone down too against Kutzak, who was, let’s admit it, fuckin filthy for the 2 innings he pitched.

So Dave Roberts made some bad decisions (or at least one bad decision, I’m willing to give him a pass on leaving Buehler in), but they didn’t lose us the game. There’s another bad decision he made, and that may well have cost us the game, however. And that has to do with Scherzer, whose arm was ‘dead’ exactly because of Dave Roberts’ stupidass idea to use him out of the bullpen in Game 5 of the NLDS. I’m not saying that Scherzer didn’t win us that game, but the fact is the bullpen is so good that they could have been trusted to close out that game. There was no need to go dragging in a starter to do a reliever’s job. Someone who doesn’t know the game well might think that pitching is pitching, but it isn’t. Starters and relievers live on very different schedules, and, of all the ballplayers I’ve known in my life, the ones who are most obsessed with their routines are starting pitchers. Fuck around with that and you get…Max Scherzer unable to pitch yesterday.

Like I said above: we stood a much better chance of winning with a rested Scherzer than with a not rested Buehler. That’s not up for discussion, and that it didn’t happen is 100% Dave Roberts’ fault.

I reckon it doesn’t matter now, but if we’d won Game 6, what the fuck would we have done for a pitcher in Game 7? Would Scherzer have been able to pitch? If not…? (No…please no one say Urias!) I have enough faith in our bullpen to say they could have handled Game 7, but, dang, what a weirdass way to win a series, with more innings pitched by the bullpen than by the starters. And, say we won Game 7, what kind of shape would Buehler have been in for the World Series after his outing on short rest on Saturday?

I reckon we’ll never know.

Which sucks.

Big time.

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