Sports Medley: The
Dumbest Decision in World Series History 6 Nov 17
by Tony Medley
In the most important
game of the lives of manager Dave Roberts and all of his players,
Roberts chose to start Yu Darvish against Houston. People thought,
“Well, he probably didn’t start Clayton Kershaw (the best pitcher in
baseball) because Kershaw pitched three days ago and Roberts didn’t
think he was ready.” The absurdity of that assumption can’t be
comprehended by people like Roberts who think that pitching can only be
judged by someone with a PhD in math from Harvard.
So Darvish started
and allowed four runs almost before the fans had settled in. Roberts
pulled him. Who trudged in from the bullpen to take his place?
Kershaw!!! This leads to the obvious question; to wit, if Kershaw was
ready to pitch in the third inning with the Dodgers 4 runs behind, why
didn’t he start the game?
I propose that if
Fred Haney or Leo Durocher or Walter Alston or Casey Stengel or Joe
McCarthy or John McGraw had been managing the Dodgers for this seventh
game Kershaw would have started without any thought of anyone else, and
the Dodgers would have won the game. I can’t think of anybody with at
least half a brain who would not have started Kershaw.
There’s a lot more,
There was Cody
Bellinger’s bonehead play of ranging far to his right on a ball hit
directly at the second baseman by Alex Bergman, the second batter in the
game, and then throwing the ball away, which resulted in the first two
batters in the game scoring. He did the exact same thing about a month
ago. Doesn’t he have the capability to learn from his mistakes?
Just so I don’t come
across as second guessing, in my
of October 4, I pointed out some of the Dodgers’ glaring weaknesses,
Justin Turner, Chris Taylor, and Corey Seager, have been battling
horrible slumps for more than a month. Turner’s batting average
plunged from .390 (actually .377) at the All Star break to .322 at
the end of the season.
“That leaves two
starters, rookie first baseman Cody Bellinger and right fielder
Yasiel Puig, both of whom are no better than .260 hitters.
Home-Run-or-no-count Bellinger leads the major leagues in swings and
misses and Taylor is right behind him in strikeouts, 146-142.”
In accordance with
that article, Turner, Seager, Bellinger, and Puig batted a combined .168
with only 18 hits in 107 times at bat. Turner and Bellinger were
particularly pathetic. Bellinger had what is arguably the worst batting
performance in World Series history, striking out 17 times for a
strikeout ratio of over 58%! A batting coach didn’t have to be too
astute to tell him to stop swinging at pitches that were coming in below
the belt because most of them are breaking balls that will end up in the
dirt out of the strike zone. But apparently the Dodgers don’t have that
batting coach because Cody kept swinging at them and missing.
Turner was hitting
.377 at the All Star break. My understanding is that he saw all the home
runs that Bellinger was hitting and changed his swing from level to
uppercut, which is the new (deplorable, in my judgment) trend in
hitting. The result was that from the All Star break on he converted
himself from the best hitter in baseball to less than mediocre with a
batting average of only .264 for the last half of the season and it
continued into the World Series. He only got 4 hits for a .160 batting
average, a horrible rally killer in the #3 spot in the batting order.
Roberts’ cleanup hitter, while batting .143. The Dodgers’ batting
average as a team for the entire Series was only .205, barely beating
the 1906 Chicago White Sox, known forever as the “hitless wonders,”
because they hit only .198 in beating the Cubs in 6 games.
Most of the pitches
at which the Dodgers swung and missed were out of the strike zone.
One thing the Dodgers
should note is that Houston consciously and intentionally went from
being the team that set the record for the most strikeouts in history of
baseball in 2013, 1,530, to the team with the fewest strikeouts this
year, 1,087 (17.3%) v. the Dodgers 1,380 (22.3%). If you don’t put the
ball in play, you can’t get a hit. Houston had 300 more hit
opportunities than the Dodgers in 2017. Old School rocks!
Another (of many that
I still have) criticism is that Roberts kept his hottest hitter, Charlie
Culbertson, on the bench. Roberts even played Chase Utley at second base
instead of Culbertson. Charlie had 3 hits, including one home run, in 5
at bats in the Series. Seager and Utley combined produced 6 hits in 33
at bats between them (that’s only 3 hits more than Culbertson produced
in 28 fewer at bats). I said before the Series started that Culbertson
should be the starting shortstop throughout the Series. He’s a much
better fielder than Seager, was the Dodgers’ hottest hitter, and Seager
was coming off an injury and probably (obviously) wasn’t in condition to
I could go on. If you
asked me, I could write a book.