Scout’s Eye: Home Run Derby in LA LA Land

So much for analytical, sabermetrics and pie charts for this World Series. For all the moves made by both managers using their “Ouija Board” to make moves over a nine inning game, it has been home run derby for both games. Poor Justin Verlander, he gives up two hits and both of them were home runs. All but three runs in the two games played in this series so far have come off of a big bomb. The 8 home runs tonightand 3 last night will have MLB doubling up the orders next year for these juiced up projectiles.

This looks like old style Earl Weaver baseball of playing for the two run home run. Maybe pitch counts that have managers pulling starters after 4 innings in a short series when they are getting outs should be put into a new algorithm of E=MC to the tenth power of epsilon zero where the lefty vs righty equation divided by the amount hot dogs sold over innings pitched, gives the stat guys in the windowless room behind the dugout, the solution to who should be on the mound and what he needs to throw. Phew, I think I just developed a brain tumor with all that thinking.

If Yasiel Puig makes that catch in the 8th inning off the bat of Alex Bregman, the Dodgers win this game in nine. Instead Kenley Jansen blows the save and we go to extra innings. The Astros waisted no time in the tenth as they took the lead on back to back home runs by Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa. When the Dodgers scored in the bottom of the tenth inning with a leadoff (what else) home run by Puig, we figured ok they still need a run to tie it. When the next 2 batters struck out, it looked like it was over.  And then the strangest thing happened, we saw a run produced the old fashioned way. Logan Forsythe walked and then on a wild pitch by Ken Giles, he moved to second. When Enrique Hernández singled him home we were headed to the eleventh inning on the edge of our seats.

But  the Astros weren’t finished yet. After Cameron Maybin singled and stole second, George Springer, (you guessed it) hammered a home run to right to give his team a 2 run lead. And just to make it interesting, Dodgers Charlie Culberson put one out in the bottom of the eleventh to make it a 1 run game again. When Puig struck out on a 3-2 pitch to end the game, we knew we just saw one of those games that we will be talking about for a long time. A classic.

I put this loos squarely on Dave Roberts tonight. Too much use of analytic maneuvering of his pitching staff. When you have used the entire bullpen and can’t close it out something is wrong. Why did he use his closer Jansen for a 6 out save when he had his set-up guy sitting in the bullpen? What page in the math book told him to do that? The Dodgers seemed to fair better when Roberts was out of players and couldn’t make anymore moves.

This was a big loss for the Dodgers. With the series tied at one game each and headed to Houston Friday, the Astros now have the momentum and confidence to possibly close this thing out at home.

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