Repercussion is not a new Rolling Stones song, but it’s an apt description of things that may come to pass as a result of the events that took place in game three of the World Series last night.
Were you one of those hardy souls who stayed up to see the end of the longest game in World Series history, or were you were one of those who just couldn’t stay up to see the longest game in World Series history and learned about what happened when you woke up.
Either way, you know now that Max Muncy’s walk off home run in the bottom of the 18th gave the Dodgers a 3-2 win and a chance to even the Series (One that looked so one-sided in the first two games) tonight in game four. That was the immediate result of an epic baseball game, but what about the repercussions that the game will yield for the rest of the Series.
Red Sox Mgr. Alex Cora rolled the dice with Nathan Eovaldi, who was superb in tossing six-plus innings before yielding the game winning home run in the 18th inning. Eovaldi literally emptied the tank as he threw 97 pitches and has now pitched three times in four days. The impending free agent has become a weapon in the bullpen for Boston but at what price? This is a pitcher who has had two Tommy John surgeries and his availability for the remainder of the series is in question.
Overall, Cora has done a nice job and is being lauded as a great Manager by some before the Series is over but he made a few tactical errors that cost the game last night and may have allowed the Dodgers to get back into the series.
Andrew Benintendi got one at bat, while the top of the Red Sox order was 0 for 23. Eovaldi had to get two at-bats because the entire bench was used. Eovaldi was throwing well, that was true, but those two at bats may have been better served for a legitimate hitter. I know Jackie Bradley Jr. hit the game tying home run, but I would’ve had him on the bench to start the game because Benintendi is a much better hitter and Mookie Betts is as good in center as he is in right.
Both teams used nine pitchers each, but the Dodgers seem to be in better shape in that regard. As of this afternoon, the starting pitchers for tonight’s game have not been announced but it’s expected to be an all left handed match up with Rich Hill expected to start for LA against Eduardo Rodriguez for Boston. It will be worth watching to see how both teams navigate tonight’s game with their pitching.
The 13th inning was the epitome of baseball’s unpredictability.
Eduardo Nunez went through a series of incidents that looked right out of a “Saturday Night Live” skit with Chevy Chase, flopping and falling all over the place. Both teams made throwing errors that led to each of them scoring.
In the top of the inning, Brock Holt scored when, with two out, Eduardo Nunez hit a slow tapper to the left of the mound. For some reason, Muncy, who was playing first, went for the ball and left the base unoccupied. That led to Dodgers pitcher Scott Alexander committing an error on a throw to Ian Kinsler who was covering.
Cora’s use of the bench showed up in the bottom of the 13th. Once Sandy Leon came into catch in the 12th inning, starting catcher Christian Vazquez was moved to first base. Vazquez’ inexperience at the position showed up big time when he couldn’t save the tying run from scoring on Kinsler’s wild throw.
Vazquez should’ve been able to, at the very least, blocked that throw to keep the runner at third and give Eovaldi a chance to get out of the inning and end the game. An experienced first-baseman would’ve processed that on instinct.
Physical errors happen but Kinsler unnecessarily rushed the throw, leading to the misplay. I felt that he had time to steady himself and make a better throw, yet he chose to sidearm it.
Kinsler’s base running antics in the tenth was an “F” in “Base Running 101.” In a span of a few moments, Kinsler came close to getting picked off at first, and then went to third on a successful hit and run and nearly overslid the bag. To cap it all off, Kinsler, on a good send, was thrown out at home on an outstanding throw by Dodgers center fielder Cody Bellinger to cut down the go ahead run.
The Dodgers’ momentum from last night’s game means nothing when tonight’s game starts. The Red Sox have been here before and have responded to a tough loss but the longer that the Series goes, the more attention will be paid to what went on last night at Dodger Stadium.
One thing is for certain, game 4 sets up as a little more interesting than if the Red Sox were going for a sweep.