And That Happened: Monday's scores and recaps

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Yankees 5, Indians 2:
In going so deep into the game, Joba Chamberlain finally becomes the
eighth inning pitcher everyone seems to want him to be. If he wants to
keep the critics happy after Mariano finally retires, he is going to
have to go to complete games. And this one makes eighteen straight
games without an error for the Yankees. So who’s gonna be the first guy
to draw everyone’s fire by identifying all of the balls where Jeter
didn’t get close enough to even risk an error, let alone threaten a
competent play? Rob Neyer? Tom Tango? John Dewan? James Click? Mike
Emeigh? Onion?

Pirates 8, Mets 5:
New York’s bullpen flashes back to 2008 and blows a 5-0 lead. Andy
LaRoche continues his good hitting — his line for May was
.330/411/.457 — going 2-4 with a triple and three RBI.

Astros 4, Rockies 1:
Why didn’t anyone inform me that Miguel Tejada was batting .353? Don’t
we have a communications protocol around here? I can’t be expected to
make sound command decisions if my crew is hiding things from me. Look,
I trust you all as officers. You’re all fine men and women. But if I
continue having to find this sort of thing out myself we’re just going
to go a “report everything” regime in which I take all discretion out
of your hands. I hope it doesn’t come to that. Now carry on.

Marlins 7, Brewers 4:
Jorge Julio came in in the sixth inning with a can of kerosene in one
hand and a match in the other, and then Ken Macha sprayed the
conflagration with hairspray when he brought Todd Coffey in.

White Sox 6, A’s 2:
That’s four in a row for Chicago, and 10 of 13 overall. Gavin Floyd
pitched well enough to win (7 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 8K) but his teammates
scored too late to allow him to claim the W. I imagine that it is
exactly that sort of disrespect that is causing all of these pitchers to refuse trades to the White Sox.
I could go into brutal detail regarding how bad the A’s are playing
these days, but commenter APBA Guy does such a better job of it than I
do, that I suppose I should leave it to him.

Reds 5, Cardinals 3:
A win is nice, but losing Edinson Volquez in the second inning due to
numbness in his right hand and/or a reaggravation of his back injury
(unclear from early reports) is not good at all.

Orioles 1, Mariners 0:
Rich Hill shut out the Mariners for 7, giving up only two hits and Jim
Johnson and George Sherrill handled the other two innings to seal the
deal. The Orioles would probably like to play the Mariners all the
time, as they have won nine of eleven against them.

Diamondbacks 3, Dodgers 2:
Hiroki Kuroda is back after missing almost two months with an oblique
strain. I hate those. I much prefer my strains to be perpendicular nor
parallel. Anyway, he gave up two runs and three hits in five innings,
but got nothing from his offense by way of support. The L.A. bullpen
threw five wild pitches, which is always fun.

Phillies 5, Padres 3:
Adrian Gonzalez (hey, I can spell it right!) hit his 21st, but it
wasn’t enough as Joe Blanton was in rare, effective form. OK, he’s won
three in a row, and his last start was really impressive, but I’m not
prepared to take him out of the liability column just yet.

Little things killed the Dodgers in Game 1

Associated Press
2 Comments

There’s an old proverb that explains how a very small thing can lead to a big, loss. It goes like this:

For want of a nail the shoe was lost,
for want of a shoe the horse was lost,
for want of a horse the knight was lost,
for want of a knight the battle was lost,
for want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
So a kingdom was lost . . . all for want of a nail.

The Dodgers did not lose it all tonight — they still have as many of six battles left to save the kingdom — but a series of very small things caused them to lose the battle that was Game 1 of the 2018 World Series.

Sure, You can look at the box score here, see that the Red Sox won 8-4 in a game which was broken wide open with a three-run homer and say that Boston’s win was a definitive one. And, to be clear, it was a definitive one in every way that mattered. The Red Sox beat Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, won by four and now lead the series 1-0.

But if you wanted to, you could look at Game 1 in a slightly different way and see how some very, very small things caused this one to get away from the Dodgers. Small things that, but for a couple of inches here or there and a bit more concentration on their part, could’ve broken differently and could’ve led to a very different outcome.

For example, one could look at the first inning, when the Red Sox took a 2-0 lead and wonder what might’ve happened if David Freese had caught the foul ball off of Mookie Betts‘ bat that, somehow, eluded him despite it remaining well within play. Instead, it kept Betts alive, allowed him to reach base, allowed him to steal second and, eventually, allowed him to score on Andrew Benintendi‘s single to make it a 1-0 game.

One can also ask what might’ve happened if Yasiel Puig had not made an ill-advised throw home on Benintendi’s hit, allowing Benintendi to take second. If Puig had simply thought for half a second, realized he had no shot at Betts and hit the cutoff man, Benintendi stays at first and does not score on J.D. Martinez‘s single. A small thing — a matter of execution that all outfielders work on from the first day of spring training — but a thing which Puig just neglected to do properly. Put those together and one missed foul ball and one brain lock turned what could’ve been a zero run first inning into a two-run first inning for the Red Sox.

One could also look at the bottom of the third inning when, with one on and one out Steven Pearce hit into what was initially called an inning-ending double play. Replay review got the call right — Pearce beat the throw to first — but there were just a few inches separating the would-be twin-killing from the was-actually fielder’s choice which kept the inning alive. A long J.D. Martinez double to the triangle in left-center gave the Red Sox their third run of the game and their third run that, had the Dodgers executed more crisply and if an inch or two was gained here or there, would not have scored.

One could look at the top of the fifth, when the Dodgers put two runners on, chasing Chris Sale from the game and bringing in Matt Barnes. Freese came up at that point, a righty facing a righty. Throughout the playoffs, Dave Roberts would pinch hit Max Muncy for Freese in this situation but, for whatever reason, Roberts let Freese hit. He promptly struck out. Later, in the seventh, Muncy would pinch hit when a righty was called in and he would smack a solid single to right-center. If he had been in and done that in the fifth, would the Dodgers have scored more than the one run they actually scored that inning? Dave Roberts will be asking himself that one for a while, I presume.

One could look at the bottom of the fifth, when Ryan Madson came in in relief of Clayton Kershaw. Madson would load the bases, but then strike J.D. Martinez out on three pitches before inducing a grounder to short from Xander Bogaerts. 6 . . 4 . . . nope, just a bit slow once again. Instead of an inning-ending double play which would’ve left things tied at three entering the sixth, Mookie Betts scored and then Andrew Benintendi would score on a Rafael Devers single to make it a 5-3 game. Two more runners that, but for mere inches, would not have crossed home plate.

That takes us to the bottom of the seventh, which featured Eduardo Nunez‘s big pinch-hit three-run homer. Is it even worth noting at this point that the inning began with Joc Pederson, substituted into the game the previous inning, just barely missing a fly ball down the left field line that went as a double but just as easily could’ve been caught? Once that dinger went over the Green Monster it didn’t really matter, but let the record reflect that it could’ve been a two-run shot instead of a three-run shot.

The Red Sox won this game by four runs, but mere inches gave them three or four of those runs. A couple of mental mistakes by the Dodgers gave them at least another and, perhaps, cost the Dodgers a run or two of their own.

None of which is to take a thing away from the Red Sox. One cannot assume that which did not happen would, in fact, happen, and many plays in baseball are decided by mere inches. This exercise was not aimed at discounting the Red Sox’ victory. They hit Clayton Kershaw pretty hard, managed clutch hits on numerous occasions and executed on both offense and defense while getting some dominating relief work in a game that could’ve very easily gotten away from them early thanks to a less-than-sharp Chris Sale. They won this game and won it convincingly.

But the Dodgers had their chances. They had their chances and they blew them, all for want of a nail, as it were. And that had to make them feel pretty dang bad as they left the field tonight.