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Dodgers’ World Series Defeat: Two Main Factors

November 1st, 2017 · No Comments · Baseball, Dodgers

Did the usual thing. Asleep around midnight Central European time, “called” to wake up around 4 a.m., and this time around I saw the final innings of Game 7 of the 2017 World Series.

Won, sigh, by the Houston Astros.

It was the bottom of the eighth when I checked in from a hotel room in Barcelona, and already 5-1, and the Astros’ Charlie Morton, a 33-year-old journeyman pitcher who chose the 2017 World Series to have The Time of His Life, was pitching well again. And I certainly could not have been the only Los Angeles Dodgers fan with a sense that the team was not going to score four runs before making six outs. They seemed exhausted. Spent. Beaten.

It ended 5-1, with Morton retiring the final 11 batters he faced, and it the Astros celebrated.

How will this World Series be remembered? Beyond Who Won and Who Lost?

For two factors, both which broke in favor of the Astros.

1) Yu Darvish was awful. The Dodgers right-hander started Games 3 and 7, and he lasted 1.2 innings in each, twice allowing four earned runs, putting the Dodgers in early 4-0 and then 5-0 holes they failed to escape.

Included in the damage, in addition to that wreaked on Darvish’s reputation, were two home runs and four doubles — and no strikeouts despite seeing 21 batters. His brief curtailed appearances also shifted a heavy burden of innings (13.2) onto the bullpen.

The Dodgers thought they were getting an ace when they traded for Darvish just ahead of the August 31 deadline, but he had a very rough World Series, and fans will remember that. His contract is up, and he might be able to command a nine-figure salary from … somebody. But probably not the Dodgers; they will remember the Yu meltdowns.

2) The Dodgers lost both of the series’ extra-inning “wild” games. The two that could have gone either way. Games they led before the Astros rallied — once in Los Angeles, to win 7-6, and once in Houston, 13-12.

The Dodgers’ three victories were pretty standard stuff — 3-1, 6-2, 3-1. In the two crazy, extra-inning games, the Astros persevered.

In Game 2 they avoided a 3-2 defeat thanks to Marwan Gonzalez’s ninth-inning home run against Kenley Jansen; in Game 5, the overcame — against Clayton Kershaw — deficits of 4-0 and 7-4. The Dodgers also led 8-7 (before the overworked Brandon Morrow’s disastrous eight-pitches, four-batters, four hits, four runs outing, and they character by scoring three in the ninth to force extra innings, only to lose in the 10th.

That was it.

Two awful games by Yu led to two defeats. The two extra-inning games the Dodgers had led, both lost. And there is your series.

Houston 4, Dodgers 3.

Back in the 1950s, when the Brooklyn Dodgers regularly played in the World Series, without winning, the cry around Brooklyn always was: “Wait till next year.”

Eventually, “next year” came, in 1955.

Fans these days are not as patient or fatalistic. “Wait till next year” should be approached literally. “Wait till next year.” As in 2018. Period.



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