Dodgers vs Rays WS 10/27/20

beefchopper

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continued:

Pedro Báez
Báez took the ball for the Dodgers to begin the fifth. It was his first appearance since he melted down in Game 4 of the World Series, surrendering the lead twice on home runs in consecutive innings. Part of that was the fault of Roberts, who for some reason told Báez he was done after meltdown No. 1 before changing his mind and putting him back in the game before meltdown No. 2.

Báez is the only player left from the 2013 Dodgers team that began this run of NL West dominance besides Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen. Until Tuesday night, he was best known as the guy who allowed 75 of 76 inherited playoff runners to score, all of them belonging to Kershaw (at least it felt that way). But with the Dodgers trailing by a run, Báez came in to face the No. 9 hitter in the Rays’ lineup, Mike Zunino. He struck him out. He got leadoff hitter Ji-man Choi to hit a weak popup to Turner.

With two outs, Arozarena stepped into the box and, with two strikes, singled on a high changeup. That was fine. It wasn’t a home run. When Roberts came to take the ball, Báez had made it through the danger zone, leaving the game with two outs and a runner on first.

This could have been another playoff game of horrors for Báez in a career marked by them. How great it must have felt for him, then, to contribute to the best Dodgers bullpen effort since 1988. He will not be remembered as the guy who could have single-handedly stopped Kershaw’s postseason choker narrative before it had even started if he had just helped him out once or twice. He will forever be remembered as a World Series champion.

Victor Gonzalez
Roberts signaled for the left-handed Gonzalez to face the Rays’ No. 3 hitter, Austin Meadows. A rookie out of Mexico who had made his major-league debut just 11 weeks earlier, Gonzalez had been a revelation for the Dodgers, posting a 1.33 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 20 1/3 innings. He had already proved in Game 5 that the World Series spotlight wouldn’t faze him when he got Arozarena and Brandon Lowe to fly out with two runners on in the eighth inning.

When Gonzalez took the mound with two outs and a runner on first in the fifth inning of Game 6, the Dodgers only trailed 1-0. But with the way Snell was pitching, a larger deficit would feel almost insurmountable. He made quick work of Meadows, inducing a ground ball to Chris Taylor to strand Arozarena. After Snell set the Dodgers down in order in the bottom of the inning, Gonzalez went back out for the sixth. He struck out the side, all swinging.

Brusdar Graterol
To begin the seventh — after the Dodgers had taken a 2-1 lead with Snell out of the game — Roberts summoned Graterol, the 21-year-old right-hander who wasn’t even supposed to be on the Dodgers. In the first attempt to acquire Betts from the Red Sox, a three-team trade sent Graterol from the Twins to Boston, but the Red Sox pulled out of that deal at the last moment over supposed concerns over Graterol’s medical records. No matter. The Dodgers completed the Betts trade without the Twins, then dealt Kenta Maeda to Minnesota in a separate deal to obtain Graterol for themselves.

It worked out nicely. Graterol’s sinker averaged 99.3 mph in 2020, the fastest in all of baseball. And though the potential future closer does not yet strike out as many hitters as the club would like, it’s very difficult to square him up. He finished the season in the 96th percentile of pitchers in avoiding the barrels of hitters’ bats. In his previous two appearances in the World Series, he had not allowed a run.

Graterol got two quick outs before yielding a single to Zunino.

Julio Urías
Before Game 6, Dave Roberts told reporters that the only unavailable Dodgers pitchers were Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler and Urías. He lied. With a 2-1 lead in the seventh and only seven outs from the team’s first title since 1988, Roberts called on Urías even though he had started Game 4 and threw 80 pitches three days earlier. He proved he could handle closing out enormous games when he got the final nine outs of Game 7 of the NLCS a week earlier. But when he came into the game on Tuesday, he wasn’t expecting to pitch the last 2 1/3 innings of the 2020 season.

“I just focused on getting the one out, and little by little, I went batter by batter,” Urías said afterward.

Urías was signed out of Mexico as a 15-year-old on the same scouting trip that produced both Yasiel Puig and, as luck would have it, Gonzalez. The 24-year-old left-hander closed out the seventh and sailed through the top of the eighth — three up and three down.

Betts homered to give the Dodgers a precious insurance run and push the lead to 4-2. They would not need it. Urías got the first batter he faced in the ninth, Manuel Margot, on a lazy fly ball to Betts. He then struck out pinch hitter Mike Brousseau looking. After getting ahead of Adames in the count 0-2, Urías looked in to get the sign from Barnes for the franchise’s biggest pitch in nearly three decades. Would it be a slider in the dirt? A changeup away? Try a 97 mph fastball down the middle. The pitch froze Adames, who seemed to be as shocked as Dodgers fans that Urías threw it.

Barnes didn’t have to move his glove. Strike three. Urias dropped to his knees in celebration. Barnes put the ball in his back pocket and sprinted to the mound. The Dodgers poured out of the dugout and out of the bullpen and into a pile. The wait was over.

The Dodgers had their ace, Buehler, lined up to pitch Game 7. They didn’t need him. Somehow, some way, their bullpen patched together 7 1/3 innings of two-hit, shutout ball, striking out 12 and walking none to carry the Dodgers to the title.
 

NewportDodger

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Nice to see Wood able to contribute. Time for him to move on and he knows it. Baez just isn't a good pitcher in pressure situations. It won't change either. He is just not a smart pitcher. When the best thing that can be said is that he didn't implode, it's time to cut this guy loose. We need players who can answer the bell when it matters and he just can't do it with any sort of consistency. He helped the cause. Take that memory with you somewhere else now.

The Dodgers have so few RH options outside of Floro and Graterol because Kelly sucks as does KJ. They need to get some better RH arms in there.
 

Petro

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continued:

Part of that was the fault of Roberts, who for some reason told Báez he was done after meltdown No. 1 before changing his mind and putting him back in the game before meltdown No. 2.
Hadn't heard this before, what a dumbass.
 

DodgerSSR

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For the next installment of Game World Series Unsung Hero, I present Dylan Floro. The game seemed like it might be about to get away from the Dodgers. With a 1-0 lead in the top of the second, the Rays had two men on, two out, and the Unconscious One, Randy Arozoarena due up, who had homered one inning earlier. Floro was brought in and quickly dispatched RA with three straight changeups. Dodgers stayed in the game, Rays manager pulled a Bonehead Roberts move, and it's all history now.
 

NewportDodger

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For the next installment of Game World Series Unsung Hero, I present Dylan Floro. The game seemed like it might be about to get away from the Dodgers. With a 1-0 lead in the top of the second, the Rays had two men on, two out, and the Unconscious One, Randy Arozoarena due up, who had homered one inning earlier. Floro was brought in and quickly dispatched RA with three straight changeups. Dodgers stayed in the game, Rays manager pulled a Bonehead Roberts move, and it's all history now.
The baseball world will figure it out soon enough that Arozarena destroys fastballs and can't hit cutters or changeups for shit. I don't know why teams keep trying to bust him up or go away with heat. It didn't work.

He has a hole in his swing just like Bellinger does. It will be up to him to figure it out because the analytics part of baseball sure as shit will.
 

DodgerSSR

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Here is my final installment of the Game 6 Unsung Heroes. It's none other than...ta da...

Dave Roberts
Yes, our much maligned manager made all the right moves in Game 6, unlike the Game 4 debacle, where everything he touched turned to crap. Somehow, he captured the magic in Game 5 and it carried over to Game 6. Admittedly, I didn't agree with most of his Game 5 moves, like pulling Kershaw after two quick outs in the sixth, bringing in May, who I like but had looked very shaky, and then pulling May when he was dominating. It all worked out and carried over to Game 6. Even then, bringing in Floro in the second inning to face Arozorena looked ill-fated, but it was a stroke of genius.

It all shows that a manager looks a lot smarter when his players execute, and execute the Dodgers did, culminating in the 2020 World Championship.
 

grabarkewitz

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Was just watching a replay on MLB Network of the ESPN broadcast of the Game 2 Wild Card clincher vs. MIL. How bad is ESPN!? They flashed a graphic of Kershaw's strikeouts in the game and how it ranked right up there will Carl Erskine and Sandy Koufax all time on the Dodger postseason charts. Only thing was, Karl Ravech didn't even know how to pronounce Erskine's last name, making it a long "I". I'm surprised he didn't say Koo-fax.
Karl Ravech is a first class idiot and he likely didn't even play baseball as a kid. The fact that ESPN continues to pay him only shows how far they have fallen.