Saturday, October 12, 2013
Have You Ever Been In A Dogfight?
I mean, have you ever been in a knock down, drag out, fight to the finish? That was Game One of the National League Championship Series tonight between the Dodgers and the Dang Cardinals.
When you have two teams evenly matched, in a game that is evenly matched, the manager will make the difference. Unfortunately for the Dodgers, Damn Mattingly is the resident skipper.
This was anyone's game. It lasted 4 hours plus, and the teams were tied at 2-2 for almost every agonizing minute. Sure, the Dodgers had their chances. They were 0 for I-can't -believe-how-many with RISP, and that included not hitting with bases loaded - yet again.
Once again it came down to the battle of the managers and ours lost it for us. From what I've read in the first postgame posts, Mattingly critics out there are pointing to his removal of Adrian Gonzalez after his single in the eight inning for pinch runner Dee Gordan. It wasn't a genius move by far, but the move wasn't without potential merits.
At the time the game was tied 2-2, it was the eighth inning, we had a runner on, and Mattingly was playing for the win. Not a terrible move to replace the slow running Gonzalez with Gordon the rabbit. If it pans out and Gordon scores, we go up 3-2. Kenley dominates the bottom of the ninth and Mattingly looks like a genius. The plan didn't work out, but that aint my gripe.
Mattingly blew the game when he couldn't recognize - which he has never been able to recognize, even on his own team - the hot player with the red hot bat. Damn Mattingly is blind to the hot bat. Which is astounding to me because he spent most of his career being that guy - the guy who will win the game for you, or conversely, the guy who will beat you.
Tonight that guy was the Cardinals' Carlos Beltran. Beltran knocked in all three Cardinal runs, and he threw out Mark Ellis in a play at the plate in what turned out to be the final chance for the Dodgers to score.
When we got to the bottom of the 13th ( still tied 2-2), Beltran came up with the winning run on base. Up to that point he had already knocked in both of St. Louis' runs, and he had that great throw out at the plate. He came up with the chance to win the game and Mattinlgy chose to pitch to him. Mattinlgy has a long, regrettable history of pitching to guys that can beat you, and then being being beat by them. He just doesn't learn this one.
Know what the Cardinals' manager did all night when our guy who could beat you - Hanley Ramirez - came up to bat? He didn't pitch to Hanley. He took the bat right out of Hanley's hands and therefore he couldn't win the game for us.
Mattingly refused to take a pass on Beltran in the 13th. In the previous series he walked weak-hitting Reed Johnson for the bases loaded percentage scenario, but tonight he refused to walk game-dominator Beltran and the Dodger Nation payed for it. Beltran, the guy who had been beating us all night, capped his evening off with a game winning hit and Zack Greinke's masterful eight innings were wasted.
From here on in it's painfully clear that the Dodger bats are going to have to step it up and overcompensate for Mattingly Baseball, because if this series becomes a chess match between managers, our guy will be the one who keeps asking, "How does the horse move?"
Can't wait for game two.