NLDS Day Four, 2014

Dodgers at Cardinals, 2:00PM PT, TV: Fox Sports 1

This is it for the Dodgers. They must win today. If not, they’ll go home, lick their wounds and hunt for reliable middle relief in the offseason. Recognizing that, they’re sending Clayton Kershaw, the best pitcher in either league, out to do battle with Shelby Miller (10-9, 3.74 ERA), who’ll be making his first appearance of the postseason. Kershaw has to get past his uncharacteristic failure in Game One. Assuming he does, he still has to rely on the Dodgers’ offense, which has been anything but scintillating. In Game Three they were a dreadful 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position. They desperately need Gonzales (.167 for the series), Gordon (.154), Uribe (.077) and Puig (.250) to get untracked, and they need them today.

Nationals at Giants, 6:00PM PT, TV: Fox Sports 1

The Nationals must also win today or take the winter off early. In hopes of doing so they hand the ball to Gio Gonzales, who got on a roll in September, going 4-1 with a 2.36 ERA and righting what had been a forgettable season. His opponent will be Ryan Vogelsong, who did just the opposite in the last month, going 0-4 with a 5.53 ERA.

The Nationals too have a hitting problem. Third-baseman Anthony Rendon is 7-for-15 (.467) this postseason. The rest of the Nats’ starting position players have combined to go 13-for-96 (.135).

93 thoughts on “NLDS Day Four, 2014

  1. For me, this is the most disappointing season since 1962, when Koufax was hurt and the Gnats caught the Dodgers down the stretch, plus the agonizing three-game playoff.

    • The expectations were about the same at the start of the year, if I remember my 11-12 year-old self.

      This time around it showed up like this: six runs in the last three games, fifteen overall. But the Cards only got eighteen overall themselves. The difference was lack of hitting with RISP and two inexplicable failures by the best pitcher in the league.

  2. The biggest problem for this team in postseason is they have to play teams with winning records — and they continued to have a losing record vs.them

    • The Dodgers had winning records against both the teams left standing. Last year they had a losing record against Atlanta and a winning record againt the Cards.

  3. I didn’t think the 2-0 pitch to Turner was a strike, but, at this point, what does it matter?

  4. Two to one that Ned and Donnie walk the plank. I hope someone chums up the sharks first….

  5. It’s raining, so the detailers suggest we reschedule. Now it’s set for tomorrow at the same time, and I won’t have to worry about a conflict with a Dodgers playoff game.

    Man, this is disappointing.

  6. Hard to believe how this happens year after year. And how painful these losses are. Joe Morgan, Ozzie Smith, Jimmy Rollins, Matt Carpenter, Matt Adams. I am somewhere between numb and sick, And my first year of being a Dodgers fan was 1955.

    • You stated expecting them to win!
      I see that as a problem now–no matter what happens during the year, what’s gonna happen in post?

      • Yes, as a small boy in 1955 — we moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles that summer — I got a chance to relish the Dodgers’ first world championship and the only one in Brooklyn. My parents had annually uttered “Wait Until Next Year,” the lament of Brooklyn fans year after year, so they appreciated the championship tremendously. As far as post-seasons for the last decade or more, I go into them cautiously optimistic, sometimes strongly optimistic, but I worry about the black cloud in the distance. It always seems to dominate the sky.

    • Amen to that!
      At least you now have Italy and I have the Utah Shakespeare Festival….Mine really pales next to your trip–but I love it!

  7. The Dodgers are paying big time for management failure’s to address the middle relief woes. Those of us on this blog have seen it all season long. So have millions of other Dodger fans. The lack of middle relief becomes magnified in a short and incredibly meaningful serious. This one is on Colletti, primarily. To use an analogy, Dodger management spent millions on a fleet of luxury cars but paid little attention to the windshield wipers.

  8. It’s Kersh, who just struck out the side in the 6th. He’s allowed only 1 hit, K’d 9.

    But he gives up 2 very deflating hits to start the 7th. Even if there was a bit of luck involved in both, it’s still 2 runners and no outs in a must-win.

    Sitting 100+ pitches, 3 days rest, 7th inning barrier. You pull him, even tho it means you have to use the pen.

    The best managers have to be a step ahead and make that kind of strategic, bold move, even when their stomachs are churning.

    Last time out, IIRC, CK also had an impressive 6th, then that ungoldly 7th. And also had allowed only 1 hit before the 7th.

    Trouble last time out was missing location too. Dunno that anything else was obvious, but that should have been.

  9. Trying to watch and listen to this one….

    But, can’t help myself from beginning to think of what changes could be made for next season….
    Focus ! Jonny…. Focus on this one!

  10. It still was a quality game for Kersh — tho he wouldn’t agree with that.
    Two more innings for the bats to show quality.

    • Hard to imagine. More likely they don’t give AJ anything to hit and then get Clayton out, no?

      • That by itself would’ve been better, starting this inning with Dee.
        But getting the run without giving up 2 outs would’ve been great. Still, they couldn’t even do that yesterday.

    • Whatever might have happened, probably not another catcher who makes that play, period, stopping the ball that quickly and coming up throwing.

  11. The bullpen is getting all the flack but after game 1, the bats have not been “quality”and they’re basically pathetic these last two games. They’re pulling their old frustrating act of making the opposition look great.

  12. Unfortunately, you can take players out of the 2 spot, but you can’t take out the Ks.

  13. Hi all. In Tuscany now, a farmhouse in a tiny village called Turlago. An old and dear friend’s place. With Internet! Here goes, game 4!

  14. DM apparently said Puig has been late on good FBs away, not a good match for Miller’s mid 90s stuff. Could be some merit to that.

  15. What do people think about the call to start Ethier instead of Puig today? Did not see that coming.

    • Puig is pretty clearly pressing, with 8 Ks in his last 9 ABs. What puzzles me is why? He was 2-4 in Game One Friday night, so he started off well. Did getting hit by Wainwright in that game make him plate-shy, really? I don’t buy that. He’s a tough kid.

      I can understand the switch, given his struggles right now.

      • Saw some analysis that what Puig has been whiffing on is low outer half stuff. His triple was there too, but up.

        Analysts have talked about Puig not taking his offensive struggles to the OF, continuing to play solid D. That cannon attached to his right shoulder had to be on SL minds, too.

        Which is to say, I really hope CF defense–or lack of–doesn’t play a key role this game. Also, SL has to know they now can be a bit more aggressive running.

        Which is to say, I really hope Clayton dials up a masterpiece and there is nothing hit to CF and no baserunners to worry about.

        Which is to say, no baserunners would be the level of game a pitcher of CK’s stature deserves instead of his 2 roadbumps v. SL.

        • Yeah, even with his offensive struggles it has ben nice to have Yasiel in cf. Go Dre!