Missed opportunities, again, for the Dodgers did them in, as they lost Game 2 of the World Series on Wednesday night at Fenway Park to the Red Sox by a 4-2 score.
It was a frustrating game for a number of reasons. Let us count the ways.
Hyun-Jin Ryu got the start. Many thought it was a mistake to start him in Fenway. If you look at his final line — 4 2/3 IP, 6 H, 4 R/ER, 1 BB, 5 K — you might be right. But he didn’t get any help from his bullpen.
A 2nd-inning, 2-out rally (which has been a theme for Boston this entire postseason) accounted for the game’s first run. Xander Bogaerts doubled off the wall in left field, which would have been a home run in any other ballpark. Ian Kinsler hit a mistake cut fastball into left field for an RBI single. He would get thrown out trying to advance to third base on a single by Mookie Betts on a great play by Chris Taylor and Manny Machado.
The wheels came off a bit in the fifth inning for Ryu. He got the first two hitters to commit outs. Naturally, the light-hitting Christian Vazquez would single into right field. Betts would follow with a single of his own. With runners at first and second with two outs, Andrew Benintendi coaxed a walk out of Ryu, which ended his night.
Now, some will criticize Dave Roberts for bringing in Ryan Madson to relieve Ryu (considering the result of the next plate appearance), but it wasn’t a mistake. Madson has been nothing but nails this postseason, even if he allowed a couple inherited runners to score last night. Unfortunately, Madson was bad. He walked Steve Pearce on five pitches to tie the game. A 2-run single by J.D. Martinez followed to make it 4-2 and essentially put the game out of reach for the Dodgers.
If Madson had thrown his changeup, maybe the outcome would have been different. He threw just two in his 12-pitch outing. It’s easily his best, yet he only threw it twice. These are the things that frustrate fans and I’m sure there’s a reason for it, but on the surface, it doesn’t make sense.
Maybe Pedro Baez was the play there, but Roberts opted for one of his other reliable relievers, probably in hopes of having Baez available later in the game in a crucial spot. I know, I know, this is kinda like saving your closer for a save situation. If that’s really the case, then maybe Kenley Jansen should have been the move. I’m only half-kidding.
The Dodgers scored their two runs in a 2-run fourth inning. They loaded the bases with no outs for Matt Kemp. On the first pitch, he hit a medium-deep fly ball to center field to score a run. Two batters later, Yasiel Puig would drop a single over Kinsler’s head to — at the time — give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) October 25, 2018
Unfortunately, the Dodgers couldn’t muster much else against David Price, who followed up his great performance in Game 5 of the ALCS with a solid outing tonight: 6 IP, 3 H, 2 R/ER, 3 BB, 5 K. The funny thing is, he did it with almost no bend to his pitches.
Price threw 88 pitches on the evening. Only seven of them were breaking balls (cutters, at that). Everything else was a fastball — 4-seam and 2-seam — or a changeup. Price is a good pitcher, but the fact the Dodger hitters couldn’t get to Price for more despite throwing basically two pitches isn’t a good sign. Then again, Rich Hill exists, so maybe my criticism is misplaced.
Joe Kelly and Nathan Eovaldi put down the Dodgers in order in the 7th- and 8th innings pumping high-90s and 100 MPH heat. Craig Kimbrel came in to close out the game with a 1-2-3 inning of his own. That was fun. It was part of a string of 16 consecutive Dodger hitters retired to end the game.
Teams up 2-0 in the World Series have gone onto win it roughly 80 percent of the time (something the Dodgers were staring in the face last year before choking it away). For the Dodgers to snap their 30-year drought, they’ll have to win 4-of-5 games against a team that won 108 during the regular season. Gulp.
Times are bad, y’all.