There were many parties to blame in last night’s heartbreaking unnecessary 7-3 loss to the Mets in extra innings. The Dodgers were unable to hold what once was a two-run lead, and then later blew a one-run lead with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning. David Wright was allowed to bat with the tying run at third, and the game on the line. Wright predictably singled in the tying run to extend the game into extra innings. Then in the bottom of the tenth, Josh Wall allowed a walk-off grand slam home run to Jordany Valdespin. The Dodgers gave away what should have been a win.
While the bullpen did allow six runs over the last five frames of the game. And the offense could only muster up four hits. The big blunder of the night was Don Mattingly’s foolish decision to pitch to David Wright with the tying run at third base in the bottom of the ninth.
I love Donnie, but that was a terrible move which greatly contributed to the loss. It was ill-advised, and am I suppose to just let it go without saying anything? I would be a huge disservice to you all if I did that. It’s ok to point out mistakes that should not be repeated. No, no, the decision to pitch to David Wright last night could only end in one possible outcome….FAILURE. And it sure did.
Yet, I am still hearing a lot of people supporting the decision, which makes absolutely no sense to me. Let’s go through all of the arguments and debunk them one by one. But first, let’s rehash that fateful bottom of the ninth inning before we get into the debunking.
Closer Brandon League was brought in to protect a one-run Dodger lead, and close up shop. He only needed to get three outs mind you. With the Dodgers leading 3-2, he allowed a double to Mike Baxter and the tying run to reach scoring position. Only the ball was a slicing liner that was misplayed by Carl Crawford, bouncing off of his glove. To be fair to Crawford, it was a tough play. Not to make excuses for him, but he has been playing very well lately, so he can have some leeway.
The Mets sacrificed baxter to third before that Daniel Murphy foul pop up that Jerry Hairston caught by reaching into the box seats, that brought up David Wright, with catcher John Buck to follow if Wright extends the inning. Of course, Wright singled to right, easily knocking in the tying run. Now there are several important things to remember here.
1. The Dodgers have a one-run lead in the bottom of the ninth and two outs.
2. The Tying run is at third base
3. David Wright is at the plate
4. First base is wide open
5. David Wright is very good at hitting Baseballs
There is no way the Dodgers should have allowed David Wright to see a single pitch in that situation. The Dodgers should have given four balls to Wright and then pitched to Buck.
But Scott, you never should walk the winning run on base. It’s just Baseball 101. Fundamentals of the game.
Yes, but David Wright is a career .301 hitter, with a history of being one of the best hitters in the game. Wright is a six time all-star, and has averaged close to a .900 OPS per season. Wright has six seasons of 20+ home runs, and six career seasons of .300 batting. Most importantly, Wright is hitting ..298 with a career .880 OPS and 386 hits with runners in scoring position. Should I go on any further? I don’t think so. I think we can all agree that the threat David Wright poses supersedes any corny Baseball unwritten rule. Yes normally you don’t want to put the winning run on base, but you can’t let a guy like Wright beat you. The guy has made his living off of getting the big hits.
But Scott, David Wright only had one hit in the game, so why wouldn’t the Dodgers be able to get him out?
True, he only had 1 hit in the game until that point, but does that change the situation? Those at-bats were all against Ted Lilly, who had pitched a great game. That still does not change the scenario. The tying run is still at third with two outs, and the Mets best hitter is at the plate. The situation remains the same, and Wright still remains the same threat, no matter whether he had one or two or three hits in the game.
But Scott, John Buck has hit seven home runs, which is more than Wright’s two, so that must mean, Buck is more of a power threat, and overall threat in general. Correct?
This is so wrong, it’s laughable. David Wright is a much bigger threat than John Buck will ever be. Just because Buck has hit five more meaningless homers than Wright, doesn’t mean anything. That’s only because Wright has missed time this season because of an injury he suffered in the World Baseball Classic. I don’t follow the Mets, but I know he’s been hurt this year, and hasn’t played in many games this month.
Fact: David Wright is hitting .377 (75 for 199) against the Dodgers with an OPS of 1.038, and 45 Runs driven in. Wright kills the Dodgers every season.
Meanwhile John Buck is hitting a paltry .100 ( 3 for 30) in his career against the Dodgers.
So you have one guy who is a perennial all-star and MVP candidate, who bats .377 against the Dodgers, or an aging catcher who has only three hits versus the Dodgers and is a career .236 hitter? There is no comparison. Wright is the better hitter, and bigger threat, hands down. You have your choice, pitch to the perennial all-star and franchise player? Or to the aging.236 career hitting catcher? I don’t care if Buck has gotten off to a hot start. I’ll walk Wright every time and take my chances with Buck. At least with Buck we have a chance to get him out. I know Brandon league hasn’t been a sure thing this year, but I’ll take my chances with a league vs. Buck match-up any day over a League vs. Wright bomb ready to go off.
But Scott, John Buck got a hit in the bottom of the tenth inning, so that means he would have got a hit anyways? Correct?
No, no, nothing can be further from the truth. Yes, Buck did get a hit in the tenth inning, but that was off of Josh Wall. Josh of the plump 7.07 ERA Wall. I still think League would have got Buck out.
Have the Dodgers finally learned their lesson from this loss? Don’t let the big guys beat you. Take your chances with the lesser threats in the lineup, especially with the game on the line. Otherwise we are forced to watch David Wright get a game tying hit against the Dodgers for the eight hundredth time in his career.
I knew the game was a total wash, when the Dodger bullpen phone stopped working in the Dodger dugout. Funny because there is like five of them down there. But none of them worked, and the Dodgers didn’t know what to do. I wonder if it was sabotage by the Mets? Maybe that weird smirky looking security guy in the red jacket, that couldn’t handle Matt Kemp’s home run ball broke the phones? He did mysteriously disappear afterwards. I’ll let you decide. Maybe they can use smoke signals to notify the rest of the guys in the bullpen. (Can you hear me now? Good!)
What Baseball needs is something that will be implemented for next season. Dedicated in-dugout phones! Finally teams will have a direct link to the bullpen through modern technology. I don’t know why this wasn’t installed years ago.
Anyways, this game was an epic failure all around. Even the Dodger’s phones failed.