ARLINGTON – Baseball after the pandemic season turns out to be as unusual as it sounds. The Atlanta Braves, the franchise that has never won three games in a row since the season for 18 years, suddenly can’t lose. This year, those closer to them caught more households than he allowed. Their 22-year-old rookie corner is the second coming of Christy Matthewson. Their starting central player in the National League of the Game 2 Champions League has never started a major league in the center field, nor has he knocked in a series.
But what happened to the Dodgers in the fifth inning of what turned out to be Atlanta̵
Rule № 1 for the manager: never let the game get out of control. This is especially true when you have the most effective violation in the game and five more turns of the bat. Roberts broke the rule, but it wasn’t entirely his fault.
This year, baseball adopted a rule that forbids the manager from using an embossed pitcher for one or two tests (unless that pitcher records the third of the innings). So if there is one and your world is on fire – as is the case with the Dodgers in the fifth inning, down 3-0 with a runner in second base – you should use a water pistol, not a fire hose to put it out.
The rule was created to limit upload changes to multiple innings (which continue down in recent years) and to speed up the game zero effect on such; the game on Tuesday night took four hours, 12 minutes). It was the first time in the history of baseball wizards to tell managers that they could not deploy the necessary strategy to win a ball.
Braves have just surrendered for the third time to their three best strikers: right-hand man Ronald Akunya Jr., left-handed Freddie Freeman and right-hand man Marcel Ozuna. Starting pitcher Tony Gonsolin, who hadn’t climbed in 16 days and thrown 11 passes in the last month, was running on steam. While working, he could not eliminate 8-9 Atlanta strikers, Nick Markakis (10-field walk) and the central nouveau notebook, Christian Pache (double on the sixth field).
Roberts did have one of his best relievers, Blake Trainen, throwing in the bull during the inning, but curiously he sat down. Right-winger Pedro Baes and left-winger Adam Kolarek were warming up.
Roberts admitted that the walk to Markakis “was not a good walk,” but stayed with Gonsolin.
“Right there, I feel like he’s still throwing baseball well to try to take Akunya,” Roberts said.
Gonsolin received one shot, but missed the area badly on his next four pitches. It was true before, but now it was official: it was cooked.
Roberts scored Baes to pass to Freeman, a .324 striker in his career with runners-up. He is the best striker in Atlanta – one of the best in baseball. The game was on balance. The moment demanded that a leftist specialist take Freeman. But Roberts could not use Kolarek, as a random rule for three tests would mean that the left would have to stay to face Ozuna and Travis d’Arno, another right-handed striker.
“You don’t want Kolarek to chase Freeman with one out,” Roberts said, “when it’s Akunya. [in front of him] and Ozuna behind him. You are put in a difficult position with this rule for three tests. “
The moment felt artificial. Cheap. Manufactured. It is not organic.
The Dodgers change more than any team in the league. They did this against Freeman, an unreasonable move when the situation required only Freeman to marry, not swing for extra bases.
Let me explain Freeman’s ability to use the entire field when runners are in a point position. Let’s use a large, wide sample: 147 visits in these situations in the last four years. Would you place a shift against him with this spray card in these situations?
Freeman, Hits by Direction, RISP, 2017-20
You don’t hit .324 with RISP in an 11-year career using half the field. In fact, when you open wide holes, you encourage great strikers to move the baseball to where it is located. I saw David Ortiz for many years beating shifts in these places, especially in Fenway Park, which only doubled the rewards for hitting the other side. I saw Astros burn by Anthony Rendon last year in the same way.
Freeman took a quick ball down and far – a field that conspired against the shift, not with it – and pushed a single to the ground through the open side to hit RBI.
A clairvoyant eye, Roberts called him.
Not exactly. Freeman is too good a striker to encourage him to hit that way.
This was the beginning of an ugly sequence of four Baes tests: single, walk, walk, long sacrifice. Hello, 6–0.
Another element played here: no weekends in the series. Teams usually get a day off after game 2. You can manage game 2 aggressively, knowing that there is a day off on the other side. Not this year.
I could forgive Roberts for not throwing his big sources of relief into the game, like Brusdar Graterol or Joe Kelly, under that logic. But Roberts turned to another explanation, more curious.
“So, when it’s 3–0 right there, consider introducing one of your highest leverage relievers in the fifth inning in three[run] deficit, it just doesn’t make sense, “he said.
Graterol had thrown an inning in game 1. Someone asked Roberts if he was available in game 2.
“Again, when you’re 3-0 in the fifth inning, I’m not going to use a high-leverage person there,” Roberts said.
As it happened, Kelly finished picking up a dough in a 7-3 game. Kolarek put ninth in the game 8-3 and gave up what became the decisive run of a homer from Ozzie Albies, the second of so many nights caught by the Braves closer to Mark Melancon as he warmed up in the bull.
In a series of seven tests, the Dodgers left the game in the hands of the weary Gonsolin and the ineffective Baes, who carries more guilt than Roberts. (A hesitant Baes threw 21 pitches and only eight shots, including just one swing and a pass.) The game went from 2-0 to 6-0. Now this is a game-changing sequence, the very definition of high leverage.
No team has returned from a 2-0 deficit to win a seven-game streak since Roberts himself stole a base for the Red Sox in 2004. Twenty-two deficits. Twenty-two ousters.
Braves bosses Max Fried and Ian Anderson softened the Los Angeles strikers with a superb mix of changing speeds. Fried continued to land his third best pitch, the slider, while Anderson continued to land his third choice, the curved ball. The Dodgers failed to rule out any terrain, so you kept seeing the Dodger striker after the Dodger striker in front of the softer stuff and behind the fast balls.
“They’re a good hitting team,” Fried said when I ran into him in the lobby of the balloon hotel the day after he finished sixth in Game 1. “So you have to keep trying to slow them down and speed them up.” . Back and forth, back and forth. “
These are not Padres bike favorite pitchers. The Braves are 13th out of 16 playoff teams at medium speed. They beat you by outperforming you and carrying out this better plan. Also helping is the cool determination of Anderson, who joined Matthewson 115 years ago as the only pitchers to open their careers after the season with three exclusions from at least four assists.
Asked how he could perform such magic on the night six Dodgers reached out to him and no one scored, Anderson said with an ever-present smile: “I think it’s just a will to try to stop them from crossing the board. ”
The brave are 7-0 this postseason. They have played 67 innings since the season and have lost just four of them. They face only one deficit. They are noticeably confident. They have taken control of this series. Los Angeles is very capable of winning four out of five. Grabbing the lead would be the beginning. The Dodgers quickly reached the point where every inning, regardless of the result, is a place with high leverage.