Game 1 NLDS Recap: Mets 3, Dodgers 1

October 9, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw (22) reacts after loading the bases in the seventh inning against the New York Mets in game one of the NLDS at Dodger Stadium.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

This is the collective face of every Dodgers fan right now. There is plenty of blame to go around for this loss. But don’t you dare place any of that blame on Clayton Kershaw.

“He couldn’t even pitch a full seven innings.”

-Some guy on Twitter

I mean, if innings pitched is your thing, then you’re right. But you still said nothing. By the time Kershaw loaded the bases in the seventh, he had already thrown 113 pitches. This was the result over the course of those 113 pitches.

IP K BB H R
6.2 11 4 4 1

Obviously, loading the bases in the top of the seventh is never a good thing. And if there is anything you can/want to hang over his head, it is that – other than the bomb he gave up to Murphy. The other two runs that were tacked on to Kershaw was the result of Pedro Baez doing what Pedro Baez does. Earned runs are stupid.

Once Kershaw is off the mound, the rest in the hands of the reliever. With two outs to start is outing, Pedro Baez came in to relieve the gassed Kershaw. Let’s take a look at his time on the mound.Pedro Baez strikezone map against David Wright in the top of the seventh of Game 1 of 2015 NLDS

See that lovely teal square? That’s the meatball that Baez served to Wright. If there’s blame to go around, pass some along to Baez. I mean, I get your point, “If Kershaw had not loaded the bases, the run would not have scored.” But we all knew what Baez was going to do and if he had done anything other than what all of Twitter knew he was going to do, that would have prevented the runs also. Plus, Wright is a career .298 hitter, he will find a way to muscle that ball up the middle if all the pitcher is doing is throwing heat straight down the pipe.

Of course, Baez would not have been on the mound if there was not a strict adherence to the “closer” and “setup” roles. Yes, I’m heaving some blame over to Donnie. Though, I’m definitely not a part of the #FireMattingly crowd – because, holy fuck, that’s a circle jerk for the ages. Yet, when the team is down 1-0 in a bases-loaded situation, a manager should put in the team’s best reliever, not an arm that is merely serviceable in high leverage situations. Who knows, maybe Jansen gives up a single as well; however, Jansen has proven time and again that he is the best arm out of the pen. A manager should plan to win the game right now, not plan to win at some hypothetical time in the future.

In three subsequent innings, the Dodgers were able to get a double, another double, and two singles – all in the second, third, and fourth innings, respectively. There is not much Kershaw can do when there is zero run support. The Mets got five hits and brought three runs across the plate. The Dodgers were able to get seven hits off deGrom, but only mustered a single run. The fact that the Dodgers were unable to capitalize on those opportunities is ample reason to pass blame to the offense as well.

Credit to Jacob deGrom for outpitching Clayton Kershaw. At over a 100 pitches per pitcher, the game came down to a war of attrition more than anything else. The Dodgers bats will need to wake up tomorrow because New Yorks arms will not let up.

Say what you want about Kershaw’s previous starts in the playoffs, tonight was a masterpiece that was smeared by poor decisions and weak bats.

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