Friday, October 16, 2015

MLB Playoffs: Day 8

The Dodgers played a huge game last night, which means that the Dodgers almost certainly lost.  And, in fact, they did lose in the same dispiriting style that they so often show these days in October.  Of course they got runners on base inning after inning in the early part of the game, only to end up with two runs.  Of course they misplayed a gapper to left that ended up giving the Mets a run.  Of course they were so focused on their defensive shift that they forgot to have anyone guard third base in the fourth inning -- only to see Daniel Murphy steal the base from second, and trot home with the game-tying run on a sacrifice fly.  Of course their demon pitcher, Zack Greinke -- the guy who went 19-3 in the regular season with a 1.66 ERA -- gave up a home run to Murphy in the sixth to put the Mets up 3-2.  And of course, the Dodgers did almost nothing with their last 12 outs of the season.  Down one run at home, and with four innings to go, here's what the Dodgers did:

6th Inning:
Enrique Hernandez grounds out
Joc Pederson pops out
Zack Greinke lines out

7th Inning:
Howie Kendrick grounds out
Corey Seager strikes out
Adrian Gonzalez walks
Justin Turner strikes out

8th Inning:
Andre Ethier grounds out
Carl Crawford lines out
Jimmy Rollins grounds out

9th Inning:
Chase Utley lines out
A.J. Ellis strikes out
Howie Kendrick strikes out

Thirteen batters, zero hits, zero runs, one walk, and four strikeouts.  Not with a bang but a whimper.

Some people insist that the playoffs are mostly random -- which makes sense, given how short these series are.  But consider these facts:

1.  Since winning the World Series in 1988, the Dodgers have reached the playoffs nine times without winning the pennant.  In six of those nine playoff appearances, the Dodgers were eliminated in the first round.

2.  The Dodgers have won the NL West in each of the last three seasons.  In those three years, their record in the playoffs is 8-11, a winning percentage of .421.  If you count all nine of the Dodgers' post-season appearances since 1988, their playoff record is 17-31, a winning percentage of .354.  Over 162 games, that type of play would give you a record of 57-105.

3.  The Giants have been to the playoffs three times in this decades -- 2010, 2012, and 2014.  Their playoff record in those three years is 33-14, a winning percentage of .702.  Over 162 games, that type of play would give you a record of 114-48.

Those results may be random, but they certainly don't feel random.  It feels like one team shows up with focus and intensity, and the other team does things like forgetting to cover third base.

We haven't said much here about the Mets, but we have a lot more time to write about them, as they will be moving on to play the Cubs.  For now, I will say that the Mets have been one of the great stories of this year, and that it is only just that their hard work, good pitching, and tenacity has been rewarded with victory over the Nats and Dodgers.  I am very much looking forward to a playoff between the Mets and Cubs -- two of my favorite franchises in baseball.

National League Championship Series:
Chicago beat St. Louis 3-1
New York beat Los Angeles 3-2

American League Championship Series:
Kansas City beat Houston 3-2
Toronto beat Texas 3-2

1 comment:

  1. I am rooting for the Mets and the Cubs to both advance to the World Series.