Dodgers’ pitching strategy fell apart in disastrous Game 4 loss

A historic victory of 111 Dodgers the season ended in an epic disappointment Saturday night on a drizzly night in San Diego. Dave Roberts confidently predicted the 2022 Dodgers, a roster packed with superstars and former MVPs, would go to the World Events. Instead, the Dodgers laid a big goose egg in shocking elimination loss in NLDS Game 4.

The 2022 version of the Boys in Blue was a juggernaut of a baseball team. They finished the regular season 22 games ahead of the San Diego Padres in the West Division of the National League. Their +334 point differential over their 162 regular seasons was the best of the majors. The “Big 3” at the top of the Dodgers roster – Mookie Betts, Trea Turner and Freddie Freeman – had 547 hits.

We know the playoffs are unpredictable and have no memory. The historic Dodgers season ended with a Lost 5-3 against the Padres in one of the most heartbreaking season finales in Dodgers history.

In the series, the Dodgers’ bats went 5 for 34 with runners in scoring position. They left 32 men on base in the four games, a result that obviously isn’t usually associated with a win in October. Although the Bats obviously struggled, the Dodgers’ dominant pitching staff were consistently able to win games for LA during the season when the offense was lacking.

Tyler Anderson was set to play Game 3, but instead Roberts opted to go the unconventional route of a bullpen match with Tony Gonsolin as his opener. The Padres, fresh off a big streak upset with the Dishes in the wildcard series, took advantage and exposed the Dodgers’ flaws.

Roberts’ mismanagement of the Dodgers bullpen has caused the Dodgers to lose games in the past. There was no good reason to pull Anderson after five innings in Game 4. In his first playoff appearance since 2018, Anderson pitched with ice seemingly in his veins and a noticeable boost in speed. He allowed two hits with six strikeouts on just 86 pitches (54 hits) in five innings. The southpaw was cruising as he has done many times during the Dodgers regular season. Anderson had a career year and went 15-5 with a 2.57 ERA and 1.002 WHIP in 178 ⅔ innings, earning him his first All-Star nod.

Roberts, presumably working with clashes, didn’t let Anderson go again for the sixth. Roberts went to the bullpen to try to hold on to the lead. He used Chris Martin in the sixth frame, and he was able to throw about two San Diego singles for a scoreless sixth.

Going into the seventh inning, the Padres were trailing 3-0. The odds were in favor of the Dodgers, but the tide turned quickly for Roberts in the fateful setting that ultimately sealed the Dodgers’ playoff fate.

Roberts gave the ball to Tommy Kahnle to start the seventh, and the game quickly fell apart for the Dodgers bullpen.

The dreaded march to Jurickson Profar triggered the domino effect. Back-to-back hits from Trent Grisham and Austin Nola, the Padres’ postseason powerhouse, marked the first inning of the game for the Friars.

The situation only got worse. Instead of going to Evan Phillips, a guy who has been one of Roberts’ best bullpen arms this season, he went for Yency Almonte in a confusing decision.

Almonte immediately served an RBI double to Ha-Seong Kim and an RBI single to Juan Soto who tied the game at three points apiece.

The nail in the Dodgers coffin came with the next move Roberts made. With two outs and Jake Cronenworth at bat, Almonte missed a dugout go signal intended to give Alex Vesia more time to warm up in the bullpen, but Almonte threw a ball to Cronenworth instead.

Roberts made the mid-bat pitch change anyway, and the move immediately had disastrous consequences. Cronenworth’s two-run single against Vesia gave the Padres a 5-3 lead and ultimately the series victory. Later we discovered Vesia was already hot and ready to go before the start of the Cronenworth at bat.

Prior to Saturday’s crushing loss, the Dodgers were 80-3 in franchise playoff history when leading by three or more runs in the seventh inning or later. This painful loss will be felt for some time. A short five-game streak shouldn’t wipe out all the hard work the Dodgers put in to win 111 games in the 162-game regular-season marathon, but it does.

The Dodgers reached the playoffs every season for a decade. They only have one championship to show for it. The excruciating loss was more than just a mishandled round. The Dodgers also blocked 32 base runners in the four games, Betts had two hits in 18 plate appearances, Chris Taylor went hitless and their top defenseman in Cody Bellinger had just one hit. safe and was benched against a right-handed play 4.

They were a great team that failed to perform when it mattered. 111 wins ultimately led to 111 remaining unanswered questions.

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