On paper, it wasn’t the matchup everyone was waiting for between Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Mets.
Last night’s Kershaw vs deGrom duel didn’t meet the high expectations, even though both pitchers kept the game close pitching consistently through traffic.
Dodgers beat the Mets 9-5 in an very odd night.
It was blessed with some exciting plays and a strange strategy used by Dave Roberts that probably didn’t sit too well with Dodgers fan, just at the moment.
Trust me, make sure to hold your eyes in your eyeball socket. You will notice during the reading. Yes, it was that crazy.
Actually, me too, found it kind of unusual at the moment. But in the end, proved to be the game changer.
Not what we expected, but were tough as expected
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) May 27, 2019
3-time Cy Young and former MVP Clayton Kershaw, allowed 3 earned runs and 10 hits on 6 innings, including a 2-run blast from J.D. Davis.
The Dodgers helped Kershaw win his 5th game of the season, improving his record to 5-0, while looking at his ERA go up from 3.33 to 3.46.
Kershaw hasn’t lost a decision in his last 19 regular season starts for Los Angeles.
For his part, the reigning Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom threw 5 innings, giving up 7 hits and 2 ER, while striking out only two. He also made 105 pitches through his five complete frames.
It’s obvious that we don’t expect Kershaw and deGroms to be out of the game by the 6th inning, but they battled from start to finish.
Both hurlers came in with their teams going through their best stretches of the year offensively.
Collectively, both teams managed to get 32 hits and scored 14 runs.
Through their last 8 games, including last night’s defeat at Dodger Stadium, the Mets have won 6 of them, scoring 40 runs. In their other loss against the Detroit Tigers last Friday, they scored 8 runs. Too bad the Tigers scored 9.
The Dodgers, on their part, have scored 37 runs through their 4-game winning streak.
Execution made the difference for Dodgers
This label of this game had the word “wild” all over it. Yes, from start to finish.
In Baseball, when we use wild to describe the game, trust me, it was worth watching it. Especially for those in blue.
I mean, Dodger blue.
There were moments in which the Dodgers just out-executed the New York Mets, turning to be the most interesting plays of the game.
Cody Bellinger continues his MVP campaign
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) May 28, 2019
Other unusual thing, a reading in which we haven’t mention Cody Bellinger’s name already. This means, this is how crazy was.
But why he’s the MVP at the moment? Yes, he just does it all.
Down 1-0 in the first inning, the Mets intentions were clear. Attack Kershaw early.
In the middle of the early rally, he keeps the score from growing up a run by throwing Michael Conforto out at home plate on a very close play.
Next stop, 3rd inning. This time, Bellinger at the plate.
Like many pitchers had tried to do, deGrom intentions to fool Bellinger with a 2-1 slider didn’t materialized.
Bellinger just smoked it deep into the darkness of the right field pavilion to put the Dodgers up 2-1.
Then it came the 8th inning. After two outs, the Mets scored on a 2-run home run from Adeiny Hechavarria. But it didn’t end there.
Manager Dave Roberts had to put his closer in, Kenley Jansen, for a rare 5-out save situation with the bases loaded and only one away.
Smart baseball = better results
They say the best and most difficult tasks always go to the hands of your most capable hero.
Mets left-fielder Davis, with a two-run shot already in the game, lifted a deep fly ball to right field.
Bellinger, recognized that there was no need to go home on the throw because of the 4 run advantage at the time.
Instead, he went to third base trying to catch the still speedy Carlos Gomez.
— Orange County Dodger Fans (@OCDodgerFans) May 28, 2019
It proved to be the best play, because he got Gomez at third base at the last millisecond to wrap the inning.
What makes that play so big? The third out, came while the runner tagging from third, Tomas Nido, was slowing down while approaching home plate, which cancelled a possible 6th run for the Mets.
In other words, Bellinger’s smart ways got him what he wanted, to finish the inning while avoiding the other runners to advance on the throw.
That’s what MVPs do.
Those plays friends, are Championship winning plays, including the next one.
The Game Changer: Dave Roberts and his managing ways
At first, I couldn’t believe what my eyes saw on the TV.
Joc Pederson was 2-14 lifetime against deGrom. In this game, he went 3-3 against the Mets starter.
After one out in the sixth, with the game tied at 3 after Chris Taylor’s home run, it was Pederson’s turn to the plate with 2 runners on.
Mets manager Mike Callaway opted for a lefty-lefty match-up against the hot bat of Pederson, bringing in lefty Daniel Zamora to replace right hander reliever Tyler Bashlor.
So what did Roberts do? Even though he chose to bring in a right-handed bat, it was Kike Hernandez.
Hernandez had a .159 hitter for the month of May, even though that average does not reflect how hard Kike has been hitting the ball lately.
A .288 avg for Kike vs lefties during the season weighs a lot .
But will fans find it difficult to understand choosing to pinch hit for a player tied at 7th in the league in home runs with 15, while hitting 3 for 3 in the game against a reigning Cy Young winner.
Well, Roberts was right on the money
Hernandez, in an 0-2 hole after 2 straight sliders from lefty reliever Zamora, was able to identify and sit immediately for a third consecutive slider.
¡Nuestro Kike Hernández (@kikehndez) haciendo de las suyas!
El octavo de la temporada ???
— Béisbol de Puerto Rico (@beisboldepr) May 28, 2019
He proved his manager was right, by depositing the pitch over the right-center field part of the fence for a decisive 3-run shot, to give the Dodgers a 6-3 lead.
Like I’ve said before. Managing a team is one thing. Making 25 different personalities trust in you as a manager, most of the rich egos, is a whole different game.
Dave Roberts have managed to persuade most of them into being only one. That’s what Championship caliber teams do.
It all starts with the manager. No matter how good or bad your strategy is, the percent of success will always grow when making your players give their best close to a 100% of the time.
It seems like the Dodgers like their direction.
Two straight World Series and the best record in the National League as of now, tell the whole story.
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