Dodgers: Tony Cingrani; the missing link for a game two victory

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 14: Tony Cingrani (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 14: Tony Cingrani (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

The Los Angeles Dodgers dropped game two of the World Series 7-6 in an instant classic. Now, with the series tied up, many are pointing the finger towards bullpen management for the Dodgers’ inability to take a two to zero lead.

Dodger fans were in uncharted waters following game two of the World Series. For the entirety of the postseason, Dave Roberts and the micromanaged Dodgers bullpen were lights out. Although Roberts had been micromanaging the bullpen all postseason, many took exception to how he managed game two. Thus, many are pointing the finger at Dave Roberts.

First, Roberts pulled starter Rich Hill after just four innings in which he allowed one run and struck out seven. Although, the stat line can be misleading. The Astros were putting together good at-bats on Hill, causing every inning to be high-pressure. Bringing in Kenta Maeda was smart.

Maeda has been dealing all postseason. Yet, after he allowed a hit to Carlos Correa and got Yuli Gurriel to pop out, Roberts went to the southpaw Tony Watson. With Brian McCann, Marwin Gonzalez and Josh Reddick due up, this was the perfect move. Watson got McCann to ground into an inning-ending double play.

Then, the Dodgers had to pinch hit for Watson, sending Andre Ethier to the dish. Although Ethier flied out, two at-bats later Corey Seager sent a shot to left field to give the Dodgers a 3-1 lead. Just like in game one, the Dodgers held the advantage.

This is where Roberts made a mistake.

With switching hitting Marwin Gonzalez due up, Roberts called on Ross Stripling. Stripling, of course, walked Gonzalez on four pitches before Roberts called on Brandon Morrow. Even though Stripling struggled, bringing him in for the purpose of one out is a risk to take, as you do not want to waste a great arm on one out.

However, it makes no sense why the Dodgers would call on a right-hander to begin. Gonzalez hit .322 against right-handers this season opposed to .250 from southpaws. Even if they wanted to give Stripling one out, the Dodgers did not need to go to Morrow right away. They had Tony Cingrani, and not putting him in that situation lost the Dodgers the game.

Los Angeles has exclusively been using Cingrani as a double play pitcher against left-handed batters. With Reddick and the pitching spot due up, Los Angeles at the least could have gotten one or two outs out of Cingrani. If he managed to get the double play ball and retire a pinch hitter, the Dodgers now have Morrow for the coveted eighth inning.

Instead, Roberts skipped a key step in the bullpen process that had a domino effect. Morrow did get Reddick to ground into a double play and eventually get out of the seventh, but it was the eighth that cost him.

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Alex Bregman doubled off of Morrow to lead off the eighth on a ball that Yasiel Puig just missed. That prompted Roberts to go to Kenley Jansen for a six-out save just one day after shutting the door in game one.

As great as Jansen is, he is human. The more you give a team at-bats against a guy like Jansen the more they will lock in. That is just what the Astros did, as Gonzalez tied the game with a solo shot in the ninth.

Again, Gonzalez only hits .250 against left-handers.

Dave Roberts certainly has been micromanaging this bullpen this postseason to success; I have no problem with that. I advise him to continue this style of managing, even if it did not work one game out opposed to the eight games it did.

Next: Roberts: Great manager who blew game two

However, if he is going to micromanage, he needs to go all in. There was no reason to rush Morrow into the seventh and overlook Cingrani. If Roberts would have just called on the southpaw to start the seventh, the narrative in the World Series may be completely different.