Game 7 of the World Series. You’ve heard me say in the past that nothing ever lives up to the hype, and then I’ll actually point out something that did actually live up to the hype. Well, Game 7 of the 2017 World Series actually didn’t live up to the hype.
After one epic game after another, there was no way that Game 7 could actually live up to the hype, but this one didn’t really come close. And that’s not to disrespect the Astros. It’s exactly because of the Astros that it didn’t live up to the hype.
Well, what the Astros did and what the Dodgers didn’t or couldn’t do, starting with Yu Darvish. Los Angeles brought him in for a night like this and then he turned in a night like that. 1 2/3 innings, 3 hits and 5 runs.
What happened to this guy? He was lights-out against Arizona and Chicago, so how did Houston crack him? Maybe it’s what Alex Rodriguez tweeted: By reading Astros body language in the box and their approach against Darvish, perhaps he was tipping pitches. Astros’ hitters capitalized.
There might be something to that, because Houston’s hitters weren’t tempted by anything that wasn’t hittable. They were making him throw pitches they could hit and then they were driving it when they got a chance. AJ Hinch said, “If he gets you to chase, its advantage Darvish. If he gets you to hit his off-speed pitches, it’s advantage Darvish. So you have to be very disciplined. And we did that two games in a row where we got hittable pitches and did damage.”
They certainly did. Darvish threw 24 pitches in the first inning and got exactly one swing and a miss. That’s brutal. And that wasn’t new. In his two starts against Houston in this series, he threw 96 pitches, gave up nine runs, and only got four swings and misses. That’s not pitching, that’s throwing BP.
Of course, he wasn’t helped by his defense. Or by his offense. Because time and time again, the Dodgers got runners on base and couldn’t do anything about it. So while Darvish has to wear a lot of it, there’s plenty of blame to go around. 7 of the first 12 hitters got on base. None of them scored. The Dodgers left 10 runners on base overall. You can’t do that in Game 7 and hope to win. Not against these Astros.
This isn’t all on Darvish. This is a team loss. Because pretty much everyone in Dodger gear not named Clayton Kershaw picked a bad night to have a bad night. Chris Taylor: 1 for 5. Corey Seager: 1 for 4. Cody Bellinger: 0 for 4 with three strikeouts. Yasiel Puig: 0 for 3.
And yes, Dodger fan, I know what you’re thinking when it comes to Kershaw and the four scoreless innings he threw. If he could’ve done that in relief, why didn’t he start? Hindsight is 20/20 and I didn’t hear any Dodger fans saying that Kershaw should’ve started the game before the game.
Instead, I heard all about how Darvish was going to be the Darvish we all know. That he was going to mow through the Astros and then turn it over to Kershaw. That he was brought in for moments like this. He was and he didn’t. And it sucks. Maybe you rip Darvish from the game after one inning, but don’t tell me that’s on Dave Roberts for not starting Clayton Kershaw when nobody was thinking about starting Clayton Kershaw. Not when he was going on two days rest and had been knocked around in Game 5.
Blame Darvish if you want, but make sure you blame the hitters as well. Just don’t blame Dave Roberts for not starting Kershaw. And make sure you tip your cap to Houston. Such an impressive performance. Just ripped out the Dodgers’ hearts and never let them into the game.