Saturday night Los Angeles fans lashed out on social media, ripping manager Dave Roberts a new one for pulling Rich Hill in a pivotal Game 4 at The Ravine. But before we jump on the criticizing bandwagon, he claimed to have a good reason.
With a commanding 4-0 lead, the lights out lefty had Boston in the palm of his throwing hand, on the brink of tying the series 2-2.
The former Red Sox pitcher from Milton, Massachusetts tossed 6 1/3 brilliant innings of one hit ball, striking out seven before it appeared Roberts prematurely dipped into his analytical bag of tricks – removing Hill for relief.
But apparently, unbeknownst to every Monday morning quarterback, Hill relayed to the Dodger skipper that he should keep an eye on him in the seventh. Roberts further explained that’s the first time the premiere pitcher had ever said anything like that during the course of a game.
Unfortunately, the Dodger bullpen was depleted from their Friday night mammoth 18-inning win but with Hill’s admission, along with surrendering a walk in his final frame, Roberts had no choice but to dip into the worn well.
In the visiting dugout, Roberts’ counterpart Alex Cora got bailed out after keeping his starter, Eduardo Rodriguez, one batter too long at the fair when Yasiel Puig tagged him for a three-run blast into the left field bleachers.
For a brief shining moment, the Dodgers were sitting pretty – now down 3-1 in the series, they’re sitting ducks. It may not officially be over, but from my vantage point, the fat lady just finished her sound check.
Let’s face it, Roberts is not to blame for his bullpen’s meltdown. The Red Sox are just that much better than the Dodgers – on paper and on the field, period.