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Sunday, July 5, 2020

Dave Roberts gets burned on key pitching change in Game 1

Dave Roberts

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was burned by a key pitching change he made in the bottom of the 7th inning of Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night.

Dodgers lefty Julio Urias, who pitched a 1-2-3 sixth, began the inning by allowing a ground-rule double to Andrew Benintendi. Roberts removed Urias and brought in Pedro Baez. Baez struck out Mitch Moreland, intentionally walked JD Martinez, and struck out Xander Bogaerts.

The Boston Red Sox were leading 5-4 and had runners on first and second with two out when Roberts decided to make a change, even though Baez had struck out two. He brought in Alex Wood to face Rafael Devers, who had an RBI single in the 5th. Roberts was aiming for the lefty-lefty matchup, but the move backfired when Red Sox manager Alex Cora replaced Devers with pinch-hitter Eduardo Nunez, who bats right-handed.

Nunez golfed a ball over the Green Monster for a 3-run home run to put Boston up 8-4.

Roberts was going for the lefty-lefty matchup, but he overplayed his hand instead of just letting Baez pitch to Devers.

Baez had been lights out in the postseason, allowing just two hits and two walks with 10 strikeouts in 6.2 innings. He had a 0.00 ERA and 0.60 WHIP. By contrast, Wood had a 2.70 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in the postseason and was extremely shaky in September, posting a 6.57 ERA that month. Some fans even questioned the rationale behind having Wood on the postseason roster. And then he goes out and gives up the biggest hit of Game 1.

Roberts is probably going to lose sleep over the decision.

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