LOS ANGELES — Working on a one-hitter with a 4-0 lead, Rich Hill had just sent Eduardo Nunez down swinging for the first out of the seventh inning.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts had seen enough. Walking to the mound, he signalled to the bullpen and Hill was gone.
On came Scott Alexander and the beginning of another troubled outing for Los Angeles’ bullpen in the World Series.
The relievers combined to give up eight of Boston’s nine runs over the final three innings in a 9-6 loss Saturday that sent the Dodgers to the brink of elimination for the second straight year.
Even President Donald Trump questioned Roberts’ moves .
“Watching the Dodgers/Red Sox final innings,” he tweeted. “It is amazing how a manager takes out a pitcher who is loose & dominating through almost 7 innings, Rich Hill of Dodgers, and brings in nervous reliever(s) who get shellacked. 4 run lead gone. Managers do it all the time, big mistake!”
Watching the Dodgers/Red Sox final innings. It is amazing how a manager takes out a pitcher who is loose & dominating through almost 7 innings, Rich Hill of Dodgers, and brings in nervous reliever(s) who get shellacked. 4 run lead gone. Managers do it all the time, big mistake!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 28, 2018
Los Angeles trails 3-1 in the best-of-seven Series. Game 5 is Sunday at Dodger Stadium, where the Dodgers lost to Houston in Game 7 a year ago.
Alexander inherited a runner from Hill, who had issued a leadoff walk to Xander Bogaerts. Alexander walked Brock Holt and Roberts was quick with the hook.
The Dodgers turned to Ryan Madson, brought in from the Nationals in August to bolster the ‘pen in high-leverage situations.
It didn’t work.
Madson gave up a three-run homer to pinch-hitter Mitch Moreland, drawing the Red Sox to 4-3.
The Dodgers turned to Kenley Jansen in the eighth for the second straight game.
The All-Star closer served up a one-out homer to Steve Pearce that tied the game at 4-all.
Hours earlier, Jansen gave up Jackie Bradley Jr.’s tying homer in the eighth inning of an epic Game 3, blowing his attempt at a six-out save in his third major World Series failure in two years.
But the bullpen rallied, with eight relievers combining for 11 innings of five-hit ball in the longest World Series game in history. They mostly shut down Boston’s powerful lineup and the Dodgers eked out a 3-2 victory in 18 innings of the 7 hour, 20 minute affair. Converted reliever Alex Wood got the win by pitching out of trouble in the 18th after giving up a leadoff walk.
Jansen struggled against Houston a year ago in the World Series, too.
He gave up a solo homer to Marwin Gonzalez in Game 2 for his first blown save in the post-season. It snapped his major-league record of converting his first 12 post-season save chances.
In Game 5, he took the loss in a 10-inning defeat.
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