Losing Game-1 of the NLCS is certainly not the time to panic, not even a little bit – but doing so definitely changes the dynamics of the series drastically.
Dodger manager Don Mattingly must now realize that what was once a ‘best-of-seven series’ is now a ‘must-not-lose-three series’ and the very first step towards that end is for Mattingly to lose his ‘no 3-man rotation’ mentality. He must now very seriously consider bringing back his two best starters on short (three-days) rest.
The mere fact that Mattingly has two of the best starting pitchers in the game at his disposal (including the likely 2013 NL Cy Young Award winner) is a luxury that very few managers will ever experience. Having Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke in your camp is more like having two number-one starters rather than having a number one and number two starter – again, a luxury that very few managers will ever experience.
Because of the countless blown opportunities by the Dodgers (and even more so by their manager) in Game-1, Zack Greinke’s brilliant 8-inning/10 strike out performance on Friday night (and into Saturday morning) were all for naught. But what it did do is show everyone (and hopefully Mattingly) that the Cardinals had a very difficult time against Greinke and will most likely have a very difficult time against Kershaw in Game-2 latter today. As such, how can Mattingly not consider bringing back both of these guys on short rest?
It all boils down to just how bad does Mattingly want to win this series.
We can only hope that Mattingly’s horrible decisions on Friday night were an aberration and not a sign of things to come in this best-of-seven series. If they were not, it could be a very short series.
Let’s get it done, boys!