The Los Angeles Dodgers and the Washington Nationals played a very good baseball game on Thursday night – and Friday morning. The Dodgers beat the Nationals, 4-3, in a Game 5 to advance to the NLCS. It was good stuff. Hope you didn’t have to go to work this morning.
The game sprinted past the D.C. Metro’s last train on Thursday and slowly and intentionally walked into the early hours of Friday morning thanks to – among other basic baseball things – so damn many pitching changes. The official time of the game is listed at an astounding 4-hours and 32-minutes. For a 9-inning game. On a weeknight.
Baseball is good. 272-minutes of baseball in a single evening is bad. According to MLB.com, this was the longest game in postseason history that didn’t go into extra innings. The fact that this specifies postseason makes me think there was a regular season baseball game that lasted longer than 4-hours and 32-minutes and only went 9 innings. Can you imagine?
(The previous record belonged to – you guessed it – the Red Sox and Yankees in Game 3 of the 2004 ALCS.)
13 total pitchers were used. There were eight mid-inning pitching changes.
The Nationals used seven of those pitchers which is really impressive when you see that Max Scherzer went 6 innings. He was followed by a parade of Marc Rzepczynski (0.0 innings), Blake Treinen (0.1), Sammy Solis (0.1), Shawn Kelley (0.0), and finally, Oliver Perez (0.1). Didn’t Perez pitch a whole inning? Yes, he did. That was just the 7th. Washington used 5 pitchers in the 7th and gave up 4 runs.
Marc Melancon pitched the final 1 and 1/3 innings.
As for pitch counts, Sherzer threw 99 pitches and the other 6 pitchers threw an average of 8.3 pitches a piece. That’s a hell of a lot of situational baseball.
Now let’s turn our attention to the team that won. Dodgers starter Rich Hill had the heaviest workload for Los Angeles, pitching the first 2.2 innings of the game and throwing 55 pitches in the process. The Dodgers pitcher who did the second most? Closer Kenley Jensen threw 51 pitches in 2.1 innings. Then there was Julio Urias going 2 innings on 30 pitches. That doesn’t take into account any of his “clearly illegal to everyone but MLB umpires” pick off throws.
Finally, in this blog post, and in that game, you have Clayton Kershaw. He started the series going 5 innings on October 7th. He then re-started Game 4 on short rest on October 11th before finally finishing the series with 2/3 of an inning in Game 5, earning his first major league save.
That’s an awesome ending for Kershaw and the Dodgers. Too bad it happened so late that people on the West Coast were already starting to think about going to bed. Major League Baseball should really do something about this. I don’t have any suggests beyond “hurry the f— up” but somebody should be able to come up with something. Anything. There’s no reason 9-inning games should creep past 3 hours, let alone four and a half.
Though I suppose if the Dodgers start a position player at pitcher in Game 1 of the NLCS it might have been worth it.