Heading into the World Series the Los Angeles Dodgers were said by many to hold the edge in the bullpen. While Chris Devenski, Ken Giles and Joe Musgrove enjoyed plenty of success in the regular season, the playoffs brought about shaky results.
One night after Brad Peacock backed Lance McCullers Jr. with 3.2 hitless innings to convert the first save of his career, Astros manager A.J. Hinch called on the aforementioned trio, plus Will Harris.
Harris inherited a runner at second base with one out in the seventh inning. He struck out Yasiel Puig but surrendered a game-tying base hit to Logan Forsythe.
Devenski retired the Dodgers in order in the eighth inning. Giles entered in the ninth and immediately faced a jam. Corey Seager led off with a single and Justin Turner drew a walk to put two on with nobody out.
Giles left a curveball out over the plate to Cody Bellinger, and he drove it into left-center field for an RBI double that broke the tie. In came Musgrove, who struck out Puig and intentionally walked Forsythe, only for Austin Barnes to hit a sacrifice fly and Joc Pederson a three-run home run.
Following the loss, Musgrove expressed some frustration over the high fastball Pederson managed to turn on, via MLB.com:
“You get away with plenty of fastballs down the middle that guys foul off,” Musgrove said. “You throw one up out of the zone where you want, and they beat you.”
Giles lamented his performance in Game 4 and vowed to right the ship:
“They’re all crappy pitches, not where I want them,” Giles said. “I need to do better. I know A.J. has the confidence in me, and I’m going to be ready to go for him, and I’m going to pick up my weight. I’m going to do what I need to do.”
After his club’s loss, which allowed the Dodgers to even the series, Hinch conceded his bullpen has had a rough go of it in the postseason. “We’ve got to get 27 outs,” he said. “You’ve got to keep trying to encourage them to do their part and come in and do well.”
“Clearly he’s trying to push through the adversity that he’s had,” Hinch said of Giles. “But to be a backend reliever you’ve got to live on that edge of not carrying too long of a memory because of the things that can happen at the back of the game.
“But you have your ball in your hands at the most critical times because you have the best stuff. He can get outs, and he’ll continue to get outs, but it’s been tough on him.”
Giles has been charged with a combined five runs and only retired five of 11 batters faced in his two World Series appearances.