Despite lacking his usual command and enduring a couple wobbly innings, Clayton Kershaw was given an opportunity to start the fifth, presumably in part because the Los Angeles Dodgers had just tied it in the top half of the inning.
But after a leadoff walk followed by a single, Kershaw was removed in favor of Ryan Madson. The veteran right-hander was acquired at the waiver trade deadline in August, and had been lights-out for the Dodgers thus far in the postseason.
That’s what made his first offering to Steve Pearce — a wild pitch — all the more perplexing. Madson went on to walk Pearce on four pitches. “I pride myself on being able to get ready quickly. So on an 80-degree day, that was probably just fine. But I don’t think I was completely ready going in there,” Madson explained.
“My arm was ready but I don’t think mechanically I was ready, and it showed that first at-bat. It was a quick up-and-in, but nothing I couldn’t handle. I told them I was ready. I felt like I was ready, but it took another hitter to get ready. I think mainly because of the cold weather and also just the environment.”
Madson bounced back to strike out J.D. Martinez on three pitches, then was hurt by Brian Dozier making a slow transfer on a would-be inning-ending double play. The Red Sox took a lead on the RBI groundout, and Rafael Devers extended it with an RBI single.
Because they were inherited, the runs were not charged to Madson, who heads into Game 2 with a 2-0 record and having allowed just one run on seven hits in 7.1 innings pitched across eight postseason appearances.
While Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has faced plenty of criticism over his decision to replace Pedro Baez with Alex Wood, and it leading to a three-run homer, not allowing Madson or another reliever more than sufficient time to warm up is equally troubling.
Particularly when taking into account the Red Sox had their top of the lineup due to bat and Kershaw’s struggles in the start.
If Madson is called on in Game 2, it will come with a minor change to his routine. Last night in the bullpen we had a couple of heaters going. It was warm out there, but to get up and move around. I didn’t feel as gummy as usual when it’s 75, 80 degrees,” he said.
“So I’m going to make that adjustment tonight, move around a little bit more. I’m going to tell the guys who didn’t pitch last night, just move around a little bit more than usual, move your knee joints. But maybe they’re young and they don’t feel it.”
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