Try to pick apart a one-run baseball game, and you can come up with literally thousands of ways the losing team faltered.
After the Los Angeles Dodgers lost 7-6 in Game 2 of the World Series, you could question Dave Roberts’ decision to lean on closer Kenley Jansen for two innings. You could point to Josh Fields and Brandon McCarthy letting the Houston Astros re-take the lead in extras. You could wonder how the heck Mr. October 2017 Justin Turner suddenly went hitless. You get the point.
Well, unless you’re Dodgers legend Steve Garvey. Following the team’s Game 2 loss, Garvey didn’t blame Jansen or the relievers or Turner or any other rational thing for the loss. No, instead he blamed something called “Millennial baseball.”
Steve Garvey is frustrated with “Millennial Baseball” pic.twitter.com/knzZ3ObMdH
— Ryan Walton (@RyanWaltonSBN) October 26, 2017
As far as we can tell from that clip, “Millennial baseball” consists of the following:
Scoring runs — but not manufacturing them
Taking a big swing
Not trying to get the runners over
No hit and runs
Being efficient … but not if you lose? We’re a little fuzzy on this one.
We don’t have to explain all the ways in which Garvey is wrong about this, do we? Are you going to make us do that? OK, fine.
• The Dodgers scored six runs against the Astros in Game 2, which isn’t bad. When the Dodgers have scored at least six runs in a game, they’ve gone 57-4 this year — including the playoffs. It doesn’t really matter if they are “manufacturing” as long as they are scoring them, but more on that in a sec.
• Taking big swings results in home runs. The Dodgers hit four of them Wednesday night. So did the Astros. It worked out well for them.
• The Dodgers struck out 11 times in the game. The Astros struck out eight. If you’re going to cite a one-game sample, fine. The Astros struck out three fewer times and won. But a strikeout really isn’t much different than a regular out. And if we’re going to use one-game samples, the Dodgers won Game 1 of the National League Division Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks despite striking out more than the D-Backs. They scored nine runs in that game, so strikeouts don’t really preclude them from scoring.
• When in the world were the Dodgers supposed to bunt in this game? Joc Pederson opened up the scoring for them with a home run. The next inning, Chris Taylor walked and then Corey Seager hit a home run. Cody Bellinger reached on an error to start the seventh, but you had both Yasiel Puig and Pederson coming up that inning. You weren’t going to bunt with them. Puig hit a home run in the 10th, and the team’s rally later that inning came with two outs. Charlie Culberson hit a home run in the 11th. If you think Seager, Puig or Pederson should have laid down a bunt in this game, you are asking to lose.
• The hit and run complaint falls into the same category. Bellinger got to second with Puig at the plate in the seventh, so he would have scored on a single anyway. No need there. And you’re not asking Pederson to hit and run. His game is patience and power.
• Finally, the efficiency part kinda ruins Garvey’s entire argument. The Dodgers capitalized on nearly every situation during Thursday’s game. They scored six runs on five hits … that’s pretty darn good.
Not to mention that this was a one-run game! It wasn’t a blowout. The Dodgers were in the game the whole way, even mounting two comebacks — and nearly picking up a third in the 11th. This is a game where you tip your cap to the winning team for pulling out a hard-fought win. But both clubs showed a lot of fight.
We are appreciative to Garvey for coming up with the phrase “Millennial baseball,” though. That’s bound to stir up some hot opinions. It’s also a great ska revival band name. “Millennial baseball is playing at The Rave next Tuesday. I hope they do some Sublime covers.”
What it’s not is a legitimate thing to cite when trying to pin the blame on the Dodgers for losing Game 2 of the World Series. The phrase sounds scandalous and controversial, but it means nothing.
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