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World Series 2020: Is L.A.’s latest bullpen meltdown the start of an all-time October disappointment?

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Both the allure of and the disgust for this time of year can be captured in how the minute details profoundly impact what resonates. If Kevin Kiermaier’s shattered-bat, ninth-inning blooper is hit an inch or two more shallow, Enrique Hernandez probably pulls off a diving catch, and maybe we’re talking about how Justin Turner — the local kid who watched Kirk Gibson from his grandmother’s living room — has his childhood team one win away from a championship.

If home plate umpire Chris Guccione pulls the trigger on a 1-2 cutter that tailed slightly outside on Randy Arozarena, the final out is recorded, and maybe we’re talking about how Kenley Jansen — the demoted longtime closer who earned his way back at the perfect time — recorded the most important save of his life.

If Pedro Baez throws his dominant changeup to Brandon Lowe in a crucial sixth-inning at-bat and doesn’t give up the home run that spiraled everything out of control, maybe we’re talking about how Clayton Kershaw — of all people — can pitch the Los Angeles Dodgers to a World Series title on Sunday.cheap new nike nfl jerseys

Instead, it’s manager Dave Roberts’ bullpen management. It’s Chris Taylor’s bobble. It’s Will Smith’s drop. It’s Jansen’s mental lapse. It’s an 8-7 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays and a Series suddenly, shockingly, tied at 2. It’s the Dodgers, reeling after the most improbable of ninth-inning comebacks, and how they somehow bounce back from this.

“We can’t let this beat us,” Jansen said late Saturday night. “We have to let it go.”5

Jansen, who worked to simplify his delivery earlier this month, seemed fairly sharp when he took the mound hoping to protect a one-run lead. The one-out single he allowed to the No. 9-hitting Kiermaier, which fell just beyond Hernandez in shallow center field, was hit 64 mph. The two-out, game-winning single by Brett Phillips, hit to nearly the exact same spot, traveled 83 mph. Both were flares.

“I didn’t give up one hard hit,” Jansen said. “What can I do?”

Taylor — playing center field as part of the ripple effect that began with Cody Bellinger having to move to designated hitter because of a stiff lower back — lifted his head to watch the speedy Arozarena as he began his turn of second base and briefly lost sight of the baseball, prompting an aggressive send by Rays third-base coach Rodney Linares.

Taylor retrieved the ball quickly and threw to Dodgers first baseman Max Muncy. Arozarena tumbled. He was primed for a rundown. But Smith, the Dodgers’ 25-year-old catcher, wasn’t aware. He attempted to field the throw and make a quick swipe with his glove, but the baseball squirted away. If Smith knows where Arozarena is, maybe he takes his time and secures the ball first. And if Jansen is backing up the play, rather than standing directly in front of it, maybe the game extends into extra innings.

“Yeah,” Turner said afterward, “that was uncharacteristic of us.”

Game 4 began to turn in the bottom of the sixth, when Baez replaced Blake Treinen with two on, one out and Lowe up to bat. Opposing left-handed hitters slugged .111 off Baez’s changeup this season. But with the count at 2-2, Baez shook off a sign for the changeup, threw a four-seam fastball instead and watched it travel 399 feet for a go-ahead, three-run homer.

After Baez recorded the next two outs, Roberts greeted him in the dugout and told him he was finished. Then the Dodgers got a two-out, pinch-hit, two-run single by Joc Pederson in the top of the seventh and retook the lead. Then Roberts asked Baez to come back out for the bottom half.cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

“I take blame for having him go back out,” Roberts said. “We were down, I told him he was finished, and so to ask him to go back out and to see how he felt — he said he felt good — but I shouldn’t have [told him he was finished after the sixth] and just kinda kept him burning a little bit.”

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