For the record, Michael Young didn’t even get a ball hit to him in his time at shortstop, and his eighth inning groundout was no more damaging than anyone else’s, so it’s completely unfair of me to be focusing on him here. Still, it’s the the principle of the thing — when you’re bringing in Young and Carlos Marmol in the same double-switch late in a playoff game, it’s usually a pretty good sign that things have gone terribly, terribly wrong.
And you know, for just a little while, it seemed like this might actually work out. Ricky Nolasco looked sharp for the first two innings, but then he fell apart in the third, allowing a run-scoring double from Matt Adams and an absolutely crushed homer to Matt Holliday. Don Mattingly got one more inning from him, then — after the Dodgers had already had four men reach base and scored two against Lance Lynn in the bottom of the fourth — correctly cut bait with his starter by pinch-hitting for him with men on first & second and one out.
That, unfortunately, was the beginning of the end. Skip Schumaker grounded into a double play, and the threat was lost. Kill Mattingly all you want for using Schumaker there, but the reality is that his options were thin. Young? Terrible. Scott Van Slyke? Sure, maybe, but few managers are going against the platoon situation in order to use an unproven young player.
That was it, really, because the Dodgers never showed any life after that. Only one other man even reached second, and Nick Punto immediately got himself picked off after doubling in one of the dumbest baserunning plays of the year. (Though not necessarily, it should be noted, the worst playoff running mistake of his life.)
You’ll notice that Punto was even in to do that, and that’s because Hanley Ramirez was able to manage only six innings (while striking out three times) due to the fractured rib that was clearly too painful to play with. I wouldn’t expect to see him tomorrow, and that’s unfortunate, because this offense is just not the same without him. Yasiel Puig was the only Dodger with more than one hit (he walked as well), and the lack of offense is a primary reason why they find themselves down 3-1, and possibly less than 24 hours from saying so long to the season.