That collective sigh you hear is coming all the way from Atlanta
The Dodgers ninth inning rally came up just a little bit short, but they never should’ve been in that scenario. With closer Mark Melancon warmed up in the bottom of the ninth inning, Brian Snitker instead went with Josh Tomlin, whose 4.76 regular season ERA inspires little confidence within the fanbase. Tomlin will likely be on the first bus back to Atlanta after giving up a two-run shot to Max Muncy, and Snitker is lucky he isn’t being shoved onto that Greyhound as we speak.
Sure, it makes since Snitker wouldn’t want to waste his closer in a game where the Braves held a five-run lead. However, Atlanta’s bullpen is a strength, and they have Shane Greene (among other pitchers far superior to Tomlin) available at their disposal. Going with Tomlin was an intriguing choice to begin with, and it failed miserably.
Snitker finally did bring in his closer in a tough situation in the ninth
Muncy’s home run made a once comfortable lead just a two-run advantage. With the Dodgers charging ahead and the pressure on, Snitker turned to Melancon and asked him to jump in front of a moving car. The longtime closer did his best, but not before giving up a single to Will Smith and a triple to Cody Bellinger, leaving the tying run just 90 feet away from home plate.
Bullpen mismanagement is a funny thing. In the grand scheme of managing a professional baseball team, it can fall by the wayside. In a regular season game, putting in Tomlin with a five-run advantage may seem harmless. But this is the NLCS, and they’re the Los Angeles Dodgers. LA finished with the best record in baseball for a reason, and went on a tear towards the end of the season. If any team can challenge the Braves for the best lineup in baseball, it’s them.
So why screw around? Just get the three outs with one of your best relievers, which could include one of Melancon or Greene. Hopefully, Snitker can adjust on the fly.