You could say that L.A. won Game 1 despite itself — their starting pitching (Randy Wolf) struggled and their offense stranded too many runners. Luckily, they had Matt Kemp and a strong bullpen:
The Dodgers’ starting pitcher couldn’t get out of the fourth inning, and their offense had a woeful two hits in 15 at-bats with runners in scoring position. Yet, none of that mattered, as the Dodgers plodded their way to a 5-3 victory in Game One of the National League Division Series, the longest game in NLDS history at three hours, 54 minutes.
Randy Wolf, making his first career playoff start, was shaky and wild all night. He loaded the bases with nobody out in the first inning, but managed to escape allowing only one run. Leaving men on base was a pattern for both teams, as the Dodgers (16) and Cardinals (14) combined to leave a division series record 30 men on base.
Wolf allowed 12 baserunners while only getting 11 outs. Thankfully for the Dodgers, Chris Carpenter also wasn’t sharp, and they were able to capitalize. A Matt Kemp home run in the first inning gave the Dodgers a 2-1 lead that they would never relinquish. The Dodgers pecked away the rest of the game, tacking on single runs in the third, fifth, and sixth innings. Carpenter allowed 14 baserunners while getting his 15 outs.
Speaking of Randy Wolf, he was pulled in the fourth inning in favor of Jeff Weaver, who pitched 1.1 innings to get the win. It’s pretty incredible that Wolf had only given up two runs through 3.2 innings when he was pulled, considering he’d allowed six hits and walked five for a tidy 3.00 WHIP. So, essentially, he should’ve just started each inning he pitched with the bases loaded.
So, while it would seem clear that Wolf was pulled because he really wasn’t sharp — like, at all — SB Nation’s Viva El Birdos thinks there might be some strategy behind the move:
[Torre] pulls Randy Wolf in the top of the 4th? Is this a prelude toward using him to start game 4, so that Torre can avoid using the slumping Chad Billingsley? Interesting moves, to say the least.
Yeah, I don’t see that being the case. But hey, conspiracy theories are fun!