BOSTON -- When you're the reliever management trusts to rescue the club from the toughest jams, you're also the one explaining when it goes south.
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Dodgers reliever Ryan Madson did the pitching and the explaining after Wednesday night's 4-2 loss to the Red Sox left Los Angeles down 0-2 in the World Series. The Dodgers have trailed best-of-seven series 0-2 nine times, winning three times -- the 1955, '65 and '81 World Series.
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Madson took over for Clayton Kershaw in Game 1, walking Steve Pearce to load the bases and allowing both inherited runners to score. He came on again in the fifth inning of Game 2 with a 2-1 lead, inheriting three runners, walking Pearce again to tie the game, then allowing two more inherited runners to score on a two-out flare single by J.D. Martinez. That's all five inherited runners scoring in two games.
"It's kind of a crapshoot with inherited runners," said Madson. "You can be good at it for a long time, then a bloop hit or a walk like tonight. It's not automatic. Just to be in that situation has been a lot of fun and I learned a bit of humility tonight."
The Dodgers acquired Madson at the Aug. 31 deadline because of his postseason experience, and they used him in the National League Division Series and the NL Championship Series as the first reliever for any and all emergencies, calling on him frequently and successfully with runners on base. They probably wouldn't have gotten this far without him.
"Madson has been our guy for quite some time, and he's pitched out of big spots there," said manager Dave Roberts. "The usage right there, I'm not worried about that. He's fresh. He pitched yesterday, didn't throw too many pitches. Had a couple of days off coming into the series, has an off-day tomorrow. So that part of it was pretty easy. And I just felt I really liked him against Pearce. In that spot he's done it time and time again for us, but the last couple of nights it hasn't worked out."
Madson struck out Martinez on three pitches in Game 1, but this time Martinez muscled an inside fastball to right field.
"The at-bat last night, the situation is a very similar situation," said Martinez. "And I felt like I kind of made the adjustment today of going up there and trusting my eyes, not just going up there and thinking he's wild and he's not going to throw a strike. So that was pretty much kind of what I learned from the night before."
Right fielder Yasiel Puig, respecting the slugger's power, was too deep to even attempt a catch of the single.
"I think with the Martinez ball, even if [Puig] was in, it's going to drop in," Roberts said. "It's two out, they're running on contact. And you've got to still respect J.D.'s power. But I thought it was an executed pitch that he just got enough of it to muscle it out to the outfield. I don't think the outfield depth really played a factor in that."
In Game 1, Madson took over for Kershaw with no outs and barely warmed up. Afterward, he said his arm was ready but his mechanics weren't because of the quick warmup in the cold Boston air. After Game 2, Madson said a longer warmup didn't net better results.
"Yeah, but it didn't matter," he said. "Once you're away from the heater, it's cold. Everybody else has the same thing."
In Game 2, starter Hyun-Jin Ryu escaped a second-inning jam when Ian Kinsler was thrown out at third base on Jackie Bradley Jr.'s RBI single to end the inning. After a Mookie Betts one-out single in the third, Ryu retired seven consecutive batters. With two outs in the fifth, he had a 1-2 count on Christian Vazquez but allowed a single to right. Betts singled Vazquez to second on an 0-1 pitch, then Ryu walked Andrew Benintendi in an eight-pitch at-bat to load the bases and end his outing.
"Obviously, I was ahead in the count and there was a moment I could have ended that inning," Ryu said of the Vazquez at-bat. "If I could have commanded my pitches better, I think there would have been a different result, but that's only hindsight."
Ryu was charged with the two runs that scored on Martinez's single off Madson for a total of four in 4 2/3 innings. While the line looked worse than the outing, he's made three consecutive postseason starts on the road and has an 8.25 ERA in them after posting a 1.15 ERA at home this year. But the Dodgers wanted Ryu to start twice in the NLCS and the World Series, so if this series lasts long enough, his next start again will be on the road at Fenway Park.
"Watching Game 1 from the dugout, I thought the cold would be a problem," said Ryu. "But on the mound, it wasn't a problem. Maybe next outing I'll do even better."