The New York Post reports that the Yankees are talking to former Expo Nick Johnson (we must mention the Expos whenever possible lest they slip from our collective consciousness forever) to be their DH. The thinking is that if he signs on for that gig, Johnny Damon becomes an afterthought, because there won’t be a DH slot to cycle him through in order to give some playing time to Melky and Gardner and that gang.
I don’t think that having Johnson means that the door is closed on Damon — the Yankees haven’t been reported to be thinking that Damon would spend a ton of time DHing, and having both of hem in the fold would make for a very, very nice offense — but bringing him in would bring even more pressure to bear on Damon and Boras.
And while we’re on the subject of Nick Johnson — who could probably be had for sub-Matsui money — allow me to urge the General Manager of my Atlanta Braves to cut this whole conversation short by signing Johnson and his .400 OBP and giving him the first base job. It would be nice to have a guy who could take a walk and be on base for Chipper Jones and Brian McCann once in a while, mmmkay?
The book heading into the series was that the Dodgers’ starters needed to come up big for them due to questions in the bullpen and that the Brewers’ bullpen was going to dominate Dodgers batters, so they had best do what they can to score off of Milwaukee’s starters. So, of course, the Dodgers starters turned in performances of three and four and a third innings and eight of their nine runs the Brewers have given up have come from their relievers. I dunno, man. It’s baseball. It lends itself to anticipatory analysis worse than any other sport.
All I do know for sure is that this series has been as close as it gets so far, with each game being decided by a run and the outcome being determined late. The first two games have given me a sense that the teams are just feeling each other out and that the next three, in Los Angeles, will provide a bit more coherence to all of this. Not that there isn’t something a bit fun about incoherence when it comes to a playoff series.
Your viewing guide:
NLCS Game 3
Brewers vs. Dodgers
Ballpark: Dodger Stadium
Time: 7:39 PM Eastern
Pitchers: Jhoulys Chacin vs Walker Buehler
Jhoulys Chacin had an excellent NLDS start against the Colorado Rockies, turning in five scoreless innings. If he does something approaching that tonight the Brewers will be in pretty good shape given that Josh Hader — who pitched three shutdown innings in Game one — is available again tonight. To the extent Craig Counsell needs to dig more deeply into his reliever corps, however, things could get dicey. Corbin Burnes, Jeremy Jeffress, Corey Knebel and Joakim Soria have combined to allow seven earned runs in four innings. Brandon Woodruff, who has been dominant thus far, throwing five scoreless innings, stands a good chance of being the opener for Game 4, so Counsell will likely try to keep him off the mound tonight. That puts a decent amount of pressure on Chacin to get the game to Hader with as few innings remaining as possible.
For Los Angeles, it’s Walker Buehler who, the grand slam he gave up to Ronald Acuña in the NLDS notwithstanding, was the Dodgers’ most dominant starter down the stretch. In keeping with the somewhat flipped script so far, however, the Los Angeles bullpen has been solid, allowing just two runs over their ten and two-thirds innings in Games 1 and 2. Not that Dave Roberts wouldn’t love to see Buehler go deep tonight too.