I think a lot of the baseball world has gotten a jump start on their holiday weekend so there isn’t much news a-happenin’. There are a couple of games going down, however, one of which — Reds at Cubs — I have on while I’m working.
Fun development a few minutes ago: Ryan Dempster walked Johnny Gomes and Jay Bruce, and then the bases were loaded due to an error by Mike Fontenot. That brought up the pitcher, Bronson Arroyo. Dempster walked him on four straight pitches.
The pitcher. On four straight. I mean, sure, Arroyo has a little bit of pop in his bat for a pitcher, but how do you not throw that guy 75-percenters right down the pike and make him put the ball in play? If anyone wonders why Lou Piniella lookes half-dazed all the time, this is the reason why.
Dempster was just pulled after giving up five runs on only two hits. He struck out nine dudes, though, so it was a very LaLooshian performance. On some weird level I found his scuffling, off-kilter performance quite comforting as background noise on what has turned out to be a bit of a scuffling, off-kilter day.
One team has punched its ticket to the Fall Classic. Two teams are looking to join them, with the Dodgers carrying the distinct advantage. Los Angeles needs only a split in the final two games of the NLCS while Milwaukee needing to win both games at home. Doable? Absolutely. But to do it, the Brewers are going to have to wake up their sleepy bats.
NLCS Game 6
Dodgers vs. Brewers
Ballpark: Miller Park
Time: 8:39 PM Eastern
Pitchers: Hyun-Jin Ryu vs Wade Miley
The Dodgers will give the ball to left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu, who tossed seven shutout innings in Game 1 of the NLDS but allowed two runs and tossed 72 pitches, failing to get out of the fifth inning, in Game 2 against Milwaukee. Even if he again turns in a short outing Dave Roberts should feel pretty confident, however, as the Dodgers’ bullpen — considered a question mark coming into this series — has allowed only three runs in in 21 and two-thirds innings of work.
For Milwaukee it’s once again Wade Miley, who was the Game 5 “starter,” but who pitched to only one batter. I suppose it’s possible that Craig Counsell will burn him like that again, but it seems more likely that Miley will actually pitch in this game rather than be used as a decoy.
As I noted the other day, though, the Brewers’ pitching gamesmanship has not really been a factor in this series. The real problem for them has been their offense. They’ve scored only 16 runs in five games while batting .219. That’s actually identical to the Dodgers’ run total and average overall, but L.A. has been better at distributing that meager offense. Milwaukee has been cold at the worst times, too, going 5-for-35 with runners in scoring position in the series, including one for their last 11. If that doesn’t change, their season ends tonight.