Gotta give David Ortiz credit for confidence. When he started in with
that “I love Boston and I want to retire with the Red Sox” stuff last week, I thought it
was the prelude to a campaign to get his $12.5 million 2011 option picked up. Big Papi
is obviously not so constrained in his vision, however. He doesn’t merely want an additional year. He wants a multi-year deal:
“I’m going to tell you, I ain’t going nowhere . . . I
don’t want one year. Why should I return for one year and go through
the same [stuff] I’m going through now, just because it’s my last year?
No. I like to be left alone when I’m playing baseball. I know how to
clean my [stuff] up.”
Never mind that this little campaign of Ortiz’s involves convincing Theo Epstein to do what he’d never, ever do, and that’s giving a multi-year deal to an aging slugger whose slow starts suggest he could totally lose it at any moment and who, for added flavor, spent half a season attempting to start up negotiations through the media.
Yes, Ortiz is having a nice season. Yes, he’s immensely popular in Boston. But no, that doesn’t change the fact that there are a million reasons for the Red Sox to go no more than one year with Ortiz beyond 2010, and at a lower salary than he’s currently making.
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.