Update: Hundley was placed on the disabled list prior to Friday’s game, making room for Phillips.
It hasn’t put him on the DL, but Nick Hundley is unavailable for Friday’s game with a strained right oblique, forcing the Padres to call up a third catcher in Kyle Phillips.
Although he’s slumping lately, Hundley has been the Padres’ best hitter this season, amassing a .263/.336/.421 line, three homers and 12 RBI in 95 at-bats. After opening the season in the eight hole, he’s spent time batting fourth and fifth recently.
Taking his place tonight is ex-Mariner Rob Johnson, who won the Padres’ backup catcher gig by default after Gregg Zaun retired this spring. He’s 8-for-27 with a homer and 11 strikeouts in limited action.
Phillips, the younger brother of former big-leaguer Jason Phillips, will be making his major league debut nine years after being drafted by the Twins. He was hitting .316/.341/.447 in 76 at-bats for Double-A San Antonio.
(And, yes, that is a picture of Nick Hundley. You just have to look really closely.)
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.