Brett Anderson was placed on the disabled list with a sore elbow in early June and Dr. James Andrews later advised him to rest for at least six weeks, which at the time indicated he wouldn’t need to go under the knife.
Unfortunately the time off must not have done much for Anderson’s elbow, as the A’s just announced that the 23-year-old southpaw underwent Tommy John surgery that knocks him out for the remainder of this season and most or perhaps even all of 2012.
Oakland has had tons of injury problems over the years, but losing Anderson is a particularly huge blow. He was limited to just 19 starts last season due to elbow issues, but emerged as a potential ace with a 2.80 ERA and has a 3.66 career mark in 371 innings. Now he’s out for 12-18 months and no sure thing to pick up right where he left off once he does return. It’s a long, bumpy road coming back from Tommy John surgery and the A’s just lost one of their best long-term building blocks.
All of which makes Anderson’s decision to take the guaranteed money of a long-term deal in March of last year look pretty smart. He’ll make $3 million next season whether he pitches or not, has a $5.5 million salary locked in for 2013, and will get $3 million worth of buyouts if the A’s don’t exercise 2014 and 2015 options.
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.