Seventh-round pick Trevor Gretzky signs with Cubs

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Trevor Gretzky, son of The Great One, has picked the Cubs over San Diego State, that according to Aztecs coach Tony Gwynn.

“We heard he signed with the Cubs on Monday,” Gwynn told the Toronto Sun on Thursday.

The Cubs have yet to confirm the signing, which is sure to be for considerably more than slot money.  MLB is often hesitant to improve such deals until just before the Aug. 15 deadline.

The largest bonus given to a seventh-round pick so far this year was $200,000 from the Mets to first baseman Cole Frenzel.  The Cubs might be in that same neighborhood with Gretzky.

Of course, unlike a lot of draft picks, Trevor Gretzky doesn’t really need the money.  As a first baseman at Oaks Christian in California, he wore the same number 99 his father did throughout his hockey career.  Since finances weren’t an issue, many thought he would choose college over the pros.

“Our scouts conveyed to him this wasn’t a PR move,” Cubs GM Jim Hendry told the Chicago Tribune last month. “There can be a burden having a famous father but we won’t make him feel like he’s Wayne Gretzky’s son. He’s his own young man. We wanted Trevor. Our scouts had him going a few rounds higher.”

At 6-foot-4, Trevor Gretzky gets pretty good reviews for his power potential, but he’s even more of a project than most high schoolers.  He probably won’t be assigned to a full-season league until 2013.

Brewers on the brink of their first pennant in 36 years

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A series that had swung back and forth twice already swung back in Milwaukee’s favor last night with a convincing win. That it was convincing — it was not at all close after the second inning — is a key factor heading into today, as Craig Counsell has his bullpen set up nicely to shorten the game if his Brewers can get an early lead.

Josh Hader — who, if you are unaware, has not allowed a run and has struck out 12 batters in seven innings of postseason work — did not pitch yesterday or in Game 5. As such, he’s had three full days off. Given that this is a win or go home day and, if they win, he’s guaranteed two more days off before the World Series, he’s good for two innings and could very well go for three. That’s not what you want if you’re the Dodgers.

But it gets worse. Jeremy Jeffress pitched last night but it was only one pretty easy inning, so he could go two if he has to. Corey Knebel pitched an inning and two-thirds but he could probably give Counsell an inning of work if need be. Joakim Soria didn’t pitch at all yesterday. Between those guys and the less important relievers, all of whom save Brandon Woodruff are all pretty fresh, the Dodgers aren’t going to have any easy marks.

But the thing is: Counsell may not need to go that deep given that Jhoulys Chacin, their best starter of the postseason, gets the start. So, yes, in light of that, you have to like the Brewers’ chances tonight, and that’s before you realize that the home crowd is going to be louder than hell.

Not that the Dodgers are going to roll over — it’ll be all hands on deck for them with every pitcher except for Hyun-Jim Ryu available, you figure — but if they’re going to repeat as NL champs, they’re going to have to earn it either by bloodying Chacin’s nose early and neutralizing the threat of facing Hader and company with a lead, or by marching through the teeth of the Brewers bullpen and coming out alive on the other side.
NLCS Game 6

Dodgers vs. Brewers
Ballpark: Miller Park
Time: 8:09 PM Eastern
TV: FS1
Pitchers:  Walker Buehler vs. Jhoulys Chacin
Breakdown:

The most important part of this breakdown — the stuff about the Brewers’ pen — has already been said and, I presume anyway, the starters here will have the shortest of leashes. Chacin’s will be longer, as he has not allowed a run over 10 and a third innings in his first two postseason starts, making him the Brewers’ defacto ace. Every inning he goes tonight makes things much, much harder for the Dodgers once he’s gone as it means Milwaukee will be able to rely more and more on Hader and Jeffress, so the Dodgers had best get to him early.

Buehler has come up weak so far this postseason, having allowed nine runs in 12 innings, including surrendering four runs on six hits over seven innings in Milwaukee’s Game 3 victory. Still, it’s not hard to remember how dominating he was in the second half of the season. If that Buehler shows up and can keep things close, we’ll have a ballgame. If L.A. finds itself in an early hole once again, theirs will be the tallest of orders.