There was speculation that the White Sox would block the Indians’ attempt to reunite with Jim Thome by claiming him off waivers with their higher spot in line, but Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that Thome indeed made it all the way to Cleveland on the waiver wire.
Rosenthal also reports that the White Sox ended up with the winning claim on Jason Kubel, so they simply decided to go after a different left-handed hitter from the middle of the Twins’ lineup.
Thome has a no-trade clause in his contract and Rosenthal notes that he’d prefer to join the Phillies for the stretch run, but the Indians are now the only team eligible to trade for the future Hall of Famer and could definitely use him with Travis Hafner potentially undergoing season-ending foot surgery.
Kubel being traded is far less likely, because as a Type B (and possibly Type A) free agent the Twins should be looking for a return package at least as valuable as the compensatory draft picks they’d receive if he left this offseason.
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.