Lance Berkman, Adrian Gonzalez, Vladimir Guerrero and David Wright have all done it seven games in a row. Kyle Blanks, Brett Wallace and Mike Moustakas are some of the lesser lights to do it at least five games in a row. Now Adam Dunn has at least done it twice in a row. With two doubles in Tuesday’s 4-3 loss to the Indians, he’s posted back-to-back multihit games for the first time this season.
Dunn, who started just two games in a 19-day span beinning in late August, was given one final chance by manager Ozzie Guillen on Saturday. He went 0-for-4 that day and 1-for-4 the next, but he finished 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI on Monday and 2-for-4 with another RBI today.
It’s raised his average to .168, the highest he’s finished a day since he was at .171 back on July 4.
The obvious hope is that Dunn can build a little confidence to take with him into next season. The White Sox are on the hook for $14 million in 2012 and $15 million each of the following two years, so there will be no giving up on him anytime soon.
Of course, there’s really nothing Dunn can do from here to make his numbers look anything other than atrocious. He’s currently 66-for-393 with nine games remaining. The best-case scenario: if he could hit .333 in 30 at-bats the rest of the way, that would get him up to a .180 average for the season.
The book heading into the series was that the Dodgers’ starters needed to come up big for them due to questions in the bullpen and that the Brewers’ bullpen was going to dominate Dodgers batters, so they had best do what they can to score off of Milwaukee’s starters. So, of course, the Dodgers starters turned in performances of three and four and a third innings and eight of their nine runs the Brewers have given up have come from their relievers. I dunno, man. It’s baseball. It lends itself to anticipatory analysis worse than any other sport.
All I do know for sure is that this series has been as close as it gets so far, with each game being decided by a run and the outcome being determined late. The first two games have given me a sense that the teams are just feeling each other out and that the next three, in Los Angeles, will provide a bit more coherence to all of this. Not that there isn’t something a bit fun about incoherence when it comes to a playoff series.
Your viewing guide:
NLCS Game 3
Brewers vs. Dodgers
Ballpark: Dodger Stadium
Time: 7:39 PM Eastern
Pitchers: Jhoulys Chacin vs Walker Buehler
Jhoulys Chacin had an excellent NLDS start against the Colorado Rockies, turning in five scoreless innings. If he does something approaching that tonight the Brewers will be in pretty good shape given that Josh Hader — who pitched three shutdown innings in Game one — is available again tonight. To the extent Craig Counsell needs to dig more deeply into his reliever corps, however, things could get dicey. Corbin Burnes, Jeremy Jeffress, Corey Knebel and Joakim Soria have combined to allow seven earned runs in four innings. Brandon Woodruff, who has been dominant thus far, throwing five scoreless innings, stands a good chance of being the opener for Game 4, so Counsell will likely try to keep him off the mound tonight. That puts a decent amount of pressure on Chacin to get the game to Hader with as few innings remaining as possible.
For Los Angeles, it’s Walker Buehler who, the grand slam he gave up to Ronald Acuña in the NLDS notwithstanding, was the Dodgers’ most dominant starter down the stretch. In keeping with the somewhat flipped script so far, however, the Los Angeles bullpen has been solid, allowing just two runs over their ten and two-thirds innings in Games 1 and 2. Not that Dave Roberts wouldn’t love to see Buehler go deep tonight too.