No, Yovani Gallardo still isn’t an option for Game 6 of the NLCS on Sunday

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Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said before last night’s game that Yovani Gallardo wasn’t an option to start Game 6 on Sunday and he isn’t wavering now that his club is facing elimination.

According to Tom Haudricourt and Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Roenicke confirmed that Shaun Marcum will indeed make the start as scheduled, thus saving Yovani Gallardo for a potential Game 7 on Monday.

“Yes,” Roenicke said when asked if Marcum would make the start Sunday at Miller Park. “I’m not going to bring Yovani (Gallardo) back (on short rest).”

Marcum’s struggles date back to the final month of the regular season, but he has allowed 12 runs on 14 hits in 8 2/3 innings over his first two postseason starts. While Roenicke has mostly chalked his poor performance up to some bad luck, one thing we do know is that Marcum isn’t throwing his changeup nearly as often as he did during the regular season. He threw the pitch 8.9 percent of the time in Game 3 of the NLDS against the Diamondbacks and 15.2 percent of the time in Game 2 against the Cardinals on Monday. Widely regarded as the best pitch in his arsenal, he threw the pitch 24.8 percent of the time during the regular season.

As I noted yesterday, this will likely be an all-hands-on-deck situation if Marcum gets into any early trouble. Chris Narveson only faced one batter on Friday, so he would likely be the first arm out of the bullpen if they need multiple innings.

Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
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Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.

The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.

The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.