Entering a 1-0 game with one on and two outs in the eighth, Kerry Wood walked three straight batters to tie up Thursday’s matinee between the Cubs and Nationals.
It wasn’t a case of Wood completely losing the strike zone, but he did keep just missing after getting to two strikes on both Adam LaRoche and Jayson Werth. Werth’s walk with the bases loaded proved to be the equalizer, denying Ryan Dempster a chance at a victory after a strong outing.
The Cubs have themselves pretty good rotation depth and a lineup without any huge holes, but the bullpen could be a disaster. Closer Carlos Marmol was a mess last year and he gave up seven runs in 8 1/3 innings this spring. Wood is bound to get hurt at some point. Right now, their other four relievers are James Russell, Rafael Dolis, Shawn Camp (who failed to make the Mariners this spring) and Lendy Castillo (a Rule 5 pick from the Phillies who has only been pitching for two years). It’s easy to envision them losing a lot of games late this year.
Update: Marmol ended up taking the loss in this one, though incredibly enough, no walks were involved. With two outs in the ninth, Marmol gave up a shot to right that David DeJesus got all turned around on, resulting in a double for Chad Tracy. Ian Desmond went on to single him in, giving the Nats a 2-1 lead they were able to hold on to (barely) in the bottom of the ninth.
It’s winner-take-all tonight. The Brewers are out for their first National League pennant in franchise history, while the Dodgers will look to secure back-to-back pennant wins for the first time since 1977-78. Taking the mound: Right-handers Jhoulys Chacín and Walker Buehler, both of whom were last seen in Game 3 of the NLCS. Chacín fired 5 1/3 shutout innings of three-hit, six-strikeout ball to secure his second win of the 2018 postseason, while Buehler took his first loss after allowing four runs and striking out eight over seven innings.
Here are the lineups for Game 7:
1. Joc Pederson (L) LF
2. Max Muncy (L) 1B
3. Justin Turner (R) 3B
4. Manny Machado (R) SS
5. Cody Bellinger (L) CF
6. Yasiel Puig (R) RF
7. Chris Taylor (R) 2B
8. Austin Barnes (R) C
9. Walker Buehler (R) P
David Freese will sit out of the Dodgers’ series finale, though he could be brought in later to pinch-hit. In his place, Max Muncy will shift from second to first base, with Chris Taylor covering second and Joc Pederson slotting into the left field corner and batting leadoff. Taylor and Puig have also swapped places in the batting order, with Puig getting bumped up to the no. 6 spot for Saturday’s game.
1. Lorenzo Cain (R) CF
2. Christian Yelich (L) RF
3. Ryan Braun (R) LF
4. Travis Shaw (L) 2B
5. Jesús Aguilar (R) 1B
6. Mike Moustakas (L) 3B
7. Erik Kratz (R) C
8. Orlando Arcia (R) SS
9. Jhoulys Chacín (R) P
Not surprisingly, there are no changes on the Brewers’ end here. They’ll try to replicate yesterday’s 7-2 stunner as they face off against Walker Buehler for a World Series berth.
Game time is scheduled for 8:09 PM EDT at Miller Park.