Aaron Cook was spiked by Chris Davis on a play at home plate in the second inning Saturday, opening a gash just below his left knee, but he was allowed to continue in the game after going to the Red Sox clubhouse and getting patched up.
As Cook walked off the field with the trainer, Red Sox reliever Clayton Mortensen jogged in from the bullpen to take over on the mound. However, as Mortensen approached the mound, the Red Sox waved him into the dugout. Cook returned to the field within about five minutes, threw two warmup pitches and then got a groundout to end the second inning.
Cook, making his Red Sox debut, opened the game by getting three straight groundouts in the first. He allowed a pair of two-out singles in the second, and a passed ball that followed resulted in a run scoring and Cook’s injury as he was trying to cover home plate. As a result, the Red Sox were down 1-0 after 1 1/2 innings.
Update: Cook probably should have stayed in the clubhouse after the injury. Struggling to keep his sinker down, he gave up four runs before being pulled in the third inning and then was charged with two more after Mortensen came in. Adam Jones’ bomb off a hanging curve probably still hasn’t landed.
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.