Just got the press release from MLB announcing the beginning of interleague play this weekend. As usual, the league touts the attendance boost it brings:
Interleague Play drew 8,468,620 fans in 2011, averaging 33,606 fans per game. The average 2011 Interleague attendance was 12.1 percent higher than the season’s final intraleague average of 29,985. Since its inception in 1997, Interleague Play has drawn an average of 33,285 fans per game, which is 11.8 percent higher than the intraleague average of 29,774 during the same span.
They always leave out the fact that interlegaue play is disproportionately centered (a) on weekends; and (b) in warm weather months. I’d like to see how a Mariners-Rockies series would draw on a Wednesday in April, but I guess we won’t know how that works until next season.
Oh well. We’re way past complaining about this. Matchups this upcoming weekend that seem fun, with the home team listed second: White Sox-Cubs, Orioles-Nationals, Red Sox-Phillies and the Braves-Rays. Actually, a series I’m most looking forward to this weekend is an intraleague thing: Cardinals-Dodgers.
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.