This is fun. The crazy sequence where Craig Breslow threw away the ball when he tried to get Jon Jay at third base last night? The one that resulted in the go-ahead and what proved to be the winning run scoring? The only reason that happened is because Jon Jay failed to play baseball The Cardinal Way.
Watch the v45 second mark of the video here, when Matt Carpenter hits the fly ball to left field. Specifically, watch Jay at second base. Even more specifically, watch him fail to tag up on what almost everyone should have seen was a fly ball that was going to be caught:
As a result of not tagging up, Jay could not run to third simultaneously with Pete Kozma who was tagging up from third and running home. He has to scamper back to second, tag, and then go to third. Since he was running late to third, Breslow thought he had a shot, threw the ball away and then Jay scored.
Of course Carlos Beltran then came up and singled in Descalso, who also advanced on the play, and if Jay had been standing on third as fundamentally sound baseball would have had him do, it would have been him who scored. Still, the defining play of that game — the place where the wheels fell off for the Red Sox — was the result of some decidedly non-heads up baserunning by Jay.
Irresponsible baserunning. A bad throw. Man, somewhere, Yasiel Puig was watching this all and smiling.
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.