A’s sign Sean Doolittle to long-term extension

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Left-hander Sean Doolittle and the A’s have agreed to a long-term contract that runs through at least 2018, with team options for 2019 and 2020.

Doolittle is making the minimum salary this season and was already under team control through 2018, so essentially the A’s pre-paid for his arbitration seasons and in return got cost certainty plus the right to buy out his first two years of free agency.

A converted position player, Doolittle has been one of the league’s best relievers since debuting in 2012 at age 25, throwing 125 innings with a 3.10 ERA and 129/24 K/BB ratio. He throws strikes and misses tons of bats, and the southpaw has actually been more effective versus righties than lefties.

Now that they don’t have to worry about huge arbitration demands it’ll be interesting to see if the A’s are more willing to give Doolittle a crack at the closer job at some point.

Dodgers look to join the Red Sox in the World Series

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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
TV: FS1
Pitchers:  Hyun-Jin Ryu vs Wade Miley
Breakdown:

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.