That was pretty rare. Indeed, the Cubs haven’t had a scheduled Sunday off since Herbert Hoover was president. The Nationals/Expos have never had a scheduled Sunday off as far as I can tell. Yet that’s what they did this weekend, playing two on Saturday and taking yesterday off to chill out.
The reason: Chicago’s concern over neighborhood traffic due to the city’s annual Pride Parade in Wrigleyville yesterday. Makes sense, especially at a time where the team and its neighbors and the city are all in a messy fight about the future of the ballpark and its renovations and things. No sense in making things more chaotic when they don’t have to be.
Based on some of the player and executive comments, the day off on Sunday was pretty darn popular. No one likes doubleheaders all that much anymore, but you have to wonder if some occasional Sundays off — say, one at home a season for each team — wouldn’t be about the easiest bone for owners to throw to players the next time the CBA is negotiated. Given how precious they consider the couple of days off they get for the All-Star break you’d have to think that one extra weekend day off at home would be considered pretty darn valuable too.
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.