Update: Well, the streak is over. Duda hit a go-ahead RBI double in the eighth inning against lefty reliever Matt Thornton.
Mets first baseman Lucas Duda is on a home run tear. The slugging lefty drilled solo home runs in each of his first two plate appearances on Saturday night against the Nationals, giving him eight since July 25, a span of seven games and 25 plate appearances. What’s more: all eight of those hits have been home runs.
- July 25: Duda hit two solo home runs in a 15-2 rout of the Dodgers.
- July 28: Duda hit a two-run home run off of James Shields in the first inning in an eventual 4-0 win against the Padres.
- July 29: Duda swatted three solo home runs, providing all of the Mets’ offense in a 7-3 loss to the Padres.
- August 1: Duda provides both of the Mets’ runs against Nationals starter Joe Ross with two solo home runs.
The game is tied 2-2 after seven innings at the time of this writing.
Duda’s triple-slash line is up to .244/.345/.476. On the season, he’s slugged 20 home runs and knocked in 47 runs. He hit a career-high 30 home runs last season and could be on his way to equaling or surpassing that by season’s end.
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.