Hernan Perez
AP Images

Brewers shut out Rockies for 2-0 lead in the NLDS

5 Comments

After teetering on a one-run lead through the first seven innings of Friday’s game, the Brewers came back in full force to win 4-0 over the Rockies and extend their advantage to 2-0 in the National League Division Series.

Milwaukee right-hander Jhoulys Chacín carried the team through five innings of three-hit, three-walk, three-strikeout ball. The Rockies managed to get a runner in scoring position during the first inning, but Trevor Story nixed that possibility after he closed out his seven-pitch at-bat with an inning-ending strikeout. Colorado was no more successful in the third inning — with DJ LeMahieu hovering on second base, Nolan Arenado whiffed on three straight pitches against Chacín and Carlos Gonzalez chopped a grounder to first for the third out.

The Brewers weren’t the only ones who brought their A game on the mound, however. While the Rockies were stymied on the basepaths, lefty Tyler Anderson similarly stumped the Brewers after allowing four hits, two walks, and five strikeouts over six frames. The game remained scoreless until the fourth, when Mike Moustakas and Hernán Pérez lashed back-to-back doubles. Pérez lofted an 80.3-MPH changeup out to left field, where it bounced off the warning track and over the wall for a ground-rule double, thereby knocking in the first run of the afternoon.

While Erik Kratz faced off against Anderson, Pérez scooted around to third on a stolen base, then was subsequently caught in a rundown on another attempt to steal home. The Brewers challenged the call after Pérez dove back to third, but the original ruling was upheld and Kratz skied a 94-MPH heater to right field to end the inning.

With Chacín and Anderson off the mound, the game shifted into a battle of the bullpens. Corey Knebel, Joakim Soria, Josh Hader, and Jeremy Jeffress blanked the Rockies through another four innings, while Colorado turned to Scott Oberg, Harrison Musgrave, and Seunghwan Oh to keep Milwaukee’s offense at bay. In the seventh, Pérez returned with another ground-rule double to left field, just shy of topping the fence for a leadoff home run. Travis Shaw laced a single out to right field to shift Pérez over to third base, but the Brewers’ attempt to pad their one-run lead fizzled out after Oberg struck out the side.

That sense of masterful pitching broke down a little at the tail end of the eighth inning, when Musgrave walked Christian Yelich on five pitches (per MLB.com’s Andrew Simon, the NL MVP contender has reached base safely several times in 13 straight games). Bud Black swapped Oh for Musgrave, with far more disastrous results: a Ryan Braun base hit, followed by Jesus Aguilar‘s walk and Moustakas’ bases-loaded RBI single to boost the Brewers’ lead to 2-0. Oh remained on the mound for another at-bat — a four-pitch strikeout against Pérez– but was then lifted for Chris Rusin, who struck out Travis Shaw before giving up a third and fourth run on Kratz’s two-RBI single. Before the inning unraveled any further, however, Jeffress took the first pitch he saw and smacked it back toward first base to close out the eighth.

What Jeffress failed to deliver at the plate, he made up for on the mound. Gerardo Parra led off with a single at the top of the ninth, but any hope that the Rockies might have staged a five-run comeback to even the playoff standings was quickly quashed. Jeffress retired Ian Desmond and Ryan McMahon on consecutive strikeouts, then induced a groundout from Dahl to cement the Brewers’ second win of the series.

With a 2-0 lead in the NLDS, the Brewers are poised to clinch when they go head-to-head against the Rockies in Game 3 on Sunday. Game time is set for 4:37 PM EDT as southpaw Wade Miley takes the hill versus right-hander German Márquez.

Mad Dog Licks Boots

Getty Images
4 Comments

Earlier this week Tyler Kepner of the New York Times reported that the MLBPA and the league are heading back to the table more than two years before the expiration of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, which expires following the 2021 season.

This had been hinted at for some time, as the union has shown clear displeasure at the current state of business, particularly with the free agent market. The league, one might assume, is happy with the current state of affairs, but it also has an interest in heading off potential strife or even the hint of a labor stoppage in the future. Moreover, there are priorities which have emerged on MLB’s part since the last CBA was signed that they’d love to advance — pace of play, etc. — so they have some incentive to talk as well. So, while it’s totally newsworthy that the sides are talking, it’s also quite understandable and not particularly controversial.

It’s also quite understandable that, given that this is a negotiation between parties in an adversarial position, there will be public comments from the principles which involve advocacy or even posturing on occasion. That’s part of the deal of any negotiation that holds public interest. So, when Tony Clark, for example, says something like “the system doesn’t work,” and “either we’re going to have a conversation now, or we’re going to have a louder conversation later,” which is what he told Kepner, it’s not really a controversial thing. Indeed, it’s expected.

Chris “Mad Dog” Russo thinks it’s pretty controversial, however. The MLB Network host and talk radio legend took to the airwaves yesterday blasting Clark for not being more deferential to Rob Manfred who “was nice enough to extend him an olive branch.”  Russo likewise asked, rhetorically, what “Rob” must’ve thought when reading Clark’s quotes “over his cup of coffee, and bran muffin, on Madison Avenue, after his workout and all those things . . . his morning coffee, milk and two sugars by the way — Sweet and Low.”

He’s the Mad Dog, but he certainly licks boots here:

 

It’s amusing enough that Russo believes that Clark, Manfred’s counterpart and adversary, is supposed to be deferential and thankful for the mighty Manfred. It’s even more amusing, however, that he takes the tack of arguing that MLB has no real interest in negotiating now and is somehow merely throwing the union a bone or offering an olive branch. In saying this Russo, whether he realizes it or not, is accusing Manfred of bad faith, optics-only talks with the union. I don’t feel like Manfred thinks he’s doing that. And I don’t think Clark would be talking to him if he felt he was being patronized to either. Indeed, the dance of the last several months around all of this was, in part, to ensure that that was not the case.

I don’t know what Manfred thought about Clark’s comments on Tuesday, but I do wonder how he feels about being accused by an MLB Network employee of playing games like this. It might be enough for him to spit out his bran muffin and coffee. Cream and two sugars and all.