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Ryan Pressly defended Roberto Osuna from a heckler

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TMZ reports that Roberto Osuna was heckled in the bullpen during Game 3 of the ALDS on Monday. The heckler reportedly yelling things such as, “Do you remember baseball before you committed domestic violence?”

Osuna did not respond at all to the heckler, but teammate Ryan Pressly jumped to his defense. He was seen on video responding to the heckler, saying, “Stop, stop, stop … I don’t care what you say. You can talk all the sh– you want. Just don’t bring that stuff up.”

The heckler responded, suggesting Osuna should be able to handle the criticism because he’s a professional. Pressly responded, “He’s trying to be a professional … but you’re coming over here being a d–khead, dude.” Before walking away, Pressly said to the heckler, “You’re f–king soft.”

The whole situation could have been avoided by simply ignoring the heckler. Pressly jumped into a controversial arena, one other members of the Astros probably wish they hadn’t stumbled into. Pressly’s use of “that stuff” to refer to Osuna’s domestic violence allegation is revealing. We create euphemisms to soften the blow of harsh language. The late George Carlin has a great bit on this. By euphemizing domestic violence, Pressly reveals he understands the seriousness of Osuna’s alleged offense. To then continue to defend his teammate — and, remember, Pressly has no greater access to information than anybody else, despite his proximity to Osuna — is a calculated decision and it shows that Pressly value his teammate’s comfort over social consequences for his alleged offense.

Baseball’s culture of coddling (alleged) abusers can easily be changed, but it starts with individual actors. On the spectrum with disavowal at one end and approval at the other, ignoring the heckler is right in the middle. Offering a full-throated, one-minute defense is way at the approval end. Not euphemizing domestic abuse moves the needle a little bit towards the disavowal end, and even that would have felt like a small victory. That’s how low the bar is for those involved in professional sports to stand up against domestic abuse, and yet Pressly very much failed to clear it, as have many other members of the Astros organization in recent months.

(Tip of the cap to Jack Baer of Yahoo Sports. No relation.)

Brewers on the brink of their first pennant in 36 years

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A series that had swung back and forth twice already swung back in Milwaukee’s favor last night with a convincing win. That it was convincing — it was not at all close after the second inning — is a key factor heading into today, as Craig Counsell has his bullpen set up nicely to shorten the game if his Brewers can get an early lead.

Josh Hader — who, if you are unaware, has not allowed a run and has struck out 12 batters in seven innings of postseason work — did not pitch yesterday or in Game 5. As such, he’s had three full days off. Given that this is a win or go home day and, if they win, he’s guaranteed two more days off before the World Series, he’s good for two innings and could very well go for three. That’s not what you want if you’re the Dodgers.

But it gets worse. Jeremy Jeffress pitched last night but it was only one pretty easy inning, so he could go two if he has to. Corey Knebel pitched an inning and two-thirds but he could probably give Counsell an inning of work if need be. Joakim Soria didn’t pitch at all yesterday. Between those guys and the less important relievers, all of whom save Brandon Woodruff are all pretty fresh, the Dodgers aren’t going to have any easy marks.

But the thing is: Counsell may not need to go that deep given that Jhoulys Chacin, their best starter of the postseason, gets the start. So, yes, in light of that, you have to like the Brewers’ chances tonight, and that’s before you realize that the home crowd is going to be louder than hell.

Not that the Dodgers are going to roll over — it’ll be all hands on deck for them with every pitcher except for Hyun-Jim Ryu available, you figure — but if they’re going to repeat as NL champs, they’re going to have to earn it either by bloodying Chacin’s nose early and neutralizing the threat of facing Hader and company with a lead, or by marching through the teeth of the Brewers bullpen and coming out alive on the other side.
NLCS Game 6

Dodgers vs. Brewers
Ballpark: Miller Park
Time: 8:09 PM Eastern
TV: FS1
Pitchers:  Walker Buehler vs. Jhoulys Chacin
Breakdown:

The most important part of this breakdown — the stuff about the Brewers’ pen — has already been said and, I presume anyway, the starters here will have the shortest of leashes. Chacin’s will be longer, as he has not allowed a run over 10 and a third innings in his first two postseason starts, making him the Brewers’ defacto ace. Every inning he goes tonight makes things much, much harder for the Dodgers once he’s gone as it means Milwaukee will be able to rely more and more on Hader and Jeffress, so the Dodgers had best get to him early.

Buehler has come up weak so far this postseason, having allowed nine runs in 12 innings, including surrendering four runs on six hits over seven innings in Milwaukee’s Game 3 victory. Still, it’s not hard to remember how dominating he was in the second half of the season. If that Buehler shows up and can keep things close, we’ll have a ballgame. If L.A. finds itself in an early hole once again, theirs will be the tallest of orders.