Do the Dodgers have enough pitching?

It’s clear the Milwaukee Brewers are lacking quality starting pitching, aside from a great start from Wade Miley in game 2, but are the Dodgers in the same boat?

Coming in to the NLCS the talk has been about how the Brewers do not have the starting pitching to stand with the Dodgers and would be forced to lean on a stout bullpen, but through two games it has been the Brewers’ starters that have got the job done.

Clayton Kershaw continued his playoff woes in game one lasting only three innings and in game two Hyun-Jin Ryu

Hyun-Jin Ryu
By Keith Allison from Owings Mills, USA (Hyun-Jin Ryu) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
only went one and a third innings further. Yes, in game one the Brewers pulled their starter Gio Gonzalez quickly, but a great 5+ inning performance by Wade Miley surprised just about everyone. If Kershaw and Ryu were not able to handle the prolific offense of the Brewers who can?

Walker Buehler will take the mound in game three to try and turn the tide for Los Angeles starting pitchers, but will the young gun be ready for the big stage? If the Dodgers can not figure out how to get their starters through five or six innings it may shift the outcome of this series in the Brewers’ favor and through baseball for a loop.

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Game 1 of the ALCS is in the books

Leading up to game one of the ALCS all the talk was about the Boston Red Sox and not about the defending champions the Houston Astros. After game one the wind has shifted.

Houston came out and stunned Boston beating them 7-2 behind a great showing from Justin Verlander and a not so great start from Chris Sale.

Chris Sale
By Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA (Chris Sale) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Verlander held Red Sox hitters to just two hits over six innings and allowed two runs. While Sale only lasted four innings giving up two earned runs. Yes the stat line doesn’t look very different for the two starting pitchers, but the reality was Sale just was not at the top of his game.

Astros’ high powered offense was on full display with home runs by Josh Reddick and

Yuli Gurriel. Gurriel’s three run home run put this game out of reach in the ninth inning and deflated the Red Sox who couldn’t fight their way back from a five run deficit. Missing in action from this game was Boston’s offense being held to only three hits and no long balls.

Game two will have Gerrit Cole facing off against David Price on Sunday in Boston and it will be a chance for the Red Sox to heat up their cold bats. While Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman will try and get their first hits of the ALCS and join the hot offense that surrounds them.

Sunday’s game could be a turning point in this series and if Houston could win it could be all but over for Boston.

What did we learn in game 1 of the NLCS?

Last night the Brewers put the smack down on the Dodgers, well they did for seven innings. So, what did we learn?

First, we learned that Craig Counsell has no faith in Gio Gonzalez. Gonzalez went two innings giving up just one hit and one run. It was a good outing, but he was on a shorter leash then my dog in a pack of female dogs in heat. You have to wonder what that does to Gio’s confidence the next time he starts a game and what the rest of the starting pitchers are thinking as they take the mound. I know it is trendy to buck the system and do things no one else is doing, but is the playoffs really the time to be experimenting?

Second, we learned that Clayton Kershaw still has his troubles in the playoffs. Kershaw is now 8-8 in the playoffs with a 4.26 ERA in 133.0 innings. That’s 2 points higher than his career ERA of 2.39. Many will say its an anomaly and to pay no attention, by many I mean Dodgers fans, but there is something real there. It can not be denied that Clayton is just not himself come playoff time. It could be because the quality of teams he is facing is that much better or it could be something more than that, but Kershaw is not as good in the postseason.

Finally, we learned that the Brewers can win without the 2018 NL MVP Christian Yelich contributing. Yelich was one of only two starting position players not to get a hit. Even with Yelich having an off night, he usually owns Kershaw, his teammates were able to get the win. If Yelich can get back to regular season form he will add even more offense to their lineup giving the Brewers a real chance to do some damage to the Dodgers.

Last minute end of season predictions

Mookie Betts
By Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA (Mookie Betts) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Tomorrow we all will get to enjoy the beginning of the NLCS and Saturday the ALCS, so it is time to make some last minute predictions.

Let’s start with the National League awards. Clearly the National League MVP will be Christian Yelich. He has risen above all other candidates and lead his team to the playoffs and in to the NLCS. Yelich lead the NL in batting average, tied for third in home runs and third in OBP. What a season and what a major breakout.

Staying in the National League we turn to the Cy Young award. My heart wants Jacob DeGrom to win this one, but with only 10 wins it just may be too much to ask. So, I have no choice but to turn to, nope not Max Scherzer like you thought I would say, but to Aaron Nola. Nola finished the season with 17 wins, a WHIP of 0.97 and second in ERA at 2.37. Talk about a breakout, Nola improved his ERA by over 1.0 point and that was with an increase of nearly 60 more innings over last season. He is well deserving of the Cy Young and should be walking away with that hardware.

Switching leagues now to the American League we look at the AL MVP. This year the AL MVP won’t be going to my favorite player Mike Trout, instead it will head to the East Coast and go to Mookie Betts. Betts finished the regular season tied for ninth in home runs and first in runs and batting average with 129 and an average of .346. Though not quite as impressive as Nola’s breakout Betts does stay with our theme of breakout players winning hardware.

Finally the AL Cy Young will be awarded to a player who barely made the All-Star team this season, what a joke, Blake Snell. Snell may have been the best breakout of all of our breakouts this year. First in ERA and wins and second in WHIP the decision to give Snell the AL’s top pitching honor is a no brainer, but then again I thought him making the All-Star game was as well.

Ok, since you twisted my arm I will give one more prediction. Our 2018 World Series Champions will be the Houston Astros. They are not getting the respect they deserve, but will show everyone who the champs are.