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.
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.
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.
According to @OddsShark the Dodgers and Brewers are +350 to win the World Series, just behind the Astros at +260, but let’s be honest is anyone picking the Brewers to beat LA?
Let me be clear I am not a Dodgers fan, but clearly they are the horse to bet on in the NLCS. Los Angeles finished 2018 with an National League leading 3.38 team ERA lead by not Clayton Kershaw (2.73 ERA), but by Hyun-Jin Ryu (1.97 ERA over 82.1 IP). Oh and that guy Kershaw, may be the best pitcher we have ever seen, wasn’t even the team leader in wins. That honor falls to Rich Hill. Why then am I bringing up Kershaw in all this, because that just shows the depth of the Dodgers starting rotation. They will have to face the likes of Jhoulys Chacin, Wade Miley, Chase Anderson and a few other castoffs from other teams. Hands down the Dodgers have the better starting staff.
While the Brewers have the clear favorite for the NL MVP in Christian Yelich and a solid center fielder, though over-hyped coming out of Kansas City, in Lorenzo Cain I dare you to name the other seven starters. Go ahead, I can wait while you try. Times up. Milwaukee was second in the NL in home runs, behind the Dodgers. They finished seventh in average, LA was eighth, and sixth in OBP while their counterpart was third. Los Angeles is lead on offense by guys like Manny Machado, Justin Turner, Yasiel Puig and Kemp, household names for fans of the MLB. Clearly the advantage in hitting swing to the Dodgers.
With all that being said the one category that the Brewers may dominate in over the Dodgers is heart. No statistic can measure heart, but you can see it on the field and for sure the Brewers have it. Unfortunately pitching, hitting and skill usually beat out heart in professional sports and the NLCS will be no different.
Many will look at the match-ups Robert Gsellman has this week, Atlanta and Philadelphia, and think they should add him. That is a trap. Thought Gsellman does look like he has easy match-ups he has struggled against both those teams already this season. In his previous starts again the Braves and Phillies he went 11.0 innings and gave up 8 earned runs. Do not fall for the match-ups, avoid him this week.
Matt Boyd was supposed to be a two-start pitcher last week and that didn’t happen, not a surprise for this time of year. Now Boyd is scheduled for two starts this week, facing the Twins and Royals. Because I am doubtful that he will actually make two starts I would advise you stay away. A one start Matt Boyd is not worth it if you have a better option available. Especially since Boyd faced Minnesota his last time out and lasted 3.7 innings and gave up 7 earned runs. Even if he had two starts this week he is likely in for rough outings as he hasn’t fared well against Kansas City either this season.
Last week I wrote a post about three players that fantasy baseball analyst missed the mark on by over valuing them coming in to the 2016 season. Today we look at players that everyone wishes they would have seen coming this season because they way over performed their draft day value.
During the offseason the Washington Nationals shopped the market and added what at the time didn’t seem like a big piece to their team in Daniel Murphy. Murphy was coming off a hot stretch in the playoffs for the Mets where he found his power stroke to the tune of seven home runs in 14 games and hitting .328. As a whole, however, 2015 wasn’t all that different from any other year for Murphy finishing with 14 home runs, 2 stolen bases and a .322/.449/.770 triple slash line. Who would have thought that at 31 in 2016 he would have the break out season he has had? He came in to 2016 as the consensus 181st ranked player, but is currently ranked 5th. His power outburst that started in the playoffs has been followed up this season with 25 home runs and a career high .594 slugging. By the end of the year he should also set career highs in doubles, runs, RBIs, home runs and walks. Question will be for 2017 can he replicate this year’s performance.
Talent runs rampant in the Houston Astros system and because of that they had no place to play Jonathan Villar. That was good for the Milwaukee Brewers who traded for Villar in November. Coming in to 2016 he was ranked as the 414th player, more than likely not drafted in all but NL only leagues. Especially because he was seen as merely a place holder for the Brewer’s shortstop of the future Orlando Arcia. As the 6th ranked player so far in 2016 Villar has done nothing but impress with a full time role. He has played so well the Brewers delayed bringing up Arcia until much later in the year then we all expected. He is second in the majors, to Billy Hamilton, in stolen bases with 52 which has driven much of his value, but has also hit 13 home runs and is getting on-base in 38% of his plate appearances. Even with the promotion of Arcia, Villar is still seeing regular playing time at third base and is a staple at the top of Milwaukee’s order.
In 2013 Jean Segura appeared to be on his way to a great career with a breakout season. He hit .294 with 44 stolen bases that year and fantasy owners thought they had their new great steals source. Then came 2014 and 2015 where his batting average dropped by 40 points and his stolen base numbers were cut in half. Those same fantasy owners were surely thinking what could have been. Coming in to 2016 Segura was fighting to make the opening day roster of his new club the Arizona Diamondbacks and on draft day no one was giving him much of a chance to do anything special as he was ranked 224th in preseason rankings. After an April where he hit .333 with four stolen bases and 4 home runs many owners began to take a second look at him on their waiver wire, but could he be trusted? The answer so far has been yes. He is hitting .317 on the season with 12 home runs, 30 stolen bases and 83 runs batting at the top of Arizona’s lineup. He is in the top 15 on the player rater for the season and looks to be the Segura of 2013. Many lucky fantasy owners who took a chance on this waiver wire pickup are jumping for joy with what he has done for their team.