NLCS and ALCS comments from Tuesday

What an exciting night of baseball we were able to take in on Tuesday. Boston thrilled us with over the top offense, while Los Angeles and Milwaukee kept us on the edge of our seats playing a tied game late in to the night.

Houston must be wondering is there any way to keep Boston’s bats from exploding? Last night the Red Sox put up eight runs on the Astros’ pitchers while being held to only two runs. Nathan Eovaldi went six innings giving up the only two runs of the game and the the Red Sox bullpen did the rest. Dallas Keuchel was somewhat strong through five innings giving up two runs as well, but once the bullpen stepped in it fell apart. Joe Smith took over for Keuchel and gave up the eventual winning run sixth and the icing on the cake was Roberto Osuna giving up a grand slam to Jackie Bradley Jr. in the eighth. Throughout the regular season Houston’s pitching staff has been somewhat reliable and when they were not the high powered offense was able to make up for it, unfortunately that was not the case last night.

In a complete contrast from game three of the ALCS, game 4 of the NLCS was a pitching

20170718_dodgers-whitesox_cody_bellinger_swinging
By TonyTheTiger [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons
duel. This game started off really rocky for the Brewers as they let one run score in the first and then had to take starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez out in the second after he twisted his ankle trying to field a ground ball, but young Freddy Peralta stepped in and pitched extremely well for Milwaukee and shut down the Dodgers for three innings allowing his team to climb back in to this game. In the fifth inning the Brewers tied the game up at one and then we went seven innings of scoreless baseball late in to the Southern California night. Finally in the 13th inning the struggling Cody Bellinger knocked in the Manny Machado to walk it off. It was a game for the ages and one that won’t soon be forgotten.

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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.

Dodgers vs Brewers in the NLCS

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.

NL Rookie of the Year

Corey Seager
By Arturo Pardavila III from Hoboken, NJ, USA [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Congratulations to Corey Seager for winning the 2016 National League Rookie of the Year award. Seager was a standout for the Dodgers in 2016 and was hands down the top rookie for the NL. Many have even mentioned his name as a possible NL MVP. This young man has a bright future in Los Angeles where he will man shortstop for many years to come.

What were the Dodgers thinking?

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By SD Dirk on Flickr (Originally posted to Flickr as “Clayton Kershaw”) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
I meant to write about this the other day, but life got in the way so please excuse my tardiness. In game five of the Dodger and National NLDS Dave Roberts made some rather unconventional moves and many celebrated him for it, but I think one of them was absolutely wrong. That move was using Clayton Kershaw as his closer.
I have no problem using Kenley Jansen earlier than the ninth innings as managers have to manage in a deciding game like there is no tomorrow and Jansen is the team’s best reliever. But what was the team thinking when they brought in Kershaw to close the game?

Let’s not forget Kershaw spent an extended period of time on the disabled list this season, had never closed a game before and is your most expensive player on the roster. Now, many judge the move by the outcome and they won so it was a genius move. I on the other hand completely disagree. Let’s put aside the fact that you could have done serious damage to Kershaw pitching him in hat situation because he is not use to it, but what message are you sending to your other relievers. Basically we have such little faith in all of you that we are going to take a huge risk with Clayton and pitch him over you.

It all turned out for the best to this point, but this is a risk that no manager should take in the future. You have relievers for a reason and they get paid to do a job. If you don’t have faith that they can do their job then why are they on your post-season roster.