The Rundown: Brewers Advance to NLCS, Braves Hold Off Dodgers, In Praise of Melissa Ludtke
Rocktober has come to an abrupt end in Colorado.
The Brewers completed a three-game sweep of the Rockies with a 6-0 win at Coors Field yesterday afternoon. With the win, Milwaukee advances to the NLCS with a spot in the World Series on the line. As has been the team’s SOP through most of September and into the playoffs, their starter — in this case Wade Miley — pitched into the 5th inning and then five relievers held the Rockies scoreless through 4 1/3 innings of work, allowing just one hit and striking out six hitters.
For Milwaukee, the 5th inning is the new 7th. Look for many teams to copy that formula in 2019, except for the Rays, where the 1st inning is the new 9th. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.
Milwaukee pitchers rang up 31 batters in 28 innings this series. In all, the the Brewers held Colorado scoreless in 27 of those innings. The best-of-seven NLCS starts Friday in Milwaukee vs. the winner of the Dodgers-Braves series. Times are still to be determined.
The Brewers haven’t lost since September 22. That’s 11 straight wins and counting under significant pressure.
The @Brewers are riding an 11-game winning streak into the #NLCS.
Talk about getting hot at the perfect time. pic.twitter.com/HUm9UVJioI
— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) October 7, 2018
Meanwhile, the Braves held off the Dodgers to take game three of their NLDS series by a 6-5 score in Atlanta. Ronald Acuña Jr. hit a grand slam off Walker Buehler in the 2nd inning to give the Braves a 5-0 lead, but the Dodgers erased the deficit with home runs by Chris Taylor and Max Muncy in the 5th inning.
This is not a drill.@ronaldacunajr24, GRAND SLAM. ??? pic.twitter.com/kbPCTF2FSZ
— MLB (@MLB) October 8, 2018
Buehler uncharacteristically threw just nine of 27 pitches for strikes in that 2nd inning.
The Braves went ahead 6-5 when Freddie Freeman blasted a first-pitch curve from Alex Wood to lead off the bottom of the 6th inning. Freeman hadn’t homered since September 19, and he’d hit just four since mid-August.
Both bullpens worked in and out of jams for the final three innings before Jose Vizcaino closed it out in the 9th, striking out Brian Dozier with runners on second and third for a huge save, forcing a game four in Atlanta tomorrow afternoon. Mike Foltynewicz is the probable starter for the Braves, and Rich Hill is lined up for the Dodgers.
Cubs News & Notes
A possibility exists that Addison Russell could remain with the team once his suspension has been lifted.
There are some conflicting reports about whether Joe Maddon has asked the Cubs for a contract extension or not. Evan Altman breaks it all down.
Playoff News & Notes
- Erik Kratz is the oldest playoff first-timer in 113 years, and he absolutely raked in the NLDS.
- Since the beginning of the division format, only the 1976 Reds have gone undefeated in the postseason.
- The last time the Brewers played in a league championship series was 2011, when they lost to St. Louis in six games. The last time Milwaukee played in a World Series was as an American League team in 1982, when they also lost to the Cardinals. That series went seven games.
- The Rockies played their entire series without using their best starting pitcher, Kyle Freeland, who could have started yesterday on regular rest. Not that it mattered. You can’t win if you don’t score.
- Acuña became the youngest player in MLB playoff history to hit a grand slam.
At 20 years and 293 days old, Ronald Acuña Jr. is the youngest player in MLB postseason history to hit a grand slam.
Entering today, Mickey Mantle (21 years, 349 days) was the youngest to do so. pic.twitter.com/1gFbclJ1YL
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 8, 2018
- If there is one thing in this world that is worse than the Tomahawk Chop, it is this video of the 1986 Dodgers, who obviously took the 1985 Chicago Bears Super Bowl Shuffle video to a whole new level.
- The Astros will send left-hander Dallas Keuchel to the mound as they attempt to sweep the Indians out of the playoffs. Mike Cleavinger will start for Cleveland at Progressive Field. Game time is 12:30 CT.
- After blasting a 445-foot home run to center field and helping the Yankees even the American League Divisional Series at one game apiece, Yankees slugger Aaron Judge walked out of the visiting stadium with Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” blaring from his portable speaker. The Red Sox and Yankees will meet in Yankee Stadium for game three of their division series tonight.
- If any team in this year’s postseason can match the Brewers’ bullpen, it’s the Yankees.
- For Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez, his two home runs in game two of their division series against Boston was “deja vu all over again.”
Baseball News & Notes
Minnesota Twins third baseman Miguel Sano was detained by police in the Dominican Republic after a traffic incident early Sunday morning during which Sano allegedly ran over a police officer.
Major League Baseball attendance dropped 4 percent this year, continuing a steady decline. It’s the lowest league-wide attendance since 2003 and the largest single-season drop in a decade, resulting in nearly $94 million in lost revenues league-wide. Marginal and older free agents will feel that loss in their pocketbooks this winter. Because of last season, I expect a lot of players to jump at offers as soon as they present themselves.
In Seattle, poor team chemistry may have been the demise of a Mariners team that looked playoff-bound for most of the season.
It’s been just over 40 years since Sports Illustrated, on behalf of writer Melissa Ludtke, sued Major League Baseball to allow female sports writers access into clubhouses like their male peers. Since that monumental court decision, clubhouses – and front offices, leagues, and coaching positions – have opened up for women. Thank you, Melissa.
Melissa Ludtke, a writer for Sports Illustrated, is shown on the job in her office in New York, Jan. 23, 1978. She sued MLB's commissioner to allow women reporters in sports locker rooms. https://t.co/9AxFW9l6CS
— Feminist Fitness (@FitFeminists) October 2, 2018
They Said It
- “The story of the series for us was certainly our pitching. We got a great start from Wade Miley. He did a beautiful job keeping them off balance.” – Craig Counsell
- “We got into the dance. We fought, but we might not have played our best. Part of that is the opposition, how they played. But again, our guys played how you’re supposed to play. That’s what I’m most proud of. They came to play every day. They came to play in this series, and they got outplayed.” – Bud Black
- “We need to find a way to win on Monday. We’re going to show up and play for our baseball lives. Nobody wants to go home, so we’re going to try to keep this thing going.” – Terry Francona
Monday Walk Up Song
Hazy Shade of Winter by the Bangles. Still kind of in a haze that the Cubs are already on winter break.