The Rundown: Brewers Take NLCS Series Lead, Cubs Front Office and Coaching Moves, Bregman Trolls Red Sox
You have to imagine Brewers fans were more than a little uneasy when Jeremy Jeffress came into the game last night. Especially after Josh Hader had thrown eight deliciously dominant pitches to strike out two Dodgers batters in the 8th. Like you, I have no idea why Hader isn’t the team’s closer. Actually, I wonder why he isn’t a starter, but that’s a topic for another day.
Trailing 4-0, Los Angeles loaded the bases against Jeffress in a very tense 9th inning, but the struggling closer wiggled his way out of the jam he created to send the Brewers into Game 4 with a 4-0 victory and a 2-1 series lead. He struck out Yasmani Grandal and pinch-hitter Brian Dozier to complete Milwaukee’s third shutout in six playoff games this year.
“The 9th inning was entertaining, but they didn’t score.” -Counsell on today’s W. #OurCrewOurOctober pic.twitter.com/WotIs5VPQk
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) October 16, 2018
World Series or bust, Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell will live and die by his bullpen. It seemed starter Jhoulys Chacin was victim of another quick hook yesterday by the Brewers skipper. The big righty was lifted with one out in the 6th after having just thrown 84 pitches.
Chacin scattered just three hits over 5 1/3 innings before giving way to Corey Knebel, who worked 1 2/3 perfect innings and struck out the last four batters he faced. Orlando Arcia provided all the offense Milwaukee needed with a home run and two RBI. It was Arcia’s third home run of the postseason.
Maybe Counsell intends to pitch Chacin again on short rest. After all, he’s scheduled Gio Gonalez to take the bump today on just three days’ rest. Gonzalez pitched two innings in Game 1, and Game 5 has all the earmarks of another “bullpen game” for the Brewers.
In that respect, perhaps the efficiency with which Hader managed the 8th inning bodes well for today’s game. The hard-throwing reliever should be available today and for Game 5. Continue to expect Counsell to ride his bullpen hard.
Rich Hill will start for the Dodgers in tonight’s game. First pitch at Dodgers Stadium is set for 8:09 PM CT.
Playoff News & Notes
- The Brewers’ decision to bring Hader into a 4-0 game was extremely questionable. The Brewers had a 97.8-percent chance of winning at that point.
- The Dodgers had hit .333 and scored eight of their nine runs against Brewers relievers during the first two games in Milwaukee.
- Counsell said keeping Hader available for the next two games in L.A. factored into the decision to take him out after the 8th inning tonight. Counsell added that he thinks his team has set itself up well for Games 4 and 5.
- Arcia’s offensive outburst is something no one saw coming.
- Does LA shortstop Manny Machado run too hard, not hard enough, or a little of both?
- Dodgers fans called for backup catcher Austin Barnes after Grandal allowed his third passed ball of the series, all of them in big situations. Enrique Hernandez took exception.
- Astros star Alex Bregman has been trolling Red Sox starter Nate Eovaldi on Instagram.
- Blake Swihart is Bregman’s best friend. During the ALDS, Bregman noted in a television interview that the Astros deserved to be in prime time, a slot occupied by the Red Sox and Yankees. When Boston advanced to the ALCS, Swihart posted a team picture on Instagram with the hashtag #primetime.
Cubs News & Notes
Less than one week after firing their hitting coach, the Chicago Cubs have filled the position by hiring Anthony Iapoce, a man with history in the organization.
Outgoing instructor Chili Davis sent well-wishes to Iapoce after the hiring.
If Joe Maddon had put his stamp on the coaching staff last year, Theo Epstein has now taken away the ink pad.
Cubs Cubs senior vice president of scouting and player development Jason McLeod has been reportedly linked to the Giants’ GM opening.
Bench Coach Brandon Hyde is in play for managerial openings with the Rangers, Twins, and Angels.
Assistant GM Shiraz Rehman is leaving the Cubs to join the Rangers front office in a similar role.
Should Brandon Morrow continue as the team’s closer in 2019, or would he be better suited in a setup role?
The Cubs will have money to spend in free agency. They’ll be conscious of going over the luxury tax threshold, but that won’t be a deal breaker if Epstein and Hoyer feel they can land one of Machado or Harper.
Catcher Miguel Amaya and first baseman Jared Young highlight the next wave of young, impact Cubs prospects.
MLB News & Notes
Yankees 3B Miguel Andujar was named The Sporting News Rookie of the Year.
The Braves extended the contract of manager Brian Snitker for two seasons with a club option for 2021, the parties announced Monday.
The Diamondbacks intend to listen to offers for Paul Goldschmidt and the Yankees may be a good fit for the slugging first baseman. Goldschmidt would be a clear upgrade for New York, which has Luke Voit, Greg Bird, and Neil Walker rotating at first.
Minor League Baseball is celebrating diversity with something called The Fun Cup.
Machado and Ryan Braun are already busy making offseason plans.
While at second base, Ryan Braun was trying to talk Manny Machado into visiting him out in Malibu this offseason. pic.twitter.com/pk9SYoJNQG
— Roger Cormier (@yayroger) October 15, 2018
They Said It
- “If they think they can do it, go ahead, put on your gear and go catch 99 with breaking balls that have a lot of movement. [Grandal] has been one of the best catchers in the game for a while now. He’s having a little bit of a rough patch, which we all — as humans, as baseball players — go through.” – Enrique Hernandez
- “Our guys that we’re giving the ball to at the start of the game, they’re doing a heck of a job, man. They’re setting the tone, really. But we’re playing to win the series, not just games. Obviously with Josh doing not as much tonight, there’s lots of possibilities there going forward.”– Craig Counsell
New Music Tuesday
Now that it looks like Jivewired is going to fade into obscurity, my new passion is rebuilding my vinyl LP collection, which I lost in 2005. In the old days, record labels released new albums every Tuesday. So each week I am going to pick up three albums and post them here. Eventually I will have an accompanying blog post somewhere. This week’s selections:
- 17-11-70 by Elton John – my favorite live album for about four years running back in the mid-80’s. Got an original issue release, mint condition.
- Marquee Moon by Television – it’s a reissue on Rhino Records so there is a little more compression to the recording than I’d like. Still, I love having arguably the best rock record ever made. The guitar is amazing on every track.
- Short Sharp Shocked by Michelle Shocked – Original issue release on Mercury Records. Had no idea this long player was even available on vinyl. Score!
Tuesday Walk Up Song
Border Song by by a very young Elton John in 1970.