I felt really good about our under going into last night’s game. I still felt ok about it after David Freese hit a leadoff home run and I still felt optimistic we could push after the Brewers’ four-run first inning. It feels like I could watch the replay this morning and still believe in cashing; it was one of those losses.
But if I did that, all I would see would be Yasmani Grandal, once again, failing to block a wild pitch in the dirt and then Brian Dozier doing us in by failing to turn a double-play ball that led to Milwaukee’s seventh run.
The Brewers won, 7–2, to force a Game 7 between Jhoulys Chacin and Walker Buehler tonight in Milwaukee. The Dodgers have opened as slight favorites with a total teetering between 7.5 and 8.0.
I’m shocked at how hard the Brewers hit Hyun-Jin Ryu last night. He wasn’t making awful pitches but the Brewers were aggressive and put some great swings on the ball for a number of extra-base hits. Lorenzo Cain had two hits; Ryan Braun had two hits and Jesus Aguilar had three, with three RBIs.
None of those three will have the advantage of facing a left-handed starting pitcher tonight. Instead, 24-year-old Walker Buehler will start Game 7 of the National League Championship Series in his first Major League season.
The kid has spunk. He’s good and he damn well knows it. He sits upper-90s with a hard hook and some off-speed stuff to mix in too. He struck out ten per nine in the regular season and has fifteen Ks in his first two playoff starts thus far (12 innings pitched).
He’s looked dominant in each start so far, one in the NLDS and then Game 3 of this very series, with a rough patch mixed in. He lost his command for just a few batters against the Braves in the LDS and capped it by giving up a grand slam to Ronald Acuna Jr. He only walked one in seven innings against Milwaukee in Game 3 but gave up an opposite-field, two-run home run to Orlando Arcia in the seventh inning. For what it’s worth, the Dodgers have lost both games he has started in the postseason.
But I can’t help but feel confident he’s going to be awesome tonight. He’s looked the part but he’s yet to avoid that one big inning, that one big hit by the opposition. It’s quite possible it’s the same story tonight but I’m siding with the kid, even in Game 7, even on the road. The stuff is just too good to resist. It will be interesting to see how long Dave Roberts sticks with him, if he’s effective.
But the Brewers not only won last night, they won without using Josh Hader, who will go at least two innings tonight, you’d have to think. Corey Knebel needed twenty-five pitches to get five outs last night so he’ll be available, though perhaps not for long; Corbin Burnes was efficient in two innings and could be used too; Jeremy Jeffress is definitely available after throwing thirteen pitches in his clean inning of work. Heck, it’s Game 7, everybody is available. The same goes for the Dodgers, who could use Clayton Kershaw in a pinch on two days of rest.
Six games into this series, I feel better backing the pitching staffs than I do the offenses. If you want to play the sides, I actually lean Milwaukee as a +110 ‘dog. The Brewers are a little better setup in the ‘pen and the defense could be a factor tonight; plus, there’s always a chance the kid melts down on the road.
I’m playing the under, though. An 8.0 is fantastic, if you can get it, but under 7.5 for even money looks ok too. Enjoy the game.
Play: Under 8.0 (-120)
jhoulys chacin • los angeles dodgers • milwaukee brewers • NLCS • Walker Buehler • World Series