Brewers force game seven against Dodgers in NLCS
There will be a game seven in the National League Championship Series (NLCS) after the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday.
Milwaukee took down the Dodgers 7-2 after a four-run first inning and five total runs in the first two off Los Angeles starter Ryu Hyun-jin.
Jesus Aguilar went three for four with two doubles and three RBIs in the win.
The Dodgers really had only one guy in their lineup who was hitting in game six, and he was making hard contact from the beginning.
That man was David Freese.
The 35-year-old infielder took Wade Miley deep as the first batter in the game and also drove in Los Angeles' only other run while he was still in.
But, as good as Freese was, he was removed for Joc Pederson in the fifth inning. Pederson came in on a double switch and took Freese's spot in the lineup.
When Freese left he had two of Los Angeles' five hits. He was hitting great. So why take him out? The predicted matchups were not incredibly favourable, as he has no hits in his career off Josh Hader and just one off Jeremy Jeffress. But, the number of men on the Dodgers' team who have hit those two pitchers is limited.
It is not like Freese's numbers were so different than anyone else's. Leave the hot bat in. Maybe Los Angeles would have scored more runs if they had.
The tables have turned
Milwaukee hitters Mike Moustakas and Erik Kratz took first-pitch curveballs to right field like they knew they were coming. According to Fangraphs, Ryu allowed a .216 batting average against his curveball this season.
In those particular moments, it did not look that hard to hit.
So many in-series adjustments
There have been obvious moves in this series meant to mess with opponents, like Miley coming out after one batter in game five. But, it is the little adjustments game to game that have made this thing so much fun to watch.
In game four, Craig Counsell made a mistake in the 13th inning. It was hard to watch, but it happened. With the game tied at one and Manny Machado on second base with two outs and Cody Bellinger next up, Counsell could have done something weird – he could have walked the bases loaded.
We know it sounds bizarre, but the Dodgers were out of position players in the game and due up two batters later was Julio Urias, the 22-year-old pitcher who is not known for his hitting prowess. Counsell did not and Bellinger would drive in Machado for the game-winning run.
Skip forward to game six where this exact situation came up twice. In the fifth inning, the Brewers had two runners on with two outs and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts walked Orlando Arcia to load the bases for the pitcher. He would either force Counsell to take his pitcher (Corey Knebel) out, or leave him in for a big moment. Knebel stayed in and struck out, ruining the opportunity.
Then in the seventh inning, the Dodgers did it again by walking Moustakas with a runner on second to force Counsell to either send Jeffress to the plate or a pinch hitter.
He would pinch hit this time, but again, the Dodgers won the battle as Curtis Granderson would strike out. Milwaukee would ultimately score a run on a wild pitch that inning, but had it not been for that they would have gotten through without giving up a run or hit.
There have been so many little adjustments in this series, with managers learning from their own mistakes and the mistakes of their opponents.