Here we are! Game 7 of the NLCS, the game that decides who gets to play in Boston on Tuesday night and who gets to watch from home. The host Brewers forced tonight’s game with an excellent all around game yesterday, jumping on Hyun-Jin Ryu early and tacking on a couple insurance runs late. Good pitching and solid defense helped them to the 7-2 win, the largest margin of victory in this NLCS.
Tonight’s excitement gets underway at 8:09 ET, and likely will be approaching midnight by the time it’s over, since Playoff baseball games take that long. Tonight’s pitching matchup is a rematch between the game 3 starters, when the Brewers won 4-0.
The broadcast last night kept calling Jhoulys Chacin the Brewers’ Ace, and while that’s true, it’s moreso true through attrition than through dominance. On the season, Chacin went 15-8 with a 3.50 ERA, good numbers for sure, but not really what you’d get excited about when you have your “Ace” ready to shut down the opponent in a game 7.
However, he has stepped it up a notch recently. Over the last 2 games of the season, including game 163 in Chicago, he threw 10.2 innings, allowing just 2 runs on 2 hits, walking 4 and striking out 6. And now that he’s into postseason, his 2 starts have yielded 10.1 shutout innings with just 6 hits, 5 walks and 9 strikeouts. If he pitches like he has over those last 4 starts, the hype would be justified.
The Dodgers counter with a pitcher who actually put up numbers that resembled a dominant pitcher through the season, as Walker Buehler makes the start for the Dodgers. His rookie season, which started a bit late and got him just 23 starts, yielded an 8-5 record with a 2.62 ERA over 137.1 innings. His work in the Postseason hasn’t looked anywhere near that good, as he has allowed 9 runs on 8 hits over 12 innings. The strikeouts are still there though, at 15.
In his NLDS start against the Braves, all 5 of his runs came with 2 outs in the 2nd inning. He loaded the bases with an intentional walk, but then allowed a bases loaded walk to pitcher Sean Newcomb before giving up a big grand slam to Ronald Acuña Jr. In game 3 of the NLCS, Buehler went 7 strong innings, allowing 2 runs through the first 6, but giving up an unlikely 2 run home run to Orlando Arcia. I’m sure the Dodgers would be happy if they get the same quality of pitches out of Buehler today, and just hope to find more success.
A lot has been made about how the Brewers have a fully rested Josh Hader ready to come in and dominate this game for a few innings, which indeed will likely have a huge impact on this game. What’s not being mentioned, however, is that the Dodgers have an equally well rested pair of weapons of their own in the bullpen in Kenley Jansen and Pedro Baez. Baez and Jansen have combined to throw 12 shutout innings in the postseason, striking out 17 while allowing just 8 baserunners. Both can go more than 1 inning if necessary too.
Also down in the bullpen for the Dodgers will be Ace Clayton Kershaw, ready to come in and dominate if needed.
Whoever wins this one will have their hands full taking on the Red Sox.
Find the Link
Find the link between Chacin, Buehler and beating the Giants.