In spite of a late rally by the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Milwaukee Brewers held on for a 6-5 win in Game 1 of their NLCS matchup, which continues today ay 4:09 PM EDT with Brewers’ lefty Wade Miley on the mound against Hyun-Jin Ryu in Game 2.
Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts talked after last night’s loss about the team fighting late to make it close with four runs over the final two innings, praising the work his relievers and his hitters did after they fell behind early in the opener of the best-of-seven series.
“I thought the guys in the pen came in, and I thought we threw the ball well,” Roberts said.
“I thought our at-bat quality throughout the night was good. I know we punched [out] a lot tonight, but they’re running some good arms out there. But for us to get a look at these guys out of the pen in a seven-game series, I think that’s a good thing. And for our guys to -- for us to have the tying run at third base, we did some good things tonight. So yeah, the goal is to win a baseball game, but I think that it shows the compete in our guys.”
“They battled back and made it tough on us, as we expected,” Brewers’ skipper Craig Counsell told reporters after the win.
“So they had a really good 8th inning with some big hits. So we couldn’t get through it and we had to use our guys.”
By “use our guys”, of course, Counsell meant throwing seven different pitchers out there in the series opener.
How that will play out over an entire series should be interesting... Will the Brewers have the pitching they need to get through Game 2?
That’s not the only game of the night, however. Up in Boston’s Fenway Park, the Red Sox host the Houston Astros in the series opener of their ALCS matchup, with Chris Sale and Justin Verlander going head-to-head.
Red Sox’ manager Alex Cora talked before the series opener about serving as the Astros’ bench coach and what if anything he took from his time in Houston that might be useful.
“It’s a different team,” Cora said. “They made some additions in the offseason. And they’re playing differently. And like I said yesterday, there’s too much to talk about A.J. [Hinch] and me and having an advantage at the end. I don’t catch a ground ball. I don’t hit. A.J. doesn’t catch anymore. It’s about the players and they’re the ones that are going to decide what’s going to happen on the field.”
Hinch talked about going into Game 1 with Justin Verlander on the mound and where the right-hander ranked among the pitchers he’s seen in his playing days and second career.
“No. 1, right now, he’s my No. 1 starter,” Hinch said. “I think he is a pitcher that transcends a lot of different generations. He’s stood the test of time. He’s stood the test of the evolution of the game. He’s evolved as a pitcher himself with how he uses his pitches, what he believes in.
“I think he’s a future Hall of Famer. I think he’s someone that has done everything in the game from being a big-time pitcher in the postseason to his personal struggles where people were writing him off as nearly ending his career to now being a Cy Young contender.
“It’s been incredible to watch him grow and mature. I was with the Tigers as a player when they drafted him. And he was in the minor leagues when I was ending my career, but you heard a lot about him. And I guess rarely do you get someone who performs above the threshold that we put on these players nowadays that are drafted high or that are first overall or that are in the top five picks.
“It’s hard to exceed expectations nowadays. And he’s doing it every step along the way at an age where he’s been written off multiple times and responded with his best season ever.”
That pitching matchup should be an entertaining one. Houston and Boston start their series at 8:09 PM EDT in Fenway.
Enjoy your Championship Series matchups...