Los Angeles Dodgers’ skipper Dave Roberts was asked in his media availability before Game 6 if he could pinpoint one reason why his team finds itself where it is, one win from a return to the World Series after losing in the 2017 edition of the Fall Classic.
“I would say the bullpen,” Roberts told reporters.
“You look at Clayton [Kershaw] in his second start -- or in his first start. And then [Hyun-Jin] Ryu didn’t go long in his start. So I think for our pen to eat up those innings and put up a bunch of zeros allowed us to stay in games, keep leads.
“And for me, if I had to pick one thing, I think clearly the bullpen has clearly been the key for us.”
Brewers’ manager Craig Counsell talked about going into an elimination game, and how he was preparing his team as they try to force a Game 7.
“I think for tomorrow,” Counsell explained, “... it’s a simple case of you put everything out there that you have. We’ve got our backs against the wall. I think you know it can be the last game of the season. We haven’t been in this game yet this year, but we’ve been in some games that were obviously -- a bunch of games that have been immensely important, but we have not been in this game yet. And I think everybody realizes it’s win or go home. So you treat it like that. So it’s a little different. I think it is a little different for everybody.
“You’re giving everything you’ve got, you’re giving everything you’ve got in all these games, but when you know it’s win or go home it probably creates -- I think it will create a little more excitement more so in our building, it will create a little excitement and a lot of fun and hopefully -- and I think you’ll see -- I don’t think the effort changes but you’ll see the urgency.”
While they haven’t played in “this game” yet, the Brewers did play a Game 163 to decide the NL Central, but as Counsell explained, that one didn’t have the win-or-go-home finality that tonight’s game does.
“I think in this situation,” Counsell continued, “I think you have to be willing to empty the tank. And you know there’s a Game 7. And you know that you might not be at full strength for Game 7 if you’re forced to completely empty the tank, but you’ve got to get to Game 7. So that’s how we’ll treat it.
“Game 163 is a little different because we knew there would have to be a Wild Card game the next day.”
There’s no tomorrow (in 2018) for the Brewers if they can’t win tonight. Will there be a World Series between the Dodgers and Boston Red Sox? Will Milwaukee live to play another day?
HERE ARE THE DODGERS AND BREWERS’ LINEUPS FOR NLCS GAME 6:
|David Freese - 1B||Lorenzo Cain - CF|
|Max Muncy - 2B||Christian Yelich - RF|
|Justin Turner - 3B||Ryan Braun - LF|
|Manny Machado - SS||Travis Shaw - 2B|
|Cody Bellinger - CF||Jesus Aguilar - 1B|
|Chris Taylor - LF||Mike Moustakas - 3B|
|Yasiel Puig - RF||Erik Kratz - C|
|Austin Barnes - C||Orlando Arcia - SS|
|Hyun-Jin Ryu - LHP||Wade Miley - LHP|