Clayton breaks green on the Weisman Chart
It was late afternoon and the raucous Chavez Ravine crowd was nervous as it appeared that the Dodger chances for taking a 3 – 2 game lead in the best of seven NLCS was in grave jeopardy. The Brewers had just taken the lead on a booming Cain double leaving runners on 2nd/3rd with the future NL MVP coming up and only one out.
Clayton Kershaw had cruised through the first seven outs but inexplicably had walked the Brewer pitcher Brandon Woodruff after giving up a single to Arcia. The same Brandon Woodruff who had crushed Kershaw for a home run in game one. My own thinking was that of all the hitters that Kershaw faced on Wednesday, getting Woodruff out would have been priority number one, but nope Kershaw walked him. Kershaw could have picked up the attempted sacrifice bunt that he allowed to go foul so instead of one out with a runner on second, the Brewers had two on with the future NL MVP coming up.
From my seats high up on the reserve, I couldn’t tell you what Kershaw used to strikeout Yelich but he did. Five pitches later Ryan Braun had walked and the bases were loaded for the Brewers cleanup hitter Jesus Aguilar. Aguilar was the Brewers version of Max Muncy, the journeyman player who struck gold in 2018, helping lead the Brewers to the best record in the National League. It was all on the line. Bases loaded, two outs, the Brewers already leading 1 – 0 in only the 3rd inning. Aguilar did not go gently into the late afternoon, but he did go down. It took Kershaw eight pitches to vanquish the hulking Aguilar but eventually, Kershaw struck him out.
Clayton Kershaw was one pitch from being a red line on the Weisman Chart, but instead, he had extricated himself and the Dodgers were still in the game.
Clayton Kershaw’s start today went from red to yellow to orange to green, as in great. In a polarizing postseason career, this was Kershaw’s 11th career start allowing two runs or fewer. #Dodgers #NLCS #MLB pic.twitter.com/6pWAd255Pa
— Jon Weisman (@jonweisman) October 18, 2018
As the chart above shows, Clayton not only kept his game from going red but ended up pitching one of the best postseason games I’ve had the pleasure to watch from a seat in the ravine. I have to admit my postseason history is not littered with success with the only notches on my belt being the Lima and Uribe games, so when Clayton loaded the bases, I certainly had doubts he would keep those runners off the board. Later that inning when Brandon Woodruff was throwing a no-hitter I even had the thought that how insane would it be if Wade Miley and Brandon Woodruff combined for the strangest no-hitter in baseball history.
Luckily Kershaw did get out of the 3rd relatively unscathed, and the Dodgers did find their bats, somewhat cruising to the victory.
Other game notes:
Austin Barnes stayed in the game against RHP and delivered the first run of the game. He also seemed to stop a number of pitches in the dirt. Will the same thing happen this year that happened last year? Barnes is undefeated in the NLCS and one could see him starting every game the rest of the way just as he did in 2017.
Once again David Freese started, and once again he only got one plate appearance. Even for modern-day baseball, this has to be extremely unique. In game two Freese started and got two plate appearances, but in game one, four, and five he started and got only one plate appearance. He was used as a pinch hitter in game three and got his one plate appearance.
No home runs so the Dodgers relied on timely base knocks from Barnes, Muncy, and Puig.
The Brewers fearsome duo of Yelich/Aguilar has been held in check leaving numerous runners twiddling their fingers. Yelich has only three singles and five walks in his twenty-five plate appearances. Aguilar has a solo home run but that is the lone RBI from the Brewers clean up hitter.
Brandon Woodruff still has the highest OPS in the NLCS, with his 2.667 barely edging out fellow pitcher Wade Miley at 2.500. Basically, the Brewers two best hitters have been their pitchers.
One other strange note. This was an afternoon game so it was a late arriving crowd. The Dodgers had no ushers for the section I was in which I’ll admit was the strangest numbered section I’ve ever sat in. The area as Reserve 17, which turns out are the double letters. I had AA, seat 9, right next to the tunnel. I was there an hour early. There is no marking whatsoever for section 15 and 19 which are the single letter seats. I would estimate that half the group that came through the tunnel which was clearly marked tunnel 17 but with no mention of section 15 or 19 had no idea where their section was. Normally I have disdain for folk who can’t find their seats but in this case, they had every right to be confused. With no ushers to help them, they huddled around the tunnel entrance like confused salmon who found themselves in a damned river that they used to swim free to their spawning grounds. So I put on my Usher hat and helped them locate their sections. If I had a sharpie I would have written Section 15 and 19 on the posts at the top of the stairs. The ushers eventually showed up (probably got off school) by the fourth inning. I asked them why it was so confusing and they said they have asked for markers for those sections but nothing has ever been done. Anyway, I found it strange but it gave me something to do for the hour before the game started. The funniest part were the fans who had section 13 but single letter rows. There is no section 13 in the reserve with single letters. The reserve has section 13 but with double letters. The section 13 with single letters are in the top deck. So those folk had to trek back to find a way to the top deck. There were quite a few, the looks on their faces as they tried to find their section was almost priceless. I had to wait to see that look before I intervened. I’m not that nice.