NLCS 3: MIL vs. LAD — Dodging the scoreboard

The postseason continues, and after all the drama earlier, tonight’s game felt a little mundane at times. As the Red Sox had a workout day in Houston, while the Astros had a day-off, the NL continued their series in LA. And yet, it seemed to leave all the dramatics of the postseason back in Milwaukee. Well, except for one incident.

NLCS: Brewers at Dodgers
Actually, the most interesting part about this post season, as I mentioned yesterday, is that these two series have well-matched teams. And their stats pretty much prove that, but tonight’s match-up came down to a few moments of weakness by the Dodgers’ starter and the defense.

In the 1st, a 1-out walk scored the Brewers’ first run on an RBI double. A 2-out triple in the 6th then scored on a wild pitch. And with 1 out in the 7th, a double scored as part of a 2-run home run to cap off the Brewers’ night. All of these runs were off the Dodgers’ starter.

The Brewers’ starter threw into the 6th inning and started the momentum that would carry them through the game — keeping the Dodgers scoreless. It wasn’t like the Dodgers were giving away runs, but the Brewers played smart enough to grab the opportunities when they came.

Final score: 4-0 Brewers, Brewers lead series 2-1

One interesting thing that happened during tonight’s game was a questionable slide in the 4th inning. Newish Dodger Machado made a dash for 2nd when his teammate Bellinger hit into what could have been a double play grounder. Initially, the only out was made at 2nd on Machado, but the Brewers challenged it calling on the “Chase Utley” rule, which prevents intentionally harmful slides into 2nd base meant to “break up a double play”.

Utley’s incident in the 2015 postseason fractured the leg of the Mets’ infielder in the process, proving just how dangerous these now illegal slides can be. Coincidentally, Utley is on the active roster for the Dodgers, a teammate of the challenged players. The rule was implemented for the 2016 season and has been in effect since, though there hasn’t been many incidents, fortunately.

Upon review, they overturned the call and declared a violation of the slide rule. Machado raised his arm and slid away from the bag, thus impeding the fielder’s ability to complete the play (which I know is the whole point, but a violation). The call immediately became a double play. The worst part for the Dodgers is that the speedy Bellinger would probably have been safe at 1st if Machado hadn’t interfered.

Look, the reason for this rule and those like this, like the one about collisions at home, is to prevent people from getting hurt. Do you want to stop the defense from doing their job? Of course, but at the risk of hurting someone? Not worth it. Never worth it to intentionally injure someone or put someone at risk of injury. Baseball is a very short part of a player’s life, so the least amount of time spent on the DL, the better for everyone.

Play clean, play with integrity. You’ve got to be better than that.

Go Yankees!

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