It’s 2018, and the idea of a Major League Baseball game being played out by a team “bullpenning” is now commonplace. The fact that the Milwaukee Brewers did it in Game 1 of the NLCS on Friday night spoke volumes. While many are still unsure about, whether it’s based on purist preference or just common sense, it had a major effect on the outcome at Miller Park. And it all could have been so different without a little bit of help from the unlikely.
Manny Machado homered in the second inning to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead. Soon, the game was flipped on its head in an extraordinary way. In a long, long third inning, catcher Yasmani Grandal would have a nightmare inning. On top of that, Clayton Kershaw allowed a home run from a pitcher. Not just any pitcher, but Brandon Woodruff: a reliever that rarely ever hits. Despite the long nature of the inning, Kershaw made it through having only given up one run. But it took its toll, with the ace not able to record an out when he reemerged in the fourth inning.
From there, the Brewers busted the game wide open and raced out to a 5-1 lead after Ryan Braun singled among others. With Kershaw chased, the Brew Crew and manager Craig Counsell sought to win the game right then and there. They even brought in star reliever Josh Hader in the fifth inning to set it up. He recorded two nearly flawless innings and they got another home run to go up 6-1. But it wasn’t over yet. The bullpen idea nearly cost them as the Dodgers scored three in the eighth and once in the ninth to give them a scare. However, it was too little too late and the Brewers had taken Game 1.
In off-the-field news, it looks like the Columbus Crew could be saved at the eleventh hour by the Cleveland Browns’ ownership group. The Crew, one of Major League Soccer’s founding members, has been fighting for the past year to keep its team in Columbus amidst threats of a move to Austin, Texas. While fans across the nation have been united in this goal, it had appeared to be set to happen. But reports now suggest that the Haslam and Edwards families could come together to keep the team where it belongs. The goal of the plan is to keep the team and its assets in Columbus while giving the current owner- Anthony Precourt- rights to a team in Austin. If this truly works out, it would be a major win for everyone involved with the whole process.