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may well have made

Postautor: elaine95 » 10 sty 2019, 2:07

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Right-hander Jimmy Nelson agreed to a $3.7 million Gregor Blanco Jersey , one-year contract with the Milwaukee Brewers after missing all of the 2018 while recovering from surgery on his pitching shoulder.The 29-year-old was 12-6 with a 3.49 ERA and 199 strikeouts in 29 starts in 2017, finishing tied for ninth in NL Cy Young Award voting. He was hurt Sept. 8 when sliding back to first base following a hit at Chicago’s Wrigley Field, and Dr. Neil ElAttrache operated 11 days later In Los Angeles to repair a partial tear of his anterior labrum and a rotator cuff strain.Nelson avoided arbitration by agreeing to the same salary he had in 2018. He would earn an additional $50,000 for winning the comeback player of the year award, $100,000 for Cy Young, $75,000 for second and $50,000 for third.He would get $50,000 each for making the All-Star team, winning World Series MVP or the Hoffman/Rivera reliever of the year award. He would get $25,000 apiece for Gold Glove or League Championship Series MVP.His deal was announced by the Brewers on Wednesday. Elsa/Getty ImagesA former major league pitcher watched Games 1 and 2 and came away with one overwhelming thought about the Los Angeles Dodgers' chance at making this World Series interesting."They have to get lucky and win a game early," the former pitcher said Thursday. "It's hard for them to play from behind, because of a lot of their hitters can't catch up to the Red Sox bullpen."In other words Blake Parker Jersey , forget everything you thought you knew when October began. Forget some of what you thought you knew when this week began.The bullpen isn't the fatal flaw in the formula that the Red Sox used to win 108 games. No, the reworked bullpen is the strength that has the Sox on the way to winning the four games that matter most鈥攖he ones that could bring them another World Series title.If this is a race, you could say the Red Sox are at two wins and the Dodgers haven't left the starting blocks. Or you could say that the Red Sox are moving at 100 mph and the Dodgers are caught in an L.A. traffic jam.Or you could just look at these numbers: So far in these playoffs, according to research byBaseball Savant, Cody Bellinger (0-for-6), Yasiel Puig (0-for-5), Manny Machado (0-for-4), Matt Kemp (0-for-4), Kike Hernandez (0-for-4), Yasmani Grandal (0-for-3) and David Freese (0-for-1) are a combined 0-for-27 when an at-bat ends with a pitch at 97 mph or faster. Add in Justin Turner (1-for-6) and Max Muncy (1-for-5), and you've got nine Dodgers hitters who are a combined 2-for-38 this month when facing high velocity.Before you cry "small sample size," it's not like this is just an October issue. Including the regular season and playoffs, Bellinger is 4-for-28 when facing 97 and above. Turner is 4-for-21, and Chris Taylor is 1-for-14.Taylor CJ Wilson Jersey , Grandal, Hernandez, Bellinger, Turner, Joc Pederson and Brian Dozier have batted a combined .137 against 97 and above, since the start of the 2018 season. The overall major league average this season was .224.The Dodgers overcame some hard-throwing relievers to beat the Atlanta Braves and Milwaukee Brewers, but the Red Sox are throwing heat like they haven't seen (or hit). According to Baseball Savant, which uses numbers from's Statcast, three of the top six pitchers ranked by average fastball velocity in the 2018 playoffs are Red Sox right-handers Nathan Eovaldi (98.9 mph), Joe Kelly (98.9) and Craig Kimbrel (97.9).You want triple digits? Baseball Savantsays there have been 46 pitches thrown at 100 mph or higher this month. Eovaldi has thrown 22 of them. Kelly has thrown nine. And while Kimbrel hasn't hit 100 this October, he has thrown seven pitches clocked at 99 mph (and he topped 100 mph twice in September).Is it any surprise that, through two games, those three have retired all 18 Dodgers they've faced?Nathan EovaldiElsa/Getty ImagesPerhaps the bigger question is why so few of us warned you this was coming, and why so many of us鈥擨 plead guilty鈥攚ondered why Red Sox general manager Dave Dombrowski didn't do more to fix such an obvious flaw in his otherwise great team.The truth is Dombrowski and his front office did try very hard to trade for bullpen help. According to Bleacher Report sources , the Sox nearly completed a July deadline deal with the Washington Nationals for reliever Kelvin Herrera before the Nationals decided against a sell-off (and before Herrera tore a ligament in his left foot in August). Even as Dombrowski was strengthening other parts of his team by dealing for a second baseman (Ian Kinsler), a first baseman (Steve Pearce) and a starting pitcher (Eovaldi), the Red Sox looked everywhere for a reliever who would be a clear improvement on what they already had.They didn't find one. Or maybe they did.Acquiring Eovaldi from the Tampa Bay Rays on July 25 gave the Red Sox more depth in their rotation. It allowed manager Alex Cora the leeway to use starter Rick Porcello for key relief appearances against the New York Yankees and Houston Astros. It allowed Cora to use Eovaldi for four key outs in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series against the Astros.Eovaldi pitched the eighth inning in Games 1 and 2 against the Dodgers, the team that drafted him in 2008 and brought him to the big leagues in 2011, only to trade him to the Miami Marlins a year later. Even though he's still listed as the tentative Game 4 starter, Cora won't rule out using Eovaldi in relief again in Game 3 Friday night and choosing someone else for Game 4."You never know," Cora said in his postgame press conference Wednesday. "Like I've been saying all along, we're all-in every day. If we feel there's a chance to close the door with them, we'll use him. The way it's mapped out, it's Rick in Game 3 and maybe Nate Game 4. But Nate might come in in the eighth again. If we have a chance to be up [three games to none] with him on the mound and Craig [Kimbrel], we'll do it. And then we'll figure out Game 4."Cora went on to talk about how you do things differently in the playoffs than you would from April through September, and that Eovaldi out of the pen is part of that."He's been amazing for us," Cora said.Whether it was fixing a pitch-tipping flaw or simply regaining confidence, Craig Kimbrel again looked like a lights-out closer in Games 1 and 2.Maddie Meyer/Getty ImagesHe has been amazing Cody Bellinger Jersey , but it wouldn't have mattered if the rest of the bullpen hadn't come together. Even as the Red Sox won night after night in the regular season, Cora had struggled to figure out who he trusted in front of Kimbrel at the end of games. At the end of September, Kelly seemed somewhat out of favor, with Matt Barnes and Ryan Brasier getting bigger innings.Barnes and Brasier have continued to pitch, but Kelly has become more and more important as October has gone on. After pitching just once in four games against the Yankees, he has appeared in five of the last seven games the Red Sox have played, usually with the lead on the line."He's been lights-out," Cora said. "Breaking balls for strikes, good fastball, good changeup. Presence on the mound. I'm happy for him. At one point he went from being the guy in the seventh, eighth inning to just a guy in the bullpen. And now he's back to the equation. When Joey is throwing strikes with all his pitches, he might be one of the toughest relievers in the big leagues because his stuff is that good."No one has ever questioned Kimbrel's stuff, but he gave up runs in each of his first four appearances this postseason. He couldn't consistently throw strikes, and when he did Chris Taylor Jersey , they were too often low strikes rather than the up-in-the-zone fastballs that normally eat hitters alive.It's been widely reported that former Red Sox (and Dodgers) closer Eric Gagne noticed Kimbrel was tipping his pitches and that he and the Sox corrected it before Game 5 of the ALCS. That may well have made the difference, or it may be that correcting an apparent flaw gave Kimbrel the confidence he'd been lacking earlier in the month.The Dodgers looked like a team craving heat, but not in the form of 100 mph fastballs.Rob Carr/Getty ImagesEither way, the Kimbrel who appeared against the Dodgers looked like a different guy than the one who struggled against the Yankees and Astros. His body language was again that of a closer who didn't plan to give you a chance, rather than one who was just hoping to get through an inning.Body language tells a lot. In the cold at Fenway Park, every view of the Dodger dugout showed a bunch of guys who looked like they just wanted to go somewhere warm, while every look at the Red Sox showed a team that didn't mind if the game went on forever.A forecast for game time Friday in Los Angeles says it will be 77 degrees, which should make the Dodgers feel more comfortable.Unfortunately for them, the forecast for the late innings will be the same as it was for Games 1 and 2: 100 mph, blowing right by them. They'd better figure out a way to deal with it, or they won't need to worry about the temperature back in Boston for a Game 6.Danny Knobler covers Major League Baseball as a national columnist for Bleacher Report.Follow Danny on Twitter and talk baseball.
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