After being shut out in the first two games of the NLDS, the Braves not only posted a crooked number on the scoreboard in Game Three, but staved off elimination entirely with a 6-5 win over the Dodgers. Ronald Acuna continued to make history, as the 20-year-old rookie sensation become the youngest player ever to hit a grand slam in postseason action. Game Four is set for Monday in Atlanta at 3:30pm CT.
As we look forward to three playoff games tomorrow, here are some items from three teams still active in the postseason…
- The Brewers made Craig Counsell’s continued employment as manager a requirement for any general manager candidate in 2015, owner Mark Attanasio told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We interviewed seven or eight candidates, and I told all of them that Craig was going to be the manager,” Attanasio said. “So, that would have disqualified a candidate if they had a problem with that….That was a precondition to the job.” Counsell has paid off his employer’s faith by leading the Brewers into the NLCS, and quickly impressing observers along the way — eventual new GM David Stearns, the Brewers’ roster, and fans in Counsell’s home state of Wisconsin.
- Two shoulder surgeries and a right ankle injury limited Michael Brantley to just 101 total games in 2016 and 2017, limiting his productivity and sidelining him for all of the Indians’ run to Game Seven of the 2016 World Series. That long recovery period has made this season all the more special for the outfielder, who rebounded to hit .309/.364/.468 and 17 homers over 631 plate appearances and 143 games while helping the Tribe reach the postseason. “When you go through basically almost a two-year rehab, you don’t always know that you’re going to come back,” Brantley told MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian. “Every day that I’m there to be with my teammates, that I’m healthy enough to be in that lineup, where I can joke around and know that I’m going out to left field to play with these guys, I’m very appreciative. I don’t take it for granted.” Monday, however, could mark Brantley’s last game in a Cleveland uniform if the Tribe is swept by the Astros, as Brantley will be a free agent at season’s end.
- “There’s a gigantic difference in how we use analytics here compared to Baltimore,” Yankees reliever Zach Britton told Fangraphs’ David Laurila. After coming to New York from the Orioles in a trade deadline swap, Britton was presented with lots of personally-focused data. “I’d never been exposed to that amount of information,” Britton said. “And it’s not just ’Here’s a stack of stuff to look over.’ …. I don’t want to get into specifics, but some of it is how my ball moves, both my sinker and my slider, compared to different hitters’ swings. It kind of opens your eyes to things you maybe didn’t think of when you didn’t have that information.” The Orioles are known to be looking for a more analytically-minded figure in their new general manager, though the team has a long way to go to catch up to the Yankees, who are known to have one of baseball’s best information departments. If Britton’s comments sound similar to Justin Verlander’s reaction to joining the Astros last season, it isn’t a surprise, as Britton noted that “If you look at the teams in the postseason, most are well-known for their analytics departments, especially the Astros.”