The chess match between Craig Counsell the manager of the Milwaukee Brewers and his counterpart Dave Roberts for the Los Angeles Dodgers reached a new level during the first inning of Wednesday’s Game 5.
Counsell pulled his starting pitcher Wade Miley after the lefthander walked Cody Bellinger the leadoff hitter for the Dodgers in the first inning on five pitches. Although both Miley and Bellinger are lefthanders, the majority of the Dodgers lineup was made up of right-handed batters.
Miley was replaced by Brandon Woodruff and did not give up a run during the first inning, but allowed three runs over 5 1/3 innings and took the loss as the Dodgers beat the Brewers 5-3 to take a 3-2 lead in the best of seven National League Championship Series.
Miley will start Friday’s Game 6 to be played in Milwaukee something that Counsell said afterwards was his plan from the start.
Miley will start what is now an elimination game for Milwaukee as they are behind 3-2. He told reporters he learned about the likely move by Counsell a few days ago.
The lefthander said it was different trying to be mentally prepared to face just one hitter, as you must go through the whole routine including the news conference on the day before the start that pitchers are obligated to hold, knowing he was about to face just one hitter.
One question did arise amongst the media following Wednesday’s loss and that was if Miley was upset about being a decoy in Game 5.
Miley avoided a direct response to the question by saying it was not his job to question. He said the team is trying to win the National League Pennant and what took place was the strategic part of the game and he and everyone else on the Brewers bought into the decision.
Dodgers skipper Roberts had just two hitters from the left side in Wednesday’s lineup, after going with a lineup of all right-handed hitters in Game 2 when Miley started.
Miley became the second pitcher in playoff history to start and face just one batter. The other was right-hander Johnny Cueto, who with Cincinnati at the time, struck out the only hitter he faced during the 2012 NL Division Series Game 1. However, Cueto left due to back spasms not because of a managerial strategic plan.