LOS ANGELES — Free agent pitchers Jake Arrieta, Yu Darvish, Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb all got paid last winter while Jake Odorizzi, Chris Archer and J.A. Happ all found new homes via trades over the last 10 months.
None of those players landed in Milwaukee, despite constant speculation, and even though there are still plenty of pundits questioning general manager David Stearns' faith in his own arms, all of those pitchers will be watching from their couches Wednesday when Wade Miley faces off against Clayton Kershaw in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium.
Miley, signed as a minor league free agent just ahead of spring training, has been a somewhat unheralded success story this season. He overcame a pair of injuries to cement himself as an anchor of Milwaukee's starting rotation. In 16 regular season starts, he went 5-2 with a 2.57 ERA. Opponents scored no more than three runs in any of his outings and he hasn't allowed a run in 10 1/3 innings of work during the postseason, spanning two starts.
"He's certainly exceeded expectations," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.
Nobody knows how good Miley has been this season better than the Dodgers.
The Milwaukee Brewers lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-1 in 13 innings in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium…
Including his start Saturday in Game 2 of the series, Miley has faced Los Angeles three times this season and hasn't allowed a run while striking out 10 batters in 18 2/3 innings of work.
"I don't want to give away all my secrets," Miley said Tuesday afternoon as the Brewers prepared for Game 4 of the best-of-seven series. "Just go and execute pitches. I feel like I attack every team I face the same: Just try to keep the ball down and mix speeds back and forth.
"And hopefully hit it at people."
Miley will be pitching on short rest Wednesday but isn't concerned after throwing only 75 pitches his last time out.
"Just two less days," he said. "(I)threw a bullpen yesterday and just prepared to get out."
Schoop gets a start
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Miley also offered a vote of confidence to second baseman Jonathan Schoop, who got the start at second base Tuesday against Dodgers left-hander Rich Hill.
Acquired at the deadline from Baltimore, the Brewers had hoped he'd provide some consistent offensive pop from a position that struggled to generate offense this season. Schoop, though, got off to a rocky start (0-for-12, 8 strikeouts) and never really got into any kind of rhythm. He batted .202 with four home runs and 21 RBI in 46 regular season games for the Brewers and, entering play Tuesday, he is 0-for-2 with a strikeout in the postseason.
Thirty-six years ago. Half a lifetime. That's how long it's been since the Milwaukee Brewers advanced to the World Series in 1982, their only …
Miley saw a much different version of Schoop last season, when the two were teammates in Baltimore. Schoop was a beast in the heart of a lineup that also included Manny Machado, batting .293 with 32 home runs and 105 RBI, earning an All-Star berth along the way.
"From what I've seen, he's a superstar," Miley said Tuesday. "Hitting .290 last year, 32 homers, plays great defense. He can turn two with the best of them.
"He just needs at-bats, I guess. But it's hard. We've got a really good team over here. He came in in August and this is how we play. He'll be good again."
Counsell said Schoop's right-handed bat, paired with Hill's lower velocity stuff, made for a good fit in Game 4.
"Johnny's swing, and where the ball is going to end up where Rich throws it a lot is a good matchup," Counsell said. "And when I compare it to our other options it's the option that I like the best tonight."
With Schoop in the lineup, Travis Shaw will be a left-handed bat off the bench.
Kershaw ready for rematch
Left-hander Clayton Kershaw gets the Game 5 start for the Dodgers and it could be his last in a Los Angeles uniform.
Kershaw, 30, can opt out of the seven-year, $215 million contract he signed in 2014. Doing so would leave $70 million on the table.
"I have not made a decision," Kershaw said. "And to my understanding you get ten days after the World Series. So should be a busy ten days."