After defeating Chicago in Game 163 for the NL Central crown, Milwaukee swept Colorado in the LDS.
Los Angeles wasn’t far behind. The Dodgers lost once in Atlanta but Rich Hill pitched effectively in helping his team eliminate the Braves in Game 4.
The Brewers may end up underdogs in every game of the series, even though they have the home-field advantage. Los Angeles opens -150 behind Clayton Kershaw on the road in Game 1 on Friday night.
Clayton Kershaw will start the series after dazzling the Braves last weekend. It took him just eighty-five pitches to go eight strong in Game 2, striking out just three but giving up nothing more than a pair of hits. I liked him in that two-spot, between Hyun-Jin Ryu and Walker Buehler but he looks ok at the top, too.
This won’t be as easy as facing the Braves at home but I got the sense last season Kershaw finally found a sense of comfort in the postseason. So far, he only looks more comfortable this year. Both of his starts against Milwaukee in 2018 came in a two-week stretch from late July to early August. He went six innings in each, gave up one run and lost, then two runs and won.
It’s unknown who Milwaukee will go with to start. Craig Counsell went with Brandon Woodruff as the opener in Game 1 of the LDS and he pitched so well he ended up going three full innings.
It set the tone for an unbelievably good series out of Milwaukee’s pitching, which gave up two runs in the ninth inning of Game 1 and nothing else. Jeremy Jeffress, who posted a 1.29 ERA in nearly seventy-seven innings in the regular season, gave up those two runs in his first postseason save opportunity. He bounced back with two scoreless appearances after that.
Counsell could go back to Jhoulys Chacin, who pitched well in Game 163 and Game 2 against Colorado. Wade Miley did his job with five scoreless. Gio Gonzalez didn’t even pitch. All three of those guys, along with Woodruff, are in the mix for a Game 1 start.
The books have set the Dodgers big road favorites in Game 1. Part of that is Kershaw but the Dodgers will likely remain favorites in Milwaukee for Game 2 with Ryu or Buehler on the mound. On paper, I have to agree that LA has the superior talent and depth but it feels like we could be overlooking what Milwaukee is doing.
The Brewers stormed back in September, just to force a Game 163. They haven’t lost since September 22nd against Pittsburgh and the pitching has given up a solo home run to Anthony Rizzo and two runs in its first save chance of the postseason. That’s it in four games. Also, don’t think Kershaw will neutralize Christian Yelich just because he’s left-handed. Yelich has nine hits in seventeen career at-bats against the Dodgers’ ace.
The Dodgers will play the long game, wearing down Milwaukee’s pitching and rotating bodies off the bench and out of the ‘pen. The Brewers have to start fast, if they want to give themselves any chance of pulling this off. The home field and fat moneyline are sweeteners.
Play: Milwaukee +140