Friday, October 12, 2018

Brewers Versus Dodgers NLCS | Which Team's Pitching Will Blink First?

Brewers NLCS 2018
The Milwaukee Brewers are playing their best baseball at the exact right time. They have won 11 in a row, the last the seven of the regular season, the division championship against the Cubs, and now a sweep of the Colorado Rockies, the winner of the Wild Card game. The Brewers now move on to take on the Los Angeles Dodgers, who finished off the Atlanta Braves in four games, in the National League Championship Series. So what has carried the Brewers to this point? Pitching, specifically their bullpen, which has been phenomenal. Outside of Jeremy Jeffress' bad ninth inning in game one, this bullpen shut the powerhouse Rockies offense down the entire series. For the series against the Rockies the Brewers bullpen pitched 14.1 innings, giving up five hits, and no runs. They will need all of those bullpen arms (Jeffress, Josh Hader, Corbin Burnes,) and everyone in between, to make a difference in this series against the Dodgers.

Speaking of the Dodgers, they have had a rather entertaining 2018, haven’t they? Their ship seemed sunk two months into the season, as they were a bunch of badly injured players, buried way down in the standings, looking up at the Diamondbacks and Rockies. The Diamondbacks and Rockies blew an opportunity to bury the Dodgers, and they couldn’t do it. The sleeping giant woke up, started climbing the standings, and made the big splash at the trade deadline, acquiring Manny Machado from the Baltimore Orioles. The Dodgers climbed all the way back to the top of the division and beat the Rockies for the National League West division title. Against the Braves, they got a masterful performance from their ace, Clayton Kershaw, who pitched eight marvelous shutout innings on just 85 pitches during game one. The Brewers now will have to contend with a fresh Clayton Kershaw, who they can expect to see two, maybe three times in this series. If he makes three starts that presents a problem for the Brewers, a big problem. It is hard to score on pitchers like Kershaw in the playoffs. But to have to face him three times? That leaves very little room for error on their part. What this series comes down to is whether the Dodgers get to the Brewers bullpen, or can Milwaukee get to Clayton Kershaw?