The Milwaukee Brewers are going to play three games in Los Angeles against the Dodgers. The first one might be their best chance to win, and it’s the most critical one as well.
In order to ensure that this series at least comes back to Milwaukee, the Brewers need to win one game in Los Angeles out of the three. If they can win two of the three, they will come home to Miller Park with a chance to advance to the World Series in Game 6. If, on the off chance they win all three games in L.A., they would clinch out there in Game 5.
I think the Brewers can win at least one out west while winning two would be preferable. I don’t see a three game sweep in Los Angeles happening at all.
But the best chance to come out with a victory in the City of Angels might be Game 3 on Monday night.
Why Game 3?
Jhoulys Chacin has been the Brewers ace all season long and he’s on the mound on Monday. He’ll have a fully rested bullpen after the off day on Sunday which means Josh Hader will come into the game if there’s a lead.
The Dodgers are starting Walker Buehler, the young, talented rookie right hander. Buehler showed signs of struggle in the NLDS against the Braves, pitching in the Dodgers’ only loss in that series. As good as he is, his lack of experience in playoff situations like this could work against him. The Brewers have a similar scenario with young Freddy Peralta. Peralta has made both rosters but he has yet to appear in a game in October.
If the Brewers offense can get to Buehler early, jump out to a lead, Chacin and the bullpen can close down the rest. Chacin is well rested and should be able to go deep into the game. With Hader and the rest of the bullpen being available, this team should be operating at 100% strength.
How Important Is Game 3?
It’s critical to the Brewers’ chances of advancing. As any pitching coach will tell you, a 1-1 pitch is extremely important in determining how the at-bat will play out. Fall behind, and you’re no longer in control of the count. But if you get ahead, you have the opponent right where you want them and it opens things up for you.
Falling behind 2-1 in the NLCS to a very experienced Dodgers team is not a good situation. They’re going to face Kershaw again in Los Angeles and they’re going to face Rich Hill. Those are two veteran arms that have been in this situation before. Walker Buehler is not like those guys. He’s talented, but he’s a rookie.
We don’t know yet who will be pitching in Games 4 and 5, but Hill and Kershaw are going to be tough opponents that the Crew’s staff will have to match pitch-for-pitch.
With the Milwaukee Brewers own ace on the mound, it’s a game they need to win to get back in control of this series. Just one win in Los Angeles guarantees a return to Miller Park, where the Brewers have a huge home field advantage. If they can win that first game, that takes some of the pressure off of the players for those next two games.
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These two teams are fairly evenly matched, and I fully expect it to go six or seven games. The Milwaukee Brewers are just three wins away from reaching the World Series.