The Brewers have learned their foe for the first round of the National League Division Series, and it comes attached with some Rocky Mountain air.
The Colorado Rockies got the best of the Chicago Cubs in 13 innings of the NL wild-card game Tuesday, 2-1. The Rockies and Brewers will begin a best-of-five series at Miller Park with a 5:07 p.m. first pitch Thursday followed by a 4:15 p.m. start Friday.
The winner of the series will advance to the National League Championship Series, one step from the World Series.
Here’s a look at what to expect from the Rockies:
How they fared head-to-head
The teams played some entertaining games in 2018, with Milwaukee taking the season series, 5-2.
The biggest bats
Nolan Arenado, the MVP candidate whose 38 home runs led the league and whose 110 RBI were one shy of Chicago’s Javier Baez for tops in the NL. He’s also one of the best defensive third basemen in baseball.
Trevor Story, another MVP-worthy candidate with 37 homers and 108 RBI. He bounced back from a late-season injury that initially looked like it might end his season.
Charlie Blackmon, the league leader in runs scored (119) who sets the table with a .358 on-base percentage and .860 OPS.
The best arms
Kyle Freeland, a 25-year-old Cy Young candidate who dazzled this year, going 17-7 with a 2.85 ERA. As a lefty, he poses a real matchup problem for the Brewers, although working on short rest in the wild-card game might limit his availability. He went 6 2/3 scoreless innings in that showcase but left with a no-decision.
German Marquez, a fast-rising 23-year-old who finished with a 3.77 ERA and a whopping 230 strikeouts in 196 innings.
Adam Ottavino, a reliever with a 2.43 ERA and 112 punch outs in just 77 innings. He and Scott Oberg have WHIPs under 1.00.
The Brewers’ Kryptonite
Trevor Story. He’s absolutely pounded the Brewers this year, with a staggering seven home runs in seven games (27 at-bats). He also has a double and triple — meaning all nine of his hits vs. Milwaukee are of the extra-base variety. He’s driven in 18. It’s one of the best performances by any player against one team this season.
Kyle Freeland. Milwaukee has faced him only once, but Freeland struck out six batters in six-plus innings and allowed just four hits without surrendering a run. He’ll be one of the series’ top players to watch.
The Rockies’ Kryptonite
Freddy Peralta. The rookie made his memorable debut against the Rockies, striking out 13 batters in 5 2/3 innings. All told this year, he allowed two earned runs in 11 2/3 frames vs. the Rockies. He probably won’t be on the NLDS roster, however.
Travis Shaw. He racked up 10 hits against the Rockies, with four homers — including a grand slam — and nine RBI. In his 28 at-bats, he collected an OPS of 1.221.
The story at the heart of it all
Just like the last time the Brewers were in the postseason, they open with an NL West foe, one that hits the ball much better at home than on the road. Especially considering Milwaukee yields its share of fly balls, it becomes pivotal to win those games at Miller Park, where the atmosphere is a little more forgiving. Can they contain Trevor Story, who owned Milwaukee pitchers in 2018?
May 10: Brewers 5, Rockies 2. The one where Lo Cain started the game with a homer and the Brewers racked up 11 more hits from there.
May 11: Brewers 11, Rockies 10 (10). The one where the Brewers were down, 9-3, and rallied back in a thriller, with Manny Pina’s two-out, two-run homer tying the score in the ninth.
May 12: Rockies 4, Brewers 0. The one where not much is remarkable, but the previous win was so ridiculous.
May 13: Brewers 7, Rockies 3. The Peralta debut on Mother’s Day.
Aug. 3: Brewers 5, Rockies 3. The one where Eric Thames walked it off after the Brewers were down to their last out.
Aug. 4: Brewers 8, Rockies 4. The one where a grand slam and 6-0 lead in the first was a heckuva start, though things got dicey at the end.
Aug. 5: Rockies 5, Brewers 4 (11). The one where the Brewers scored three improbable runs in the ninth, only to lose in extras.