Jesus Aguilar hom Dalton Pompey Blue Jays Jersey ers for first postseason hit

DENVER — After seeing Jesus Aguilar begin the National League Division Series with six hitless at-bats, manager Craig Counsell made a promise on Saturday: “Aggie is going to hit a home run in the playoffs, a big homer with men on base, I promise.”

There wasn’t anyone on base when Aguilar came to the plate with one out in the fourth inning at Coors Field on Sunday afternoon, but Aguilar nonetheless delivered the big hit his manager predicted as the Brewers clinched a spot in the NL Championship Series with a 6-0 win at Coors Field. His solo shot to left field off German Marquez proved to be the first of many signs that Milwaukee’s lineup is rounding into form at the right time.

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DENVER — After seeing Jesus Aguilar begin the National League Division Series with six hitless at-bats, manager Craig Counsell made a promise on Saturday: “Aggie is going to hit a home run in the playoffs, a big homer with men on base, I promise.”

There wasn’t anyone on base when Aguilar came to the plate with one out in the fourth inning at Coors Field on Sunday afternoon, but Aguilar nonetheless delivered the big hit his manager predicted as the Brewers clinched a spot in the NL Championship Series with a 6-0 win at Coors Field. His solo shot to left field off German Marquez proved to be the first of many signs that Milwaukee’s lineup is rounding into Dalton Pompey Jersey  form at the right time.

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:: NLDS schedule and results ::

Before pouring beer on anyone whose path he crossed in a celebratory clubhouse, Aguilar broke out of his mini-slump with a homer. Lorenzo Cain also recorded his first hit of the series. Unlikely postseason hero Erik Kratz went 3-for-4. Finally, Orlando Arcia and Keon Broxton punctuated the Brewers’ highest-scoring game in October with back-to-back homers in the ninth off Rockies closer Wade Davis.

Dress for success: Get Brewers gear for NLCS

“You want everybody to go into these four days off feeling really good about themselves. Offensively today, a lot of guys had good games,” said Ryan Braun, who had two hits in the clinching victory and hit .385 in the NLDS. “Orlando Arcia hit a big homer for us. Broxton hit a big homer for us. Aggie hit a big homer for us. LoCain had a couple great at-bats and got on base for us.

“Hopefully everybody goes into these off-days feeling better about where we’re at offensively. We know we can be better than we’ve been over the past few games.”

Christian Yelich did most of the damage before Mike Moustakas ended Game 1 with a walk-off single. The bottom of the lineup, including Kratz, came up big during Milwaukee’s 3-2 victory in Game 2. Yelich was the only one of the Brewers’ eight starting position players to finish Sunday’s game without a hit.

“We really do expect to be better than we’ve been offensively. We haven’t really run the bases really well, either. We’ve made plenty of mistakes,” Braun said. “The biggest thing is we believe in each other and we truly believe that we’ll find a way to win every day — somehow, some way, we’ve done that for the last two weeks.”

Video: MIL@COL Gm3: Brewers hit 3 HRs and shut out Rockies

The Brewers pitched their way to a sweep, shutting out the Rockies twice, but they know they’ll have to be firing on all cylinders to get past the NLCS.

“We’re definitely confident. Want to be more consistent scoring runs,” Cain said. “That starts with me. I’ve got to do better.”

Cain was 0-for-10 in the series before hitting a one-out single to right in the fifth inning. After seven at-bats without a hit, Aguilar jumped on the first pitch he saw from Marquez in the fourth, an 82.6-mph curveball, and launched it a projected 418 feet with an exit velocity of 103.3 mph, according to Statcast™.

Video: MIL@COL Gm3: Broxton mashes 106.4-mph, 429-ft. homer

With his fifth home run in seven career games at Coors Field, Aguilar gave starter Wade Miley a little breathing room. Considering the way the Brewers have pitched lately — and their 74-28 record when scoring first this season — it might have felt like more than a little.

“The goal was to get ahead early. We knew if we got ahead early, we’d put the pressure on them,” Braun said. “With the bullpen that we h Dalton Pompey Blue Jays Jersey ave, obviously, if we can get ahead, we feel incredibly confident we’ll be able to hold that lead.”

They wound up adding to it in the sixth with a wild two-run rally that included a run-scoring balk and wild pitch during the same at-bat. Arcia and Broxton put the finishing touches on a convincing victory with the Brewers’ first back-to-back homers in postseason history. They celebrated together, too, dousing everyone they could with a bottle in each hand.

Video: MIL@COL Gm3: Arcia crushes a solo homer to left

“We’ve used the word depth a lot, and sometimes it’s — you feel like it’s just a buzz word, but in our case, I think it’s really important,” Counsell said. “I think today was a great example of it, and what a cool way to win it because of our depth.”

Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com.


Milwaukee Brewers,
Jesus Aguilar,
Orlando Arcia,
Keon Broxton,
Lorenzo Cain,
Erik Kratz

Craig Counsell has Crew playing its b Dalton Pompey Blue Jays Jersey est ball

DENVER — This is the kind of team that wins the World Series. Isn’t that the bottom line on these Brewers, as they advance to the National League Championship Series?

Let’s check off some boxes: Their pitching staff is on a historic roll, their defense nearly perfect. Offensively, Milwaukee has stars in the middle of the lineup, but it is also getting contributions from every corner of their clubhouse.

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DENVER — This is the kind of team that wins the World Series. Isn’t that the bottom line on these Brewers, as they advance to the National League Championship Series?

Let’s check off some boxes: Their pitching staff is on a historic roll, their defense nearly perfect. Offensively, Milwaukee has stars in the middle of the lineup, but it is also getting contributions from every corner of their clubhouse.

View Full Game Coverage

Oh, and there’s this: The Brewers are playing their best when the stage is its largest and the lights are brightest. Milwaukee won its 11th straight game on Sunday afternoon when it eliminated the Rockies 6-0 in Game 3 of the National League Division Series at Coors Field.

Dress for success: Get Brewers gear for NLCS

:: NLDS schedule and results ::

When they host Game 1 of the NLCS on Friday at Miller Park, it will be nearly three full weeks since the Brewers’ last loss. And it seems like many months ago that Milwaukee was six games out of first place in the National League Central, which it would eventually win in a 163rd-game tiebreaker with the Cubs.

That was Aug. 28 when they were six games out, and if you had the Brewers in your NLCS poll, you were on a small bandwagon. They’re 26-7 since then. Their bullpen has a dazzling 2.16 ERA, the best in baseball. They’re scoring runs, too, in bunches, at 5.4 per game.

And in this stretch, outfielder Christian Yelich has probably nailed down the NL Most Valuable Player Award with 12 home runs, seven doubles and a .386 batting average.

If you drew up a prototype of a championship team, this might be it.

“We’ve matured a lot as a team in the last couple months,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “And the sacrifices that a lot of guys have made have really helped us mature as a team.

“We’ve played so well, and in a lot of ways, it’s kind of spoiled us a little bit. Like I said, 11 in a row at this time of year means a lot of things are going right.”

Video: MIL@COL Gm3: Hader retires Desmond to complete sweep

Milwaukee swept the Rockies with the best pitching in NLDS history: a 0.90 ERA. The Brewers’ initial out-getter — some call him the starting pitcher — set a tone, and then their bullpen finished it off.

With a bullpen that includes three relievers with closer-like stuff — Corey Knebel, Josh Hader and Jeremy Jeffress — and one of the organization’s best young arms, Corbin Burnes, Milwaukee put the pressure on the opposition to score early or not scor Devon Travis Jersey e at all.

“You’ve really got to tip your cap to those arms in the bullpen,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “A couple of guys came out of nowhere, right? That kid Burnes had a nice run for him in these games. It’s a good team. They got themselves in a pretty good position.”

Video: MIL@COL Gm3: Burnes fans 2 in 2 perfect innings

This is the next step in a process that started in 2015, when Brewers owner Mark Attanasio watched his team collapse in the final six weeks of the season, losing 24 of their final 39. They lost 94 games in all that year and finished 32 games out of first place. When it mercifully ended, Attanasio wanted a new direction.

His search took him to David Stearns, a bright young assistant general manager of the Astros who had also worked for the Indians and at Major League Baseball.

No executive has done his job better since the hiring of Stearns, and in the last 12 months, Stearns finished the roster construction with the acquisitions of outfielders Yelich and Lorenzo Cain on the same January day, along with late-season additions in third baseman Mike Moustakas, outfielders Curtis Granderson, pitcher Gio Gonzalez and veteran reliever Joakim Soria.

Video: Moustakas on the Brewers’ sweep of the Rockies

In his first job interview, Stearns assured Attanasio that the Brewers were closer to winning than a lot of people thought and that no teardown was needed. But to go from 94 losses in 2015 to 96 wins three years later was beyond anything Attanasio — or pretty much anyone else — expected.

“No way we could have thought it was going to be this fast,” Attanasio said. “However, David Stearns never put a timetable on it. David was always, ‘We’re going to have a process. We’re going to have a methodology and then good things will happen.'”

Video: COL@MIL Gm1: Attanasio talks Stearns progress in 2018

Now the Brewers are off to the next round, and they are Devon Travis Blue Jays Jersey  four victories from bringing the World Series back to Milwaukee for the first time in 34 years.

“We believe in each other, and we really are playing our best baseball when it matters most,” outfielder Ryan Braun said.

Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.


Milwaukee Brewers

Brewers bullpen Dalton Pompey Blue Jays Jersey dominates against Rockies

DENVER — The Bre Devon Travis Blue Jays Jersey wers have maintained belief that their bullpen is built for a lengthy October run but admittedly suggest that their path through the postseason will be predicated on rest. That’s what makes their three-game sweep over the Rockies in the National League Division Series so valuable.

After Sunday’s 6-0 win at Coors Field, Milwaukee is moving on to the NL Championship Series, which begins Friday at Miller Park. The Brewers’ bevy of power relief arms, which were their catalyst in their sweep of Colorado, have four days off ahead of a matchup against either the Braves or Dodgers.

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DENVER — The Brewers have maintained belief that their bullpen is built for a lengthy October run but admittedly suggest that their path through the postseason will be predicated on rest. That’s what makes their three-game sweep over th Devon Travis Jersey e Rockies in the National League Division Series so valuable.

After Sunday’s 6-0 win at Coors Field, Milwaukee is moving on to the NL Championship Series, which begins Friday at Miller Park. The Brewers’ bevy of power relief arms, which were their catalyst in their sweep of Colorado, have four days off ahead of a matchup against either the Braves or Dodgers.

View Full Game Coverage

Milwaukee dodged Game 4 on Monday that forecasted a chance of snow, avoided a trip back to Milwaukee for a would-be Game 5 and put a bow on a series that the Brewers dominated with pitching.

The Brewers’ tactics were tailored for the best-of-five NLDS that has  Dalton Pompey Jersey never has more than two games in a row without a day off. But in the seven-game NLCS ahead, general manager David Stearns suggested that the team’s relief-heavy approach would likely be altered within its NLCS roster construction.

:: NLDS schedule and results ::

“I think throughout the entire season, we’ve relied on our pitching unit as a whole,” Stearns said. “We’re blurring the lines a little bit between starter and relievers. We’ve done that through the entire year. A shorter series allows you to accentuate that and we’ve been able to do it. … We came in with a really solid game plan and we executed it.”

Dress for success: Get Brewers gear for NLCS

Their methodology isn’t completely novel, but it’s not unorthodox either, and it requires astute supervision from manager Craig Counsell and pitching coach Derek Johnson, beyond game-by-game matchups. All-Star closer Jeremy Jeffress is working on a career-high 80 innings, setup man Josh Hader, a former starter, has appeared in 58 games and shown fatigue when pitching on back-to-back days. And Corey Knebel was optioned to the Minors in late August for a physical and mental break.

Given their workloads, the Brewers’ pitchers will use Monday as a full off-day and will resume workouts Tuesday. Johnson said they may opt for some relievers to throw a scrimmage or live batting practice before Friday to stay conditioned.

“We’ve put a lot of innings on them. We’ve put a lot of pitches on them,” Johnson said. “I think the good thing about now is adrenaline takes over a little bit because we’re in high-pressure situations. It’s do or die.”

“Counsell knows how to use a bullpen,” Jeffress said. “To have these four days off, it’s going to be great for us. It’s much needed. We’ll see what matchups come up, see who we’re playing and go from there.”

This is how the Brewers plan to beat the opposition: Build an early lead and turn it over to an army of relief arms that offer versatility and variety.

Jeffress, a right-hander, enjoyed a kind of rejuvenation by expanding his repertoire to include a split-changeup that’s worked wonders all season long with a polished grip on his curveball that has given him a four-pitch mix. Hader has blossomed into one of the most revered left-handed specialists. Knebel has given up just five hits and zero runs in 19 outings since his Minor League stint. And there are contributors such as Corbin Burnes, who threw two perfect innings on Sunday, and Joakim Soria, whom the Brewers acquired ahead of the Deadline for next to nothing and who allowed just two baserunners over three appearances in the NLDS.

Video: MIL@COL Gm3: Burnes fans 2 in 2 perfect innings

“Honestly, this is the best bullpen I’ve ever seen in the big leagues ever put together,” said Gio Gonzalez, an 11-year veteran and the outlier of sorts as an Aug. 31 trade acquisition from the Nats.

This is why they like their chances against the Braves or Dodgers — both of whom have shown late-innings vulnerability on the mound.

The Brewers played perhaps their oddest series of the season against the Dodgers in L.A. two months ago, winning one game, 1-0, on a seven-shutout-inning performance by Wade Miley, and losing another, 21-5, in a game Clayton Kershaw delivered six solid innings. For the season, Milwaukee went 3-4 against the reigning NL champs. Against the Braves, the Brewers went 4-3 and outscored them, 35-34, despite a 10-1 loss on Aug. 10. They won three in a four-game series against Atlanta at Miller Park in early July.

From a bullpen matchup, Los Angeles relievers have been credited with 10 losses in 49 games since All-Star closer Kenley Jansen was placed on the disabled list with an irregular heartbeat in August, and Jansen himself has struggled since returning, posting a 5.40 ERA and giving up seven homers in 19 outings. The Braves are largely riding on youth and inexperience, particularly at the postseason level, with a nucleus of Arodys Vizcaino, A.J. Minter, Brad Brach and Touki Toussaint among others.

In an era where bullpens are the catalyst or focal part for championship clubs, the Brewers believe they have the best one left standing in the National League.

Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.


Milwaukee Brewers,
Josh Hader

Voting un Dalton Pompey Blue Jays Jersey derway for Hank Aaron Awards

Hank Aaron is still widely revered as one of the game’s all-time great hitters, a first-ballot Hall of Famer whose career statistics still rank among history’s best. Aaron, who still has a presence in today’s game as a senior vice president in the Braves’ front office, is best remembered for breaking Babe Ruth’s career home run record, and his 755 total ranked first when he retired in 1976. Yet for all his power, Aaron was perhaps just as effective as a contact hitter, as his 3,771 hits (third all time) would attest.

VOTE NOW: Cast your ballot for the Hank Aaron Award

Hank Aaron is still widely revered as one of the game’s all-time great hitters, a first-ballot Hall of Famer whose career statistics still rank among history’s best. Aaron, who still has a presence in today’s game as a senior vice president in the Braves’ front office, is best remembered for breaking Babe Ruth’s career home run record, and his 755 total ranked first when he retired in 1976. Yet for all his power, Aaron was perhaps just as effective as a contact hitter, as his 3,771 hits (third all time) would attest.

VOTE NOW: Cast your ballot for the Hank Aaron Award

Today, the awards bestowed to each league’s best overall hitter bears Aaron’s name.

Voting is underway through Oct. 8 at MLB.com and the 30 club sites, where fans can help choose the winners Devon Travis Blue Jays Jersey . The annual award was introduced in 1999 to honor the 25th anniversary of Aaron breaking Ruth’s all-time home run record. At that time, it was the first major award introduced by MLB in more than 25 years.

Here is each club’s nominee for 2018, broken down by each division.

AL EAST
Blue Jays: Justin Smoak
Orioles: Adam Jones
Rays: Joey Wendle
Red Sox: J.D. Martinez
Yankees: Giancarlo Stanton

AL CENTRAL
Indians: Jose Ramirez
Royals: Whit Merrifield
Tigers: Nicholas Castellanos
Twins: Eddie Rosario
White Sox: Jose Abreu

AL WEST
Angels: Mike Trout
Astros: Alex Bregman
Athletics: Khris Davis
Mariners: Mitch Haniger
Rangers: Joey Gallo

Video: Manfred presents Bryant, Ortiz with Hank Aaron Award

NL EAST
Braves: Freddie Freeman
Marlins: J.T. Realmuto
Mets: Michael Conforto
Nationals: Anthony Rendon
Phillies: Rhys Hoskins

NL CENTRAL
Brewers: Christian Yelich
Cardinals: Matt Carpenter
Cubs: Javier Baez
Pirates: Gregory Polanco
Reds: Scooter Gennett

NL WEST
D-backs: Paul Goldschmidt
Dodgers: Max Muncy
Giants: Evan Longoria
Padres: Franmil Reyes
Rockies: Trevor Story

Video: WS2015 Gm4: Donaldson, Harper win Hank Aaron Awards

“I am honored to have my name on the award given by Major League Baseball to the top offensive performers in the game,” Aaron said in the past.

This marks the ninth straight year that fans’ voices and votes will be included in the selection process. A special panel of Hall of Fame players, who have been personally selected by Aaron to lend their expertise — Roberto Alomar, Johnny Bench, Craig Biggio, Ken Griffey Jr., Eddie Murray and Robin Yount — will also vote for the awards along with Aaron himself.

Th Dalton Pompey Jersey is year’s field features an array of new faces — Goldschmidt, Stanton and Trout are the only former Aaron Award winners amongst this year’s finalists — including some of this year’s true breakout stars, such as Story, Muncy and Bregman. Thirteen finalists were named All-Stars this year, and the group also features 22 players under the age of 30, with seven aged 25 or younger. 

History has typically favored the sluggers, and in today’s era, where the long ball is as prevalent as it ever has been, fans could opt for nominees in that mold. It’s worth noting that the reigning American League winner, Jose Altuve, was one of seven batting champions to win the Aaron Award in the same year.  

Here are the previous Aaron Award winners:

2017: Jose Altuve and Giancarlo Stanton
2016: Kris Bryant and David Ortiz
2015: Josh Donaldson and Bryce Harper
2014: Stanton and Trout
2013: Miguel Cabrera and Goldschmidt
2012: Cabrera and Buster Posey
2011: Jose Bautista and Matt Kemp
2010: Bautista and Joey Votto
2009: Derek Jeter and Albert Pujols
2008: Aramis Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis
2007: Alex Rodriguez and Prince Fielder
2006: Jeter and Ryan Howard
2005: Ortiz and Andruw Jones
2004: Manny Ramirez and Barry Bonds
2003: Rodriguez and Pujols
2002: Rodriguez and Bonds
2001 Dalton Pompey Blue Jays Jersey : Rodriguez and Bonds
2000: Carlos Delgado and Todd Helton
1999: Manny Ramirez and Sammy Sosa

The Aaron Awards, which are officially sanctioned by Major League Baseball, will be presented by Aaron and Commissioner Rob Manfred during the 2018 World Series.  

Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.

Brewers sweep NLDS, advance Dalton Pompey Blue Jays Jersey to NLCS

DENVER — The Brewers are riding an 11-game winning streak to the National League Championship Series.

And just like it’s supposed to be when the air turns crisp, pitching is paving the way.

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DENVER — The Brewers are riding an 11-game winning streak to the National League Championship Series.

And just like it’s supposed to be when the air turns crisp, pitching is paving the way.

View Full Game Coverage

A 6-0 win over the Rockies in Game 3 of the NL Division Series on Sunday at Coors Field gave the Brewers back-to-back shutouts and finished the first postseason series sweep in franchise history. Up next: The Dodgers or Braves beginning with Game 1 on Friday at Miller Park.

Tweet from @MLBStatoftheDay: The @Brewers are riding an 11-game winning streak into the #NLCS.Talk a Dalton Pompey Blue Jays Jersey bout getting hot at the perfect time. pic.twitter.com/HUm9UVJioI

“We’re not going to the NLCS to lose,” said Ryan Braun, the only remaining player from the last Brewers team to make it that far in 2011. “Nobody picked us to win the division. Nobody expected us to get to the NLCS. I’m sure when we get there, nobody will pick us to win.

:: NLDS schedule and results ::

“But we believe in each other, and we really are playing our best baseball when it matters most. We’re excited about having home-field advantage because obviously it’s a big deal.”

Braun was right about the division, but he might be surprised when NLCS predictions start trickling in. Sweeping away the Rockies in three games means manager Craig Counsell will enter the next round with a well-rested pitching staff at the top of its game. Brewers pitchers held the Rockies scoreless in 27 of 28 innings in the NLDS, including 12 2/3 scoreless frames from their starters — er, “initial out-getters” — capped by lefty Wade Miley‘s 4 2/3 innings in Game 3.

Crew’s rebuild complete at rapid pace

Miley was followed by Corey Knebel, Joakim Soria, Corbin Burnes (two innings), Jeremy Jeffress and Josh Hader in a second straight shutout. This one was a four-hitter.

It marked the first time in Rockies history that they were shut out in consecutive games with at least one of those contests played at Coors Field. They were only shut out here twice in the regular season: April 8 against the Braves and May 9 against the Angels.

Video: Brewers pitching shuts down Rockies in NLDS sweep

“Woody started it off with three hitless innings,” said Miley, referring to Brandon Woodruff‘s surprise start in Game 1, “and that kind of set the tempo for everybody.”

A record-setting tempo. The Brewers set an NLDS mark by holding the Rockies to two runs.

“Right now,” said pitching coach Derek Johnson, “I think we’re pitching as well as we possibly can.”

Video: MIL@COL Gm3: Brewers on the team’s pitching in NLDS

Added Lorenzo Cain: “They get better and better. When I signed to come here, that’s what I wanted to do — enjoy this feeling. We’re not done yet.”

Jesus Aguilar homered with the bases empty in the fourth inning for his first postseason hit after an 0-for-7 start, and Orlando Arcia and Keon Broxton added insurance with back-to-back home runs off Wade Davis leading off the ninth while officials readied the visitors’ clubhouse for Milwaukee’s third champagne celebration in 12 days.

Aguilar goes deep as Crew bats find rhythm

Video: MIL@COL Gm3: Aguilar drills solo HR to left field

The Brewers also got some help along the way, doubling their lead from 2-0 to 4-0 in the sixth on a run-scoring balk and a run-scoring wild pitch from Rockies reliever Scott Oberg.

Braun, Erik Kratz and Travis Shaw all logged multiple hits as the Brewers outhit the Rockies, 12-4, led by three more knocks for 38-year-old catcher Kratz. He was 5-for-8 in a pair of starts in his first career postseason series.

“You get all your celebrations in, because you never know if you’re going to get another one,” said Kratz, who found himself surrounded by teammates chanting M-V-P. “Just like you never know if you’re going to get another day in this game. That’s the best way to play. I’ve been very fortunate to be on this team where everybody plays that way.”

Video: MIL@COL Gm3: Kratz goes 3-for-4 in Brewers’ 6-0 win

The Brewers are in the LCS round for the third time in 50 seasons as a franchise.  Dalton Pompey Jersey They beat the Angels in a best-of-five American League Championship Series in 1982, and fell to the Cardinals in six games in the 2011 NLCS.

By the time they take the field Friday night, the Brewers will have gone 19 days without losing a baseball game.

“Two more [series] to go,” said Aguilar. “I think we’re going to get there. I believe it. I really believe it. We have a great team, man.”

Video: MIL@COL Gm3: Brewers hit 3 HRs and shut out Rockies

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
First strike: The Brewers entered the day 76-28 when they score first, including Games 1 and 2 at Miller Park, so it was big to put together a little small ball in the first inning for the game’s first run. Christian Yelich, who had only two NLDS hits but posted a 1.196 OPS in the three games, started things by working an eight-pitch walk with one out against Rockies starter German Marquez. He moved to third when Braun punched a single through the right side of the infield and scored on Shaw’s fielder’s choice.

Video: MIL@COL Gm3: Shaw plates Yelich on fielder’s choice

“It’s huge,” said Miley. “The pressure is on them to start the game, and when we took the 1-0 lead, it was [on them] even more. I was trying to get us back in the dugout as quick as possible and turn it over to the bullpen, and they did the rest.”

Crew’s arms set tone in unconventional roles

How was Miley’s heartbeat going into the game?

“Not near as bad as I thought it would be,” he said. “These past three weeks, we’ve played every game like it’s Game 7 of the World Series. I guess it kind of prepared me for this day. It’s something you dream about as a little kid, and I was able to go out there and live it.”

Video: MIL@COL Gm3: Miley hurls 4 2/3 scoreless frames

Game-breakers: Davis is one of baseball’s best closers, but the Brewers have given him all kinds of trouble in the past 13 months, beginning with homers for Arcia and Shaw in an extra-inning win over Davis when he was with the Cubs at Miller Park last September, and continuing Sunday when Arcia and Broxton hammered long home runs to break the game open in the ninth. The home run was Arcia’s first since Aug. 8. Broxton’s came in only his second at-bat of the series.

Video: MIL@COL Gm3: Arcia crushes a solo homer to left

“I can’t even describe it,” Broxton said. “It’s one of the greatest feelings I’ve ever felt. It’s always what I dreamed of. I’m just glad I was put in a position to do it. It was a bomb. It was clutch to add on after Arcia did.”

Video: MIL@COL Gm3: Broxton mashes 106.4-mph, 429-ft. homer

SOUND SMART
Only once before in franchise history have the Brewers won 11 straight games in a season — 1987, when Robin Yount, Paul Molitor and “Team Streak” set an AL record by beginning the season 13-0. The Pirates had an 11-game winning streak this season, but the only one longer in 2018 belonged to the Houston Astros, who won 12 straight games from June 6-18.

Brewers ride dominant relief corps to NLCS

“It’s nearly impossible,” said Braun, “and each of those 11 wins, we approached as a must-win. It’s incredibly difficult to do that day after day, night after night, on the road, at home, against great pitchers. It’s been an incredibly difficult thing to do, but it’s been fun, man. We’re enjoying it.”

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Oberg’s run-scoring balk and run-scoring wild pitch came in quick succession as the sixth inning spun out of control for Colorado. Kratz’s double gave the Brewers runners at second and third with one out, but Oberg struck out Arcia to give himself an escape route. With Curtis Granderson up to pinch-hit, Oberg dropped the baseball while on the rubber, resulting in a balk that brought Mike Moustakas home for a 3-0 Brewers lead. With the count at 0-2, Oberg threw a wild pitch, and though catcher Tony Wolters retrieved it quickly, Kratz slid home safely with Milwaukee’s fourth run.

Video: Must C Clips: Brewers extend lead on balk, wild pitch

“I credit [third-base coach] Eddie [Sedar] for that,” said Kratz. “He prepared me for that. With two strikes, they moved [third baseman Nolan] Arenado off the line, and that gave me more of a lead — which I need. A few steps. Eddie said, ‘Hey, he’s off the line, if it goes outside the circle, you’re in.’ And [it was the] next pitch.

Oberg’s balk, wild pitch lead to 2 Brewers runs

“It’s like I’ve said before — you prepare for the moment. Eddie prepared me for the moment.”

That inning gave the Brewers a 4-0 lead. Does a victory feel close at that point?

“It does. There was a moment where I thought about that,” said Kratz. “Then I had to realize we have to come back and [make] one pitch at a time. That’s boring. I don’t get to enjoy it. … On the bench, I’m sure they were enjoying it.”

HE SAID IT
“This club is very capable. Absolutely. I think that’s the bottom line — and to do it the way they’ve done it, and do it on enemy ground … you know this club is good and solid in what they’re doing.” — Bob Uecker

Uecker celebrates with Brewers again after NLDS sweep

Video: MIL@COL Gm3: Uecker on the Brewers advancing to NLCS

“Two celebrations to go! We accomplished this by everybody playing to the best of their abilities. Everybody here is doing their job the best that they possibly can, and that’s why we’re winning baseball games. Nothing’s going to change. The lights will get brighter. It’s going to be more fun than we’ve had to this point. We’re going to keep doing the same [stuff].” — Braun, in his postgame speech to the team

Video: MIL@COL Gm3: Braun gives passionate speech after NLDS

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The Brewers know they will host Game 1 of the NLCS on Friday at Miller Park, but they don’t yet know the opponent. Devon Travis Jersey  It will be either the Dodgers or the Braves, who won Sunday to stay alive in the other NLDS. The Dodgers lead that series, 2-1, with Game 4 scheduled for Monday night. The Brewers were 3-4 against L.A. during the regular season and 4-3 against Atlanta.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.


Milwaukee Brewers,
Jesus Aguilar,
Orlando Arcia,
Ryan Braun,
Keon Broxton,
Josh Hader,
Corey Knebel,
Erik Kratz,
Wade Miley

Lorenzo Cain, Christian Yelic Dalton Pompey Blue Jays Jersey h lead Brewers

MILWAUKEE — Brewers catcher Erik Kratz was reminded the other day of a text-message exchange he had with a friend back on Jan. 25. Kratz was in the Yankees’ system at the time, but he is also a big baseball fan, so the friend thought he’d be interested to hear that Milwaukee had traded for Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich.

Kratz revisited the exchange this week and got a chuckle.

MILWAUKEE — Brewers catcher Erik Kratz was reminded the other day of a text-message exchange he had with a friend back on Jan. 25. Kratz was in the Yankees’ system at the time, but he is also a big baseball fan, so the friend thought he’d be interested to hear that Milwaukee had traded for Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich.

Kratz revisited the exchange this week and got a chuckle.

:: NLDS schedule and results ::

“Why do you think they would do that?” the friend wrote. “They have a lot of good outfielders.”

Kratz responded that he liked the trade. He was a huge fan of Yelich, whom he believed would continue to grow into his lanky frame.

Then came more news to discuss. Right after the Yelich trade was announced, word spread that the Brewers had added another outfielder, Lorenzo Cain, via a five-year, $80 million free-agent contract.

What would Milwaukee do with all of those outfielders?

“I don’t know,” said Kratz. “But it worked out, because we’re here.”

—–

The Brewers were on the eve of hosting the Rockies in today’s Game 1 of the National League Division Series for a list of reasons that begins just like manager Craig Counsell’s lineups: With Cain and Yelich.

Cain, 32, is certain to appear on ballots for the National League Most Valuable Player Award courtesy of advanced metrics that value his on-base skill, fantastic defense and plus baserunning, which added up to 5.7 Wins Above Replacement by the Fangraphs measure, which put him in a tie for third in the NL with league home run king Nolan Arenado of the Rockies.

Brewers-Rockies: Lineups, matchups, FAQs

Yelich, 26, is the frontrunner for the NL MVP Award after winning the first batting title in Brewers history with a .326 average, tying for third with 36 home runs and ranking second with 110 RBIs. He led the league with 7.6 fWAR after leading qualifying players in MLB after the All-Star break with a .770 slugging percentage — a remarkable 145 points better than second-half runner-up Ronald Acuna of the Braves.

“It’s rare when you’re able to make two impact acquisitions in such a confined time period,” Brewers general manager David Stearns said. “We were very fortunate we were able to pull both of those off. Both of them could have fallen apart at stages of those negotiations, but we were able to pull through it.”

Video: Christian Yelich named NL Player of the Month

Did either of those deals actually come close to falling apart?

“Yes,” Stearns said. “I’m not going to go into specifics, but in any negotiation of that complexity, you always feel like there is a point you either don’t feel like you’re going to make the signing or make the deal. And then both sides regroup, and you’re able to push through and you get it done.”

Why both? A number of reasons, according to Stearns, including the way their bat-to-ball skills could help add toughness to an offense that had set MLB’s all-time team strikeout record the past two years in a row, the way their defense could impact a pitching staff not exactly stocked with aces, and that the Brewers could control both players for five seasons.

That was the idea: Run scoring and run prevention, wrapped up in two players.

Video: PIT@MIL: Cain runs 108-ft. to rob Mercer of a homer

The hard part was getting both of them.

“We were on a path to sign Lorenzo Cain, which was a typical free-agent process. And there were fits and starts in the attempts to trade for Christian Yelich,” Brewers owner Mark Attanasio said. “Maybe 48 hours before, it looked like they were going to converge.

“I said to David, ‘If you get one, do you really need to get both?’ And his answer, which was immediate, was, ‘If I can get one, it just makes me want to get the other one even more.'”

Attanasio thought about that for a moment.

“What I liked about it was it was really out-of-the-box thinking,” Attanasio said. “He really got criticized. ‘Brewers have 10 outfielders.’ Then when he got Mike Moustakas, it was, ‘Brewers have three third basemen.’ But we are in the position we are in because of some of this creative thinking.”

Even Stearns was surprised that the deals came together on the same day.

Tweet from @AdamMcCalvy: Cain and Yelich. Yelich and Cain. (And Eddie.) pic.twitter.com/2NIlh723V5

The players themselves were surprised, too.

“When I got the call telling me I got traded over, they said, ‘Stay tuned, we might have some more exciting news coming later today,” Yelich said. “I didn’t know what it was, and when you get traded, it’s a little bit hectic and crazy afterwards. But I saw that Lo ended up signing over here, and I was really excited.”

Yelich respects Cain’s postseason pedigree, which included back-to-back World Series appearances with the Royals in 2014-15, including a championship that second year. Teammates talk glowingly of Cain’s quiet leadership and his ability to walk around the clubhouse like every ligament in his body aches, then turn into one of the game’s most athletic center fielders the moment the bat hits the ball. Counsell compared it one day this season to ambling Cardinals outfielder Willie McGee.

Video: Cain on his postseason experience, team’s resilience

Cain, in turn, said he learned about Yelich’s ability on the very first day of Spring Training. Players can tell these things around the batting cage.

“I didn’t really know much about him, being in the American League for so long,” Cain said. “But just watching his swing, how consistent it was, driving the ball to all fields, long and lengthy, he has power to all fields.

“Like I say, day in and day out, I get a chance to watch it, and it’s definitely impressive. He shows up every day, and you guys have seen it all year long. He’s been dominant out there.”

Tweet from @Brewers: 1st press conference & workout of the postseason ��� #OurCrewOurOctober pic.twitter.com/ESzC5beGek

Naturally, both played significant roles in the win that kept them home to start this series. Yelich had three hits and an RBI in Monday’s NL Central tiebreaker game at Wrigley Field. Cain, after grounding out and flying out in his first two at-bats with runners in scoring position, hit a tiebreaking RBI single in Milwaukee’s two-run eighth inning.

Yelich said they were just trying to fit in.

“They had a great team last year. They fell one game short of the playoffs, and I think you’re just trying to add to what they already had,” he said. “You’re not coming over trying to be anything more than, in my case, the guy they traded for. Some good advice that I got from some guys that I played with along the way: They said be the same guy, do what you do, don’t try to do anything more or anything else. That was the goal from Spring Training.

“The group that we have in there was so welcoming, and it made the adjustment so much easier coming along. The first couple days of Spring Training you felt like you were a part of the team, a part of the family. And we’ve kind of just rolled since then.”

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy an Dalton Pompey Jersey d like him on Facebook.


Milwaukee Brewers,
Lorenzo Cain,
Christian Yelich

Brewers’ r Dalton Pompey Blue Jays Jersey ebuild has been a quick success

MILWAUKEE — By Friday, when Brewers general manager David Stearns celebrates the three-year anniversary of his first official day on the job, his team will already have its first 2018 postseason game in the books.

That’s a remarkable thing, relative to other recent rebuilds in Major League Baseball.

MILWAUKEE — By Friday, when Brewers general manager David Stearns celebrates the three-year anniversary of his first official day on the job, his team will already have its first 2018 postseason game in the books.

That’s a remarkable thing, relative to other recent rebuilds in Major League Baseball.

The Royals, Cubs and Astros all endured long stretches of losing baseball before winning the last three World Series. The Brewers are trying to reach the same zenith much quicker.

:: NLDS schedule and results ::

“I’m proud of where the organization is,” said Stearns, whose club hosts Game 1 of the National League Division Series on Thursday at Miller Park. “And I can say now, three years later, that I really didn’t have a timeline for when we would get to the point of consistent competitiveness.”

How did the Brewers get from rebuilding to the best record in the NL in such a short time? Perhaps by not focusing so much on a timetable.

Both Stearns and owner Mark Attanasio doggedly refused to use the word “rebuilding” throughout a process that began early in 2015. That’s the year the club replaced manager Ron Roenicke with Craig Counsell — who’d been with the organization as a player, special assistant to the GM and part-time color analyst — and when Attanasio hired Stearns to be baseball’s youngest GM at age 30. Stearns took over for Doug Melvin, who decided to step down after serving as GM since the end of the ’02 season.

Melvin had begun the rebuild, trading away established players for prospects — including one fortuitous blockbuster with the Houston Astros, whose assistant GM at the time was the up-and-coming Stearns. After the Mets had blocked one deal, Melvin made another with the Astros, acquiring pitchers Josh Hader and Adrian Houser and outfielders Brett Phillips and Domingo Santana. Rare is the deal in which every prospect pans out, but this was one of them. In other trades that summer, Melvin picked up Minor Leaguers Zach Davies and Corey Knebel.

Video: MIL@CHC: Hader gets save in NL Central tiebreaker

Stearns inherited that foundation when he was hired in September. And rather than clean house and install his own baseball operations team, he retained almost everyone, including Counsell as manager and Melvin and assistant GM Gord Ash in special assistant roles. Vice president of player personnel Karl Mueller, special assignment scout Scott Campbell, director of baseball operations Matt Kleine and manager of advance scouting Brian Powalish may not be known to some of the fans who fill Miller Park each night, but all play pivotal role Dalton Pompey Blue Jays Jersey s in the product on the field, and all preceded Stearns in the organization. Stearns promoted Tom Flanagan and Eduardo Brizuela in player development and Tod Johnson to amateur scouting director, and retained Ray Montgomery, Zack Minasian and Marv Thompson in high-level scouting posts.

The point is that Stearns kept a lot of people. Not in an effort to speed along the process — Dalton Pompey Jersey  remember “acquire, develop, retain”? – Devon Travis Blue Jays Jersey – but because they were good people.

And Stearns augmented the group with others, starting with hiring Matt Arnold of the analytically savvy Rays to be assistant GM.

“I was so consumed with just trying to make as many fundamentally right decisions at the front end — from how we were going to structure the front office, how we wanted to structure the coaching staff, what kind of culture we wanted to instill throughout the organization and what kind of people we wanted to attract — that a timeframe was the furthest thing from my mind,” Stearns said. “And it never once came up in an interview with Mark or anyone in the ownership group. No one ever asked me what I thought an appropriate timeframe was.”

The Brewers were just finishing a 68-94 season then. They went 73-89 in 2016, then improved to 86-76 in ’17 and missed the postseason by one game. This year, they used Game 163 to equal the franchise record with 96 regular-season wins, finishing with the fourth-best record in MLB.

Last week, when the Brewers clinched a spot in the postseason by completing a sweep of the Cardinals, Attanasio revisited memories of those early meetings.

Video: MIL@STL: Stearns on Brewers return to postseason

“Forget about first having hired him, even interviewing him — this was the kind of thing we talked about. ‘How do we get from where we were, which at that point was pretty low, to today?'” Attanasio said. “We never talked about timeline; we talked about process and methodology.”

Stearns put that methodology to work in acquiring the rest of the pieces that helped lead the franchise to its third division title in 50 seasons of play. It was a mix of waiver claims (Jesus Aguilar), free-agent signings (Jhoulys Chacin, Lorenzo Cain) and trades (Mike Moustakas, Jonathan Schoop, Joakim Soria, Xavier Cedeno, Curtis Granderson and Gio Gonzalez since the end of July alone).

Of course, Stearns’ most notable acquisitions were Cain and Christian Yelich. The Yelich deal is particularly emblematic of strong franchise-building, since it took a combination of moves to pull off. Stearns picked up Lewis Brinson and Isan Diaz in other deals and flipped them to Miami with homegrown Draft picks Monte Harrison and Jordan Yamamoto.

Video: Yelich’s surge gives him MVP credentials

“It was quite an accomplishment to achieve this, in whatever timeline,” Attanasio said. “We had two losing seasons and that was it. That’s pretty incredible.”

It took a lot of work. Stearns reckons he’s had one true day off, with no calls, texts or emails: His wedding day in January 2017, complete with a very famous cake.

Now Stearns and wife Whitney are expecting their first child in the coming weeks.

“It’s flown by, it really has,” Stearns said. “Maybe after the season is over, I’ll take some time and think back to what we’ve been through the past three years and some of the things we’ve done. At this point, you’re so in the day-to-day grind, consumed with the daily responsibilities of the job, that you don’t get a chance to think about it. But it has flown by.”

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.


Milwaukee Brewers

Brewers embrace emotio Dalton Pompey Blue Jays Jersey n, fun in baseball

MILWAUKEE — Rewrite the rules? For sure. Show emotion? Absolutely. Celebrate the moment? Go for it.

What’s wrong with letting the world know how much you love baseball? And how much you care about your teammates? And that you enjoy winning? Yes, especially that last one.

MILWAUKEE — Rewrite the rules? For sure. Show emotion? Absolutely. Celebrate the moment? Go for it.

What’s wrong with letting the world know how much you love baseball? And how much you care about your teammates? And that you enjoy winning? Yes, especially that last one.

:: NLDS schedule and results ::

“You know, the way the game is structured has squashed that for a long time,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.

And that’s too bad.

And that was then.

Baseball is embracing another way, officially. That’s the message Major League Baseball announced this week with the release of an ad campaign entitled simply, “Rewrite the rules.”

No team is having more fun — openly and splendidly — than these Brewers, who begin an National League Division Series against the Rockies on Thursday at Miller Park.

To sum up: Celebrations are good. So is joy.

Bat flips? Go for it, fellas.

At the end of the MLB spot, Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. looks at the camera and says: “No more talk. Let the kids play.”

Indeed.

Tweet from @MLB: Rewrite the rules. #postseason pic.twitter.com/bPGdECFVbi

To watch the Brewers play is to understand all of it, from the moment injured pitcher Brent Suter begins his pregame chant to the high fives and bear hugs and dugout celebrations and postgame rituals.

“I’m glad it’s being embraced,” outfielder Christian Yelich said. “You’re not trying to show anybody up, but it’s just what it brings out of you, the atmosphere brings that out of you, and it’s a lot of fun to be a part of.”

 Dalton Pompey Jersey Tweet from @Brewers: #NowWeGo!It���s time to #PlayBall in the series finale of Brewers vs. Cubs.#ThisIsM Dalton Pompey Blue Jays Jersey yCrew pic.twitter.com/d0LaaGvSry

Third baseman Travis Shaw remembered what Counsell told his players on the first day of Spring Training: Stay connected with one another. He told them he wanted them to play aggressively, to embrace the challenges and to find joy in the journey.

“We’re a really close-knit group, and I think that’s part of the reason for our success,” Shaw said. “Guys have a lot of fun. Even in the lowest of lows, nothing ever changed. We kept it loose, and that’s the key.”

For Milwaukee, that means first baseman Jesus Aguilar occasionally smiling into dugout cameras. At times, the dugout scene is more like a street party, and that’s OK, too.

Video: DET@MIL: Aguilar crushes a solo home run in the 4th

That’s part of the appeal of this team. Suter was reminded of that recently when he heard fans in the bleachers doing his pregame beat.

When the Brewers clinched a postseason berth in St. Louis, Counsell summoned him to the center of the clubhouse to do his thing.

Think of rap lyrics that are basically:

“When I say Lo, you say Cain!

“Lo! Cain!

“Lo! Cain!”

Tweet from @Brewers: ���When I say Lo, you say Cain!���Welp. Looks like we���re ready to #PlayBall! pic.twitter.com/gHqdWefDsc

Suter has a similar version for Yelich’s candidacy for the NL Most Valuable Player Award. Speaking of Lo Cain, how is he with all of this?

“I didn’t know what to think actually,” Brewers center fielder Lorenzo Cain said. “He has a lot of energy, brings a lot of energy to the team. It’s a lot of fun. He always finds different ideas to loosen the clubhouse and just make it a lot of fun on the field. He’s definitely nice to have on the team, for sure.”

So is Aguilar, a big man with a big personality who is unafraid to show how much fun he’s having.

“I just try to bring a positive vibe to the team,” Aguilar said. “In this game, guys have a lot of pressure already. Enjoying the game the right way is important.

“It’s love. We’re like a family here. I think that’s why we’re here [in the postseason].”

Counsell played under a dramatically different set of unwritten rules during his 16 seasons in the Major Leagues: Keep your head down. Show little emotion. He has come around to another way.

“It’s been a really important part of the culture of this team for sure, that the emotional part of it comes out,” he said.

Tweet from @Brewers: Series finale coming right up! Time to #PlayBall! pic.twitter.com/6Tesuig1US

He understands why showing emotion was frowned upon. Seasons are long. Staying the course is important. His guys prefer to do it another way.

“I’ve found that it works for these guys,” Counsell said. “It works for our guys, and they need it. So, you let the fun happen, and you enjoy it. It’s not always things I’m comfortable doing, but I don’t have to be comfortable doing it. The Devon Travis Blue Jays Jersey y’re the ones that got to perform, and I want them to be at their best to perform.”

Or as Yelich said: “I don’t think it’s any extra effort to show emotion. I think it comes natural. I think the games and the intensity and the situations bring it out of you.”

And that’s a good thing.

Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.


Milwaukee Brewers,
Colorado Rockies

Dalton Pompey Blue Jays Jersey Bullpens key for Brewers-Rockies in NLDS

MILWAUKEE — With an eye toward how teams across Major League Baseball spent 2018 experimenting with openers, and the way relievers spent the last few postseasons elbowing themselves more and more onto the big stage, this October, and which team survives it, figure to rest as heavily in the hands of relief pitching as perhaps any other.

That was true before the Brewers decided to open the National League Division Series with a bullpen game, Milwaukee opting to tackle Game 1 in the same way the A’s did the American League Wild Card Game. Manager Craig Counsell’s announcement on Wednesday shocked few in the Brewers or Rockies clubhouses, given how both sides paved their roads to the playoffs on the backs of vaunted bullpens.

View Full Game Coverage

MILWAUKEE — With an eye toward how teams across Major League Baseball spent 2018 experimenting with openers, and the way relievers spent the last few postseasons elbowing themselves more and more onto the big stage, this October, and which team survives it, figure to rest as heavily in the hands of relief pitching as perhaps any other.

That was true before the Brewers decided to open the National League Division Series with a bullpen game, Milwaukee opting to tackle Game 1 in the same way the A’s did the American League Wild Card Game. Manager Craig Counsell’s announcement on Wednesday shocked few in the Brewers or Rockies clubhouses, given how both sides paved their roads to the playoffs o Dalton Pompey Blue Jays Jersey n the backs of vaunted bullpens.

View Full Game Coverage

Right-hander Brandon Woodruff will open for the Brewers. He made 17 starts in Triple-A and four in the Majors this season, but was at his best late in the season out of the bullpen, compiling a 0.73 ERA and 11.7 strikeouts per nine innings in September.

Video: COL@MIL Gm1: Black on Brewers using bullpen in Game 1

“Nowadays in the current game, the bullpen plays a huge part of successful postseasons,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “It’s imperative that bullpen success in playoffs happen for W’s. I mean, that’s just the way it is. It’s going to hinge on that for both teams. It’s going to hinge on that, I believe, in every series that’s played.”

:: NLDS schedule and results ::

In that sense, the NLDS is set to be a showcase. No postseason team asked its starters for fewer innings this season than the Brewers, who enter their first postseason since 2011 with Josh Hader and Jeremy Jeffress leading the NL’s deepest relief corps. With Adam Ottavino, Wade Davis and Scott Oberg carrying the load, Rockies relievers posted a 3.27 ERA in September. That ranked fourth among NL clubs over the season’s final month. Milwaukee’s 2.70 mark ranked f Devon Travis Blue Jays Jersey irst.

“We want to get a lead, get to the sixth inning or the fifth inning, then turn it over to those guys,” Brewers infielder Mike Moustakas said. “If we can get a lead and turn it over to that bullpen, we’re extremely confident we can win that game. That’s how baseball is played nowadays. Most teams have good bullpens, for the most part, but ours is unbelievable.”

Moustakas has seen the modern template work to perfection, his Royals practically inventing it on their way to two AL pennants (and the 2015 World Series title) earlier this decade. Those teams closed games formulaically, with Kelvin Herrera, Greg Holland and Davis forming dominant bridges to the 27th out. The model has since expanded.

Davis is now the Rockies’ closer, and Black will call on Ottavino (who struck out more batters than any NL reliever besides Hader) to extinguish threats in nearly any late-inning situation in front of him. Though Jeffress mostly closed down the stretch, Counsell won’t hesitate to deploy him, Hader or Corey Knebel in high-leverage situations regardless of inning, like the Indians did with Andrew Miller to great success in 2016.

Video: NL WC: Ottavino works into trouble, gets K to end jam

The re-emergence of Knebel, a 2017 All-Star who was briefly demoted in August, provides Counsell even more flexibility. The right-hander earned NL Reliever of the Month honors by holding opponents scoreless over 16 appearances in September, striking out 33 across 16 1/3 innings. Jeffress, who led all NL relievers with a 1.29 ERA and 92 percent strand rate, logged 10 scoreless appearances last month. Hitters went 8-for-94 (.085 average) against Jeffress and Knebel combined. Hader led all NL relievers with 143 strikeouts in 81 1/3 innings.

“The depth of the roster is one of our true strengths this year, and that’s something that we’re going to lean on the whole way through here,” Counsell said. “We’ve got to take advantage of what our players are good at and what their strengths are and how collectively we are strong.”

How much these strategies have shifts is not lost on Black, Counsell or veterans in either clubhouse. Black noted that when he won the 1985 World Series as a pitcher with the Royals, Bret Saberhagen threw two complete games. When Craig Counsell won the 2001 World Series, his D-backs did so behind historic performances from starters Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling.

“That’s a stark comparison what we see now, with bullpen games,” said Brewers catcher Erik Kratz. “But nothing has really changed, just the personnel. There were people back in the day who scoffed at relievers in general. All you’re trying to do is put the best pitchers out there.”

Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.


Milwaukee Brewers,
Colorado Rockies,
Wade Davis,
Josh Hader,
Jeremy Jeffress,
Adam Ottavino

Brewers-Rockies N Dalton Pompey Blue Jays Jersey LDS positional breakdown

The Rockies and Brewers have one thing in common, which is to say that they each stormed into Wrigley Field in a one-game playoff situation and vanquished the mighty Cubs.

Their reward? One another, in the National League Division Series beginning today at Miller Park. While the Brewers won five of seven games between the two this year, none of that really matters now. Those games were months ago. The rosters are different. The stakes are different — and the Brewers may have baseball’s hottest player.

The Rockies and Brewers have one thing in common, which is to say that they each stormed into Wrigley Field in a one-game playoff situation and vanquished the mighty Cubs.

Their reward? One another, in the National League Division Series beginning today at Miller Park. While the Brewers won five of seven games between the two this year, none of that really matters now. Those games were months ago. The rosters are different. The stakes are different — and the Brewers may have baseball’s hottest player.

:: NLDS schedule and results ::

Remember, though: These aren’t your older sibling’s Rockies, the baseball-mashing sluggers who could never find another arm. This group can really pitch. Their offense isn’t threatening. It’s not what you expect. It’s what they have. Will it be enough to topple the Brewers? Let’s break it down, position by position.

Catcher

We start with a position that’s not terribly strong for either side, as both the Rockies and Brewers were in the bottom 10 in the Majors in catching value. Interestingly, Milwaukee has actually been going with 38-year-old Erik Kratz, who has a career line of just .211/.258/.363, though he does rate highly in framing metrics. Of course, Colorado has a strong framer themselves in Tony Wolters, and starter Chris Iannetta (.224/.345/.385) is closer to a league average hitter than Kratz is.

Small advantage: Rockies

First Base

Jesus Aguilar had a breakout season for Milwaukee, hitting .274/.352/.539 with 35 homers, and what was most impressive was his lack of meaningful platoon splits. (He slugged .550 against lefties, and .535 against righties, though with a lower on-base percentage.) Ian Desmond hit just .236/.307/.422 along with baseball’s highest ground ball rate and has been worth -1.5 Wins Above Replacement in his two years with Colorado. Consider this an enormous edge for Milwaukee.

Huge advantage: Brewers

Video: DET@MIL: Aguilar crushes a solo home run in the 4th

Second Base 

Travis Shaw had never even played second base before July 28; while he’s handled himself adequately there, it’s clear that DJ LeMahieu is the superior defender. Then again, Shaw’s offensive edge is clear — he slugged .480 to LeMahieu’s .428, and holds a 24-point on-base percentage edge — and the Brewers can call upon Jonathan Schoop for platoon or defensive purposes.

Advantage: Brewers

Shortstop

Let’s give credit where its due, in that Orlando Arcia‘s four-hit game in the NL Central tiebreaker couldn’t have come at a better time, but it’s going to take more than that to forget that his .236/.268/.307 season was legitimately one of the weakest lines of any player in baseball. Meanwhile, Trevor Story (.291/.348/.567) put up a season that got him some MVP discussion, adding 110 points of slugging while also cutting his strikeout rate by 9 points from last year. He’s a strong defender, too.

Big advantage: Rockies

Video: Black on Story putting himself into MVP conversation

Third Base

Nolan Arenado (.297/.374/.561, with 38 home runs) is a superstar on both sides of the ball, and concerns that he might be limited by a shoulder injury that contributed to a disappointing August were somewhat alleviated when he came back to slug .564 in September. The Brewers added Mike Moustakas at the deadline, and he’s doing the same thing for Milwaukee (.256/.326/.441) that he always does, which is to pair a slightly above-average bat with average-ish defense. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s still an easy Colorado edge here.

Big advantage: Rockies

Left Field

Finally healthy, David Dahl (.273/.325/.534) has added some badly-needed offense to the Colorado lineup, and the return of Matt Holliday has worked out well so far, especially against lefties. Once you adjust for ballparks, Ryan Braun‘s .254/.313/.469 is about as valuable Devon Travis Blue Jays Jersey  as Dahl’s, each five to 10 percent better than league average, so this is essentially a dead heat. We’ll give Braun a small edge just because of how good he was in September, when he led all of Major League baseball with a 62.5 percent hard-hit rate.

Small advantage: Brewers

Video: DET@MIL: Braun smashes solo blast in the 1st

Center Field

Lorenzo Cain‘s return to Milwaukee was a smashing success, as he hit .308/.395/.417 with 10 homers, 30 steals, and his usual elite defensive work. Ironically, last winter we recommended that Colorado sign Cain and move Charlie Blackmon to a corner, upgrading two spots. They didn’t, and Blackmon had a good-not-great .291/.358/.502 season that was a step back from his elite-level 2017 campaign, especially on defense. He did turn it on in September, hitting .357/.421/.625, but Ca Dalton Pompey Blue Jays Jersey in’s all-around game takes the day here.

Advantage: Brewers

Right Field

It almost doesn’t matter who Colorado has here, because Christian Yelich (.326/.402/.598, with 36 home runs and 22 steals) is almost certainly going to with the National League Most Valuable Player award, and so the edge here is his by default. Neither Carlos Gonzalez (.276/.329/.467, a slightly below-average line once adjusted) nor Gerardo Parra (.284/.342/.372, about 20 percent below average) have had terribly impressive seasons, anyway.

Big advantage: Brewers

Video: Christian Yelich named NL Player of the Month

Starting Pitchers

Surely, the baseball world knows about Kyle Freeland by now, especially after his outstanding performance on three days’ rest in the National League Wild Card game. But it’s not just him, because German Marquez broke out in a big way too, putting up a 2.24 ERA with 110 strikeouts against only 16 walks in his final dozen starts. (Only Jacob deGrom had a higher Wins Above Replacement mark in the second half.) Though Tyler Anderson and Jon Gray have been inconsistent, this has been a legitimately strong rotation, one of the better ones in the National League.

The Brewers managed to dig up some solid performances from veterans Jhoulys Chacin and Wade Miley, but they never did manage to replace injured ace Jimmy Nelson. It’s been a fine rotation. Colorado’s is better.

Big advantage: Rockies

Video: MLB Tonight on Freeland’s outing in the NL Wild Card

Relief Pitchers

This is a good reminder not to worry about full-season stats here, because you might look at Colorado’s relatively unimpressive marks and think they aren’t that strong. Then again, who really cares what Mike Dunn (9.00 ERA) and Bryan Shaw (5.93 ERA) did? They won’t be on the roster, and the quartet of Adam Ottavino, Scott Oberg, Wade Davis, and Seunghwan Oh have been legitimately good.

Of course, the Brewers have Josh Hader. They have Corey Knebel, who struck out 33 hitters against five walks in 16 scoreless outings following a brief August demotion. They have young Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff, who combined for a 3.14 ERA and a 25 percent strikeout rate, and they have Jeremy Jeffress, who had a 1.29 ERA all year.

There’s a reason Milwaukee is here without a standout rotation. Colorado’s bullpen is better than you think, but this is the strength of the Brewers.

Advantage: Brewers

Prediction

While the Rockies have a considerable edge in the rotation, Milwaukee’s offense is much deeper, and they have a stronger bullpen too. Brewers in 5.

Mike Petriello is an analyst for MLB.com and the host of the Statcast podcast.


Milwaukee Brewers,
Colorado Rockies