Joe Biagini Blue Jays Jersey Brewers inspired by 1982 AL Championship team

MILWAUKEE — Cecil Cooper willed the baseball to earth and Charlie Moore greeted Jim Gantner at home plate with a hug. Marshall Edwards made a catch. Robin Yount fielded Rod Carew’s grounder and threw him out at first base.

And Dwayne Mosely, who had the radio call while Bob Uecker was poised to interview players in the wake of the Brewers’ pennant-clinching win in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series, bellowed, “Milwaukee, you have a World Series!”

MILWAUKEE — Cecil Cooper willed the baseball to earth and Charlie Moore greeted Jim Gantner at home plate with a hug. Marshall Edwards made a catch. Robin Yount fielded Rod Carew’s grounder and threw him out at first base.

And Dwayne Mosely, who had the radio call while Bob Uecker was poised to interview players in the wake of the Brewers’ pennant-clinching win in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series, bellowed, “Milwaukee, you have a World Series!”

It all happened 36 years ago today.

“Every kid dreams of playing in the World Series,” Yount said at the time, according to the book “Down In the Valley,” which chronicled the history of County Stadium. “This is better than I dreamed.”

:: NLCS schedule and results ::

If the 2018 Brewers are to get where the 1982 Brewers got before them, they will have to make similar moments of their own in a National League Championship Series against the Dodgers that begins Friday night at Miller Park.

They’ll try to avoid falling into a similar 0-2 series deficit, which the 1982 Brewers did against Ca Joe Biagini Blue Jays Jersey rew’s Angels, forcing Milwaukee to become the first team ever to come back to win a best-of-five postseason series after losing the first two games.

In those days, the LCS followed a 2-3 format, so the Brewers had t Joe Carter Throwback Jersey he benefit of playing the final three games at home. Don Sutton pitched the Brewers to a victory in Game 3, and backup outfielder Mark Brouhard’s three RBIs in place of an injured Ben Oglivie helped even the series in Game 4.

That set up a decisive Game 5 for the AL pennant. The Brewers trailed, 3-2, in the seventh inning, but Moore (who’d made one the first of the Brewers’ defensive gems in the fifth when the threw out Reggie Jackson at third base) hit a one-out single off Angels reliever Luis Sanchez, and Gantner followed with another. Yount walked with two outs to load the bases for Cooper, who delivered the biggest hit in Brewers history.

Video: 1982 ALCS Gm5: Moore throws out Jackson

For Brewers fans of a certain age, the image is seared in their baseball memories. Cooper waved his arms, willing the baseball to the grass in front of left fielder Brown Downing. Gantner scored behind Moore, who embraced him at the plate while County Stadium celebrated.

“For a minute I thought it would be caught, because when you hit line drives they have a tendency to hang, especially with the wind blowing in like it was,” Cooper said, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I was motioning for it to go down. It got down.”

Said Gantner: “Charlie grabbed me. He was excited. I was excited. But when we went back to the dugout, I said “We’ve got six more outs to go. We haven’t won this until we get six more outs. Let’s get them, then go crazy.”

Video: 1982 ALCS Gm5: Cecil Cooper raps clutch two-out hit

They got them. The final three outs belonged to Pete Ladd, filling in for injured closer Rollie Fingers. The final out was Carew’s bouncer to Yount, who threw across to Cooper, who threw his arms in the air.

“You could usually hear the bat hit the ball. You can hear things during the game, but not this time,” said Yount in “Down in the Valley.”

“All you did was react to the sights. I remember catching it, and when I threw it, it seemed like it took five minutes to for the ball to get over there.”

The Brewers were headed to the World Series.

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


Milwaukee Brewers

Brewers earn Bullp Joe Biagini Blue Jays Jersey en of the Week honors

Before the National League Division Series began, Brewers manager Craig Counsell stressed that his staff was “trying to get away from what the words ‘starter’ and ‘reliever’ mean.”

And from the first pitch of the series, Counsell cast aside conventional wisdom by naming Brandon Woodruff as his “initial out-getter” for a bullpen game in Game 1 of the NLDS in lieu of a traditional starter to begin Milwaukee’s first playoff campaign since 2011.

Before the National League Division Series began, Brewers manager Craig Counsell stressed that his staff was “trying to get away from what the words ‘starter’ and ‘reliever’ mean.”

And from the first pitch of the series, Counsell cast aside conventional wisdom by naming Brandon Woodruff as his “initial out-getter” for a bull Joe Biagini Jersey pen game in Game 1 of the NLDS in lieu of a traditional Joe Carter Jersey  starter to begin Milwaukee’s first playoff campaign since 2011.

Whatever they were called, however they were called upon, the Brewers’ relief corps shone in their NLDS sweep of the Rockies. After holding Colorado scoreless in nine of 10 innings in Game 1, Milwaukee relievers combined for 8 1/3 shutout innings in Games 2 and 3 to send the Brewers to their third Championship Series in franchise history. For their efforts, the Brewers earned the title of Bullpen of the Week presented by The Hartford for the 2018 Division Series.

As part of the MLB Prevailing Moments program, MLB.com has named the Bullpen of the Week presented by The Hartford throughout the 2018 season. An industry-wide panel of MLB experts, including legendary stats guru Bill James, constructed a metric based on James’ widely renowned game-score formula to provide a weekly measurement of team bullpen performance.

Here’s how the Bullpen Rating System was compiled for each week during the regular season. For reference, a weekly score of 100 is considered outstanding:

• Add 1.5 points for each out recorded
• Add 1.5 points for each strikeout
• Add 5 points for a save
• Subtract 2 points for each hit allowed
• Subtract 4 points for each earned run allowed
• Subtract 2 points for each unearned run allowed
• Subtract 1 point for each walk
• Subtract 5 points for a blown save

Similar considerations are being used to measure bullpen performance during the postseason.

Woodruff’s initial out-getting aside, Milwaukee relievers threw 15 1/3 innings in three games with 22 strikeouts and three walks, allowing only two earned runs — both by closer Jeremy Jeffress in the ninth inning of Game 1 — for a 1.17 ERA during the series. Rookie Corbin Burnes turned in a pair of scoreless two-inning outings, while Corey Knebel, Josh Hader and Joakim Soria made scoreless appearances in all three games of the series.

The unexpected: For all the questions and scrutiny that Counsell received for opting for a bullpen game in the series Joe Biagini Blue Jays Jersey  opener, just about everything was going according to plan in Game 1. Woodruff started with three hitless innings, and Burnes, Knebel and Hader followed with five shutout frames to hand a 2-0 lead to Jeffress in the ninth.

“I mean, look, it worked the way we wanted,” Counsell said. “I mean, it worked beautifully. Any time we can get [Jeffress] into a game at the end of the game, or [Knebel] or [Hader], the game has worked.”

But Jeffress, who was unavailable for the NL Central tiebreaker three days earlier, allowed singles to Gerardo Parra and Matt Holliday to open the frame. Charlie Blackmon followed with an RBI single to cut the Brewers’ lead in half, and a fielding error by shortstop Orlando Arcia loaded the bases with none out. Nolan Arenado then hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game.

How they prevailed: As it turned out, that second run was the final run the Milwaukee pitching staff would yield in the series. With the go-ahead run on third and one out, Jeffress induced a ground ball that eliminated the runner at third in a rundown and escaped the inning with a strikeout of Trevor Story. Soria entered to pitch a scoreless 10th, and in the bottom of the frame, Mike Moustakas came through with a two-out, walk-off single that gave the Crew its first playoff win in seven years.

“We took that blow and a bunch of guys kind of gutted it through,” Counsell said. “And [Jeffress], too, especially [Jeffress], that inning could have fallen apart really bad after we gave up two runs with first and third and one out, and they’re looking really good still.”

Do-Hyoung Park is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter at @dohyoungpark.


Milwaukee Brewers

Jeremy Jeffress collects Joe Biagini Blue Jays Jersey 6-out save in NLDS

MILWAUKEE — Brewers closer Jeremy Jeffress finished the evening with an emphatic fist pump and a scream of joy that was drowned out by a roaring crowd of 44,547 at Miller Park. In that instant, he showed the world that he has wrapped plenty of resilience and toughness around a repertoire that includes a 96-mph fastball and knee-buckling curveball.

Twenty-four hours earlier, Jeffress had let a two-run lead slip away in the ninth inning of a game the Brewers won in 10. Nevermind that he recovered beautifully and got out of the inning with the game tied.

View Full Game Coverage

MILWAUKEE — Brewers closer Jeremy Jeffress finished the evening with an emphatic fist pump and a scream of joy that was drowned out by a roaring crowd of 44,547 at Miller Park. In that instant, he showed the world that he has wrapped plenty of resilience and toughness around a repertoire that includes a 96-mph fastball and knee-buckling curveball.

Twenty-four hours earlier, Jeffress had let a two-run lead slip away in the ninth inning of a game the Brewers won in 10. Nevermind that he recovered beautifully and got out of the inning with the game tied.

View Full Game Coverage

:: NLDS schedule and results ::

Afterward, he said he would be ready the next time he was called on, and that he hoped it would be sooner rather than later. That’s exactly what it was.

Brewers manager Craig Counsell didn’t just call on Jeffress again on Friday, he called on him to get the final six outs of a postseason game. Who needs a pep talk when you’ve got a manager who does something like that?

Jeffress responded by getting those six outs and nailing down the Brewers’ 4-0 victory over the Rockies in Game 2 of the National League Division Series.

Milwaukee heads to Colorado for Game 3 on Sunday with a 2-0 lead, and history says the Brewers are in good shape. Teams that have won Games 1 and 2 in a best-of-five series at home have gone on to take the series 24 of 27 times.

Milwaukee’s success begins with a bullpen that was baseball’s best in September with a 1.98 ERA. That dominance has carried right into the NLDS, with the Brewers allowing just two runs — both charged to Jeffress in Game 1 — in 11 innings.

But back to Jeffress, the fist pump and the show of confidence from his manager.

Tweet from @Brewers: #Brewers win! @JMontana41 closes out the Rockies across 2 innings to finish game 2! #OurCrewOurOctober pic.twitter.com/xHOwIqFKkq

“I mean, it was great,” Jeffress said. “The confidence, I can’t put it into words. And to see those two innings in front of me just gave me even more confidence to know I’ve got a lot  Joe Carter Throwback Jersey of work to do, and I can go out there and be myself, do what I’ve got to do. And that fist pump is to show you the passion I have for this game. I’m enjoying every single moment and that shows.”

He finished the eighth by striking out Rockies shortstop Trevor Story on a curveball. After allowing a leadoff single in the top of the ninth, Jeffress got the next three hitters on two strikeouts and an infield grounder to second base.

Video: COL@MIL Gm2: Jeffress K’s Story to strand a runner 

When Counsell was asked about going back to Jeffress after a poor night at the office in Game 1, he didn’t hesitate.

“Yesterday was not part of the equation for me,” he said. “This is a guy who’s been an All-Star and one of the more dominant relievers in this league this year. You know, I’m proud of him. You get thrown right back in the fire after Game 1 of the playoffs where you gave up some runs, and you’ve got to have a little fortitude, and knowing that you got six outs to get, and that’s not easy. I’m proud of him for handling it well and doing a nice job.”

Video: COL@MIL Gm2: Counsell on Jeffress in Game 2 win

Jeffress brought his four-year-old daughter, Jurnee, to the postgame news conference. She sat happily in his lap and introduced herself to reporters before tu Joe Carter Jersey rning the microphone back to her dad. Across the hall in the Brewers’ clubhouse, Jeffress was the biggest storyline.

“I’m so happy for him,” bullpen coach Lee Tunnell said. “He’s a competitor, and there was no doubt he wanted back out there.”

Video: MLB Tonight on Jeffress’ role for Brewers in the NLDS

Jeffress became Milwaukee’s closer in late August when Corey Knebel struggled. When Knebel returned from a brief stay in the Minors on Sept. 1, Jeffress had established himself as the ninth-inning guy.

Knebel hasn’t allowed a run since his return, and with All-Star lefty Josh Hader also in the mix, the Brewers take a certain confidence and swagger into the late innings, one reason they’ll bring a 10-game winning streak into Game 3.

“To bounce back and pitch two innings and put up a couple of zeros, it says a little bit about the makeup of this kid,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “Seems to be a little bit resilient, as well.”

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

Craig Counsell on f Joe Biagini Blue Jays Jersey acing Clayton Kershaw

MILWAUKEE — The Brewers weren’t ready to name a starting pitcher for Friday’s Game 1 of the National League Championship Series on Tuesday, the first full day their matchup against the Dodgers was set. That should surprise no one, since Milwaukee opted not to say Jhoulys Chacin would start the NL Central tiebreaker game at Wrigley Field until three hours before the first pitch, and then they waited until the morning of Game 1 of the NL Division Series against the Rockies to make the surprise announcement that Brandon Woodruff would be the “initial out-getter” on what amounted to a bullpen day.

But while the Brewers played coy — Chacin is the most likely candidate, barring another Game 1 bullpen day — they know who they are up against.

MILWAUKEE — The Brewers weren’t ready to name a starting pitcher for Friday’s Game 1 of the National League Championship Series on Tuesday, the first full day their matchup against the Dodgers was set. That should surprise no one, since Milwaukee opted not to say Jhoulys Chacin would start the NL Central tiebreaker game at Wrigley Field until three hours before the first pitch, and then they waited until the morning of Game 1 of the NL Division Series against the Rockies to make the surprise announcement that Brandon Woodruff would be the “initial out-getter” on what amounted to a bullpen day.

But while the Brewers played coy — Chacin is the most likely candidate, barring another Game 1 bullpen day — they know who they are up against.

:: NLCS schedule and results ::

Clayton Kershaw, coming off a superlative performance in the NLDS against the Braves, will start Game 1 for the Dodgers on Friday at Miller Park.

• Kershaw to start Game 1 on extra rest

“Look, it’s a big challenge,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. “Their starting pitching is very good, so it’s a challenge. Against good pitching, execution feels more valuable, because you don’t feel like you’re going to get as many opportunities. I think that’s true any time you face good pitching. So I think that, of course, is going to be a key.

“At the same time, home runs do still win these games. Home runs are still a big part of these games. You don’t have to put big rallies together if you can get a walk and a two-run homer. More than you think, there are playoff wins on home runs. It is the big blow. And really, the message is it’s tough to put extended rallies together against good pitching. The one mistake, and popping one, is a lot more likely to happen in a lot of ways.”

Kershaw has been as good as you’d expect in 14 career starts against the Brewers, registering a 2.86 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP. Milwaukee has won six of those starts, including one of two this Joe Biagini Blue Jays Jersey  season. The Brewers came from behind to beat Kershaw and the Dodgers at Miller Park on July 21, when Christian Yelich homered and Milwaukee capitalized on errors to score three unearned runs in a 4-2 win. Yelich is 9-for-17 with a pair of home runs in his career against Kershaw and has a .409/.429/.636 slash line against the pitchers who were on the Dodgers’ NLDS roster.

In the regular season, the Dodgers took the season series from the Brewers, 4-3.

• LA-MIL season series an NLCS preview?

Video: MIL@LAD: Yelich belts a solo homer off Kershaw in 5th

“It’s different because it’s a playoff series, as much as anything,” Counsell said. “We rolled into both Dodgers series, and we had to protect some pitching. In two of the games, we used position players. It’s just different. I mean, it’s the playoffs, and things are going to be managed differently.

“It’s a good team, and there were some good games in some of the seven we played. We know what to expect. We played them both in the second half, so it’s not that long ago, and it’s similar personnel.”

Decisions, decisions
When the Brewers set an NLDS roster with 11 pitchers and 14 position players, general manager David Stearns conceded that it was specific to a best-of-five series in which teams don’t play more than two consecutive days. Things could look different in the best-of-seven NLCS under a 2-3-2 format.

Left-handed reliever Xavier Cedeno is a candidate to get back into action after being left off the NLDS roster. So is right-handed starter Zach Davies, who was one of three Brewers pitchers, with Junior Guerra and Freddy Peralta, who threw to hitters in a brief workout at Miller Park on Tuesday.

Guerra and Peralta were on the NLDS roster but, like Gio Gonzalez, didn’t pitch. Davies and Gonzalez served as starting pitchers in September. Guerra and Peralta worked out of the bullpen down the stretch in the regular season.

Tweet from @AdamMcCalvy: Brewers are working out at Miller Park today, including a live BP for Junior Guerra. He was one of three pitchers on the NLDS roster who didn���t get in a game against the Rockies. pic.twitter.com/7by2jchqtP

The Brewers will have to submit a 25-man NLCS roster by 10 a.m. CT on Friday.

“We had one conversation today, and we’ll have another one [Wednesday],” Counsell said. “Yeah, it’s a different series. There’s a potential for seven games in nine days inste Joe Biagini Jersey ad of five in seven days, so that’s a different equation.”

Just like in the NLDS, the pitchers were forced to stay flexible.

“I don’t know what the plan is right now,” Guerra said, “but it was good to see hitters and get ready. We’re waiting. We’re excited, too.”

Video: Adam McCalvy discusses Brewers postseason pitching

Last call
• The old “rest vs. rust” debate doesn’t much apply to this series, since the Brewers finished a sweep of the Rockies on Sunday and the Dodgers closed out their 3-1 NLDS win over the Braves on Monday before traveling home to Los Angeles. If their postseason tradition holds, the Dodgers won’t fly to Milwaukee until Thursday before taking part in a workout that evening.

“Look, both teams are going to go into this series very fresh,” Counsell said. “We’re in the series. However you get there, you’re happy about getting there. The break allows you to consider more options.”

• Director of grounds Michael Boettcher and his crew were working on their artistic skills Tuesday, turning an NLDS logo along the baselines into an NLCS logo. All they had to do was alter the letter C.

Tweet from @Brewers: A fresh coat of paint and one significant (C)hange. #OurCrewOurOctober pic.twitter.com/VIScRVew7G

The roof was open for most of an 80-degree day in Milwaukee on Tuesday, but it is likely to be closed the rest of the week, including for Games 1 and 2. A storm system is expected to bring temperatures in the 40s by Thursday and Friday.

• Major League Baseball set the first pitch times for the first two games of the series on Tuesday. Friday’s Game 1 will begin at 7:09 p.m. CT, and Game 2 on Saturday will begin at 3:09 p.m. CT.

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


Milwaukee Brewers

Launch angle not an iss Dalton Pompey Blue Jays Jersey ue to Christian Yelich

MILWAUKEE — Two summers ago, Christian Yelich sat in the visitors’ clubhouse at Citi Field in New York on something of an ideological island. It had been more than a year since Statcast™ introduced launch angle as a concept, providing a public metric to a movement that had been building behind the scenes for years: hitters overhauling their swings to defy shifts, increase slugging and, above all else, get the ball in the air.

Suddenly, successful launch-angle acolytes were grabbing headlines across baseball: Justin Turner raking in Los Angeles, Daniel Murphy transforming into a power threat in D.C., Josh Donaldson all but planting a fly-ball flag north of the border. From the outside, many pegged Yelich as a prime candidate to buy in. The former first-round Draft pick was hitting for power for the first time at age 24 (he’d end up with 21 homers, triple his total from the previous year), but still sported one of the highest ground-ball rates in the game.

MILWAUKEE — Two summers ago, Christian Yelich sat in the visitors’ clubhouse at Citi Field in New York on something of an ideological island. It had been more than a year since Statcast™ introduced launch angle as a concept, providing a public metric to a movement that had been building behind the scenes for years: hitters overhauling their swings to defy shifts, increase slugging and, above all else, get the ball in the air.

Suddenly, successful launch-angle acolytes were grabbing headlines across baseball: Justin Turner raking in Los Angeles, Daniel Murphy transforming into a power threat in D.C., Josh Donaldson all but planting a fly-ball flag north of the border. From the outside, many pegged Yelich as a prime candidate to buy in. The former first-round Draft pick was hitting for power for the first time at age 24 (he’d end up with 21 homers, triple his total from the previous year), but still sported one of the highest ground-ball rates in the game.

:: NLDS schedule and results ::

It wasn’t difficult to see Yelich’s athletic build and compact swing and project more. He didn’t disagree. But Yelich also didn’t feel comfortable with the mechanical leap of faith — and perhaps a seed of doubt — that seemed required to tap into it.

“OK, but how do you do that? It’s not swinging up,” Yelich said. “If you’re not strong enough, launch angle is not your friend.”

For more than 20 minutes that day, Yelich explained in  Dalton Pompey Jersey detail why, despite outside pressure, he’d resolved to stay the course. He didn’t deny the data, but disagreed with the wholesale approach. Yelich saw the launch-angle revolution as “a trend,” rather than as a sustainable model for success or the cure-all solution it was often branded as being. He didn’t see how his specific swing fit in, didn’t like the bad habits that might result from the change. And Yelich saw strikeout rates rise along with home runs, and pitchers beginning to pepper the top of the strike zone with fastballs. He saw traps. His hitting coach, Barry Bonds, the all-time home run champion, counseled patience, not overhaul. Yelich listened.

Yelich would’ve been at a crossroads had he not been full of conviction that, given time, he would blossom in his own way, on his own terms.

“I could talk about this all day,” Yelich finally said, strapping on his batting gloves. “But I have to go hit.”

Video: COL@MIL Gm1: Yelich on his hot play of late

Reminded of that conversation this week at Miller Park, Yelich reported nothing different in his approach. But the numbers tell a slightly different story. And in the gray space between them and Yelich’s words lies the nuance rarely afforded in most launch-angle debates, where, Yelich says, “everybody is either on one extreme side or the other.”

There was no “a-ha” moment, Yelich said, no winter he spent purposefully looking to launch. Instead, he sees his breakout 2018 season as the result of a stream of incremental adjustments, that, in the aggregate, morphed him into a slugger all the same.

In Yelich’s mind, the elevation came organically. Though his average launch angle (4.7 degrees) remains one of the lowest in baseball, it more than tripled (from 2.5 degrees to 8.3 degrees) over this season’s final two months, when he hit .335/.434/.728 with 21 home runs to emerge as the National League MVP Award front-runner. Balls struck at more than 100 mph also tripled in launch angle over that span,  Devon Travis Blue Jays Jersey from just north of five degrees, on average, to more than 15 degrees. Yelich barreled balls at a career-best 12.9 percent rate in 2018, good for sixth among NL hitters. His hard-hit line drive/fly-ball rate soared to a career-best, and his ground-ball rate sank to a career low.

And yet his intent, Yelich says, was never to yank. It still isn’t.

“There has been no conscious change on my part, no buying into launch angle,” Yelich said. “I stuck with what I’ve been doing my entire career, with a few adjustments — but focusing on launch angle was not one of them. There were some, but that wasn’t one of them.”

In Miami, Bonds and assistant hitting coach Frank Menechino tutored Yelich on the importance of body position and timing. They focused on getting Yelich in a better position to drive the ball while keeping his swing relatively the same. In Milwaukee, hitting coach Darnell Coles stressed attacking the ball more out in front, particularly outside pitches,  Devon Travis Jersey which Yelich had a tendency to spray the other way instead of drive with authority.

“Everybody is starving for guys to say they want to hit a fly ball all the time, but it’s never once crossed my mind,” Yelich said. “I’ve never once gone up there thinking, ‘Let me roll this ball over and hit a 12-hopper.’ I’m not saying that, either. But there is a way to have your misses give you a chance, as opposed to having your misses give you no chance.”

Video: Yelich carries the Brewers to NL Central crown

In doing so, Yelich did what many launch-angle acolytes could not: added power without sacrificing swing-and-miss while maintaining an all-fields approach. His strikeout rate and OPS with two strikes stayed essentially unchanged in 2018. Twenty-one of Yelich’s home runs went to the center of the field, more than any other player in baseball. His pull rate increased, but at 31.3 percent, didn’t sniff his career-high. Yelich rarely faces shifts, despite being left-handed and leading NL hitters in slugging percentage.

“He understands himself,” Coles said. “His foundation is such that he knows what he wants to do, he knows how he wants to do it, and then it’s just executing.”

That execution popped up in nearly every part of Yelich’s offensive game. He swung at more first pitches (29 percent, compared to 19 percent in 2017) to great success (1.178 SLG in 2018, 427 points beyond his career mark). Yelich hit fastballs better than ever (.356 average against them, second among NL hitters), and improved mightily against offspeed pitches (.286/.293/.571, compared to .216/.245/.330 in 2017).

All told, Yelich will lead the Brewers into Game 3 of the NL Division Series against the Rockies on Sunday in Denver as one of baseball’s most complete hitters, a star in a postseason alongside Turner, J.D. Martinez and other launch-angle advocates.

Video: COL@MIL Gm1: Counsell discusses Yelich’s hot streak

Yelich said he feels vindicated in his approach, and in there being no wide mechanical gap between him and those sluggers.

“Take a snapshot of all the best hitters at contact, you’d see they all get to the same place. The difference is the mindset. What you tell yourself to get there,” Yelich said. “Some guys tell themselves to swing up, some guys tell themselves to swing down. But they all get to the same place.

“There is no one way to hit. There are guys who are all in on the launch angle and have been successful, and guys who aren’t who are also successful. Both of us are right, but there is a way to meet in the middle. I’m trying to be in the middle.”

Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com


Milwaukee Brewers,
Christian Yelich

Brewers shut out Rockies, own 2-0 Dalton Pompey Blue Jays Jersey NLDS lead

MILWAUKEE — Make it 10 straight wins for the Brewers.

Win once more in the next three games, and it’s on to the National League Championship Series.

View Full Game Coverage

MILWAUKEE — Make it 10 straight wins for the Brewers.

Win once more in the next three games, and it’s on to the National League Championship Series.

View Full Game Coverage

Jeremy Jeffress returned to form in Game 2 of the NL Division Series on Friday with two nasty innings to finish what Jhoulys Chacin began on short rest and hard-worked relievers Corey Knebel, Joakim Soria and Josh Hader continued. Then it was on to Jeffress, who rebounded from a blown save the day before to slam the door on a pitching-fueled, 4-0 win over the Rockies at Miller Park that gave Milwaukee a commanding 2-0 lead in a best-of-five series that now heads West.

Video: COL@MIL Gm2: Jeffress hurls 2 scoreless, earns save

“He bounced back. I knew he would,” said Knebel. “He dominated two innings, and we needed it. We’re 2-0 going into Colorado.” 

Six outs? No problem: Jeffress bounces back

Chacin gutted through five innings without his best stuff, and Mike Moustakas and Hernan Perez hit back-to-back doubles in the fourth for the only run of what was shaping into a frustrating late afternoon for Milwaukee hitters before they broke through for three runs in the eighth inning, capped by Erik Kratz‘s two-run single in the 38-year-old catcher’s postseason debut. 

Video: COL@MIL Gm2: Perez opens scoring with an RBI double

:: NLDS schedule and results ::

That was more than enough. Brewers pitchers have held the Rockies to two runs on 10 hits with 22 strikeouts in the first two games of the series, including Friday’s six-hit classic.

The franchise’s only other shutout victory in the postseason was a 10-0 rout of the Cardinals in Game 1 of the 1982 World Series.

Here’s more postseason history: In a five-game series with the 2-2-1 format, teams that win Games 1 and 2 at home have gone on to take the series 24 of 27 times (89 percent). However, just last year, the Indians lost to the Yankees in the American League Division Series after grabbing a 2-0 lead in Cleveland.

“The story of the series so far is how we’ve pitched,” said Brewers manager Craig Counsell.  

This one had the potential to be a high-scoring affair, with Chacin working on short rest for the first time in his career opposite Rockies left-hander Tyler Anderson, who finished the regular season with a 4.55 ERA that wasn’t helped by a seven-run outing on Aug. 4 at Miller Park. In his first three career starts against the Brewers, Anderson had allowed 18 hits and 14 earned runs in 14 2/3 innings for an 8.59 ERA.

But this is October, and whether it was the hitters trying too hard to rise to the moment or the pitchers succeeding in doing so, both starters were sensational. Chacin limited Colorado to three hits and three walks in five innings, stranding those six runners with a trio of well-timed strikeouts. When Chacin fanned Nolan Arenado with three of his signature sliders to end the fifth inning with his spot in the order due up first in the bottom of the frame, he screamed in celebration and left the game in the hands of the Brewers’ bullpen.

Video: COL@MIL Gm2: Chacin tosses 5 scoreless on 3 days rest

 “I don’t really remember it, I just know I struck out on three pitches with men on first and second, and it wasn’t a good at-bat,” said Arenado. 

“It’s unfortunate the way our pitchers have been pitching that we haven’t been able to back them up these last two games,” said Rockies shortstop Trevor Story. 

Video: COL@MIL Gm2: Counsell on Chacin’s terrific outing

Anderson was just as tough, bucking those regular-season numbers to allow a lone run on back-to-back doubles by Game 1 hero Moustakas and Perez in the fourth inning, but only two other hits. Anderson walked two and struck out five to give the travel-weary Rockies a chance.

The Brewers’ bullpen denied it.

“You pick up no stress from them whatsoever,” said Brewers bullp Devon Travis Jersey en coach Lee Tunnell. “We’ve played so many one-run games, so many two-run games, that these guys are prepared. It’s like, ‘OK, this is what we’ve been doing.’ ” 

First up was Knebel, who added another scoreless inning to a hot streak that began in early September, when he returned from a demotion to Triple-A Colorado Springs. Including his two-strikeout sixth inning in Game 2, Knebel has worked 19 consecutive scoreless innings over 18 games with 36 strikeouts.

Video: COL@MIL Gm2: Knebel whiffs Parra for 2nd strikeout

Soria and Josh Hader covered the seventh, with Soria logging a pair of strikeouts and Hader inducing a critical Charlie Blackmon lineout after Kratz’s throwing error put a runner at third with no outs.

That left the game on the right arm of Jeffress, who allowed runs for the first time in more than a month in Game 1 the day before, when the Rockies scored twice in the ninth inning to force the Brewers to win the game in the 10th.

Jeffress inherited a 1-0 lead in the eighth and struck out NL MVP contender Trevor Story with a runner aboard to end that inning, then worked around a leadoff single in the ninth after the Brewers extended their lead on another clutch RBI for Moustakas, and Kratz’s two-out, two-run single.

Video: COL@MIL: Moustakas collects an RBI single in the 8th

“I can’t put into words the confidence that Counsell has for me,” said Jeffress. “I’m gracious. And to see those two innings in front of me just gave me more confidence to know I’ve got a lot of work to do, and I can go out there and be myself. That fist pump there is to show you the passion that I have for this game.” 

Video: COL@MIL Gm2: Counsell on Jeffress in Game 2 win

The group effort lowered the ERA of Brewers relievers to 1.72 ERA over the last 28 games.

“They’ve been doing this the whole year,” said Chacin. “It doesn’t matter what kind of game they go in, they get the job done. I never worry about whatever happens after I pitch because I know the guys just come in and do the job.” 

Video: COL@MIL: Brewers discuss 4-0 Game 2 victory

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Hader vs. Blackmon: The Rockies’ best chance to change the co Devon Travis Blue Jays Jersey urse of the game came in the seventh inning, when Ian Desmond greeted Soria with an infield hit and took two bases on a steal plus a throwing error on the play charged to Kratz.

Video: COL@MIL Gm2: Desmond swipes second, advances to third

With the tying runner 90 feet from home and nobody out, Soria struck out Chris Iannetta and pinch-hitter Matt Holliday, then yielded to Hader, pitching back-to-back days for only the sixth time all season and the first time since Aug. 29-30.

Iannetta snaps bat over knee after Soria’s K

Throughout the course of Hader’s first full season in relief, Counsell and his coaches learned that he required rest to take the mound in top form, and Hader rewarded the strategy by leading MLB relievers with 140 strikeouts.

Friday called for an exception, and it took only two pitches for Hader to get a game-changing lineout to perfectly positioned second baseman Travis Shaw.

Video: Must C Clutch: Soria, Hader combine to get out of jam

“I think the fact we had him up [in the bullpen] probably made Holliday the hitter instead of a lefty against Soria, so it was almost like Josh got us some help [that way] as well,” said Counsell. “And then at that point, you’re up 1-0 and saying, ‘All right, you’ve got one hitter tonight. That’s all you’re going to have to do.’ He did a nice job.”

SOUND SMART
At 38 years and 112 days old, a veteran of 12 different Major League organizations and 30 Minor League teams, Kratz became the oldest position player to start his postseason debut since a slightly older 38-year-old Lave Cross of the 1905 Philadelphia A’s. Cross was a third baseman.

But Kratz wasn’t just trivia. He delivered one of the day’s biggest hits, a bloop, two-run single off Rockies reliever Seunghwan Oh to cap a three-run eighth inning that extended Jeffress’ 1-0 lead to 4-0. It was the second of Kratz’s two hits, part of a productive bottom half of the batting order that produced eight hits from the Nos. 5-8 spots in the lineup.

Video: COL@MIL Gm2: Kratz plates a pair on single in the 8th

Was it the biggest hit of Kratz’s career?

“I hit a homer in the Triple-A playoffs one time,” he said. “That was pretty cool.”

Video: COL@MIL Gm2: Kratz on team’s 4-0 Game 2 victory

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The Brewers gave away a critical out in the fourth inning after taking a 1-0 lead. Perez stole third base without a play before Travis Shaw walked.

Video: COL@MIL Gm2: Perez steals third base in the 4th

When Shaw broke from first base with one out, Perez danced off third, as if the Brewers were trying to steal a run, but he was thrown out trying to get back to third base, where Arenado did a masterful job of blocking the bag with his foot. The Brewers challenged after seeing one replay that appeared to show Perez getting a thumb on the bag, but there wasn’t enough conclusive evidence to overturn the call, so it stood. When Kratz flied out, the inning was suddenly over.

Video: COL@MIL Gm2: Desmond nabs Perez at third after review

UP NEXT
He doesn’t light up the radar gun, like Game 1 initial out-getter Brandon Woodruff, or have a wipeout pitch, like Chacin’s slider, but Wade Miley keeps the Brewers in games. In 16 regular-season starts, he never allowed more than three earned runs. He’ll aim to do the same in Game 3 on Sunday against a Rockies team that led the NL in OPS in home games and led the NL in OPS against left-handers. German Marquez starts for Colorado.

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


Milwaukee Brewers,
Jhoulys Chacin,
Jeremy Jeffress

Brewers pitchers ri Dalton Pompey Blue Jays Jersey se to postseason challenge

DENVER — The question came when the Brewers added Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain on Jan. 25, again when they picked up Mike Moustakas and Jonathan Schoop before the July 31 Trade Deadline and once more before the postseason began. Sure, they have a deep lineup and a dominant bullpen, but what about that starting pitching?

The Brewers answered that question at every turn. In Oct Dalton Pompey Jersey ober, they’ve done so by ditching conventional roles — these aren’t starters, they’re “initial out-getters” — and trusting the arms that got them here. Right-hander Brandon Woodruff recorded the first nine outs of Game 1 without allowing a hit. Veteran Jhoulys Chacin fired five scoreless innings in Game 2. Lefty Wade Miley completed the National League Division Series sweep on Sunday, pitching 4 2/3 innings in the Brewers’ 6-0 win over the Rockies.

View Full Game Coverage

DENVER — The question came when the Brewers added Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain on Jan. 25, again when they picked up Mike Moustakas and Jonathan Schoop before the July 31 Trade Deadline and once more before the postseason began. Sure, they have a deep lineup and a dominant bullpen, but what about that starting pitching?

The Brewers answered that question at every turn. In October, they’ve done so by ditching conventional roles — these aren’t starters, they’re “initial out-getters” — and trusting the arms that got them here. Right-hander Brandon Woodruff recorded the first nine outs of Game 1 without allowing a hit. Veteran Jhoulys Chacin fired five scoreless innings in Game 2. Lefty Wade Miley completed the National League Division Series sweep on Sunday, pitching 4 2/3 innings in the Brewers’ 6-0 win over the Rockies.

View Full Game Coverage

:: NLDS schedule and results ::

Dress for success: Get Brewers gear for NLCS

“From Woody to Jhoulys to Wade today, they set the tone,” general manager David Stearns said. “The guys behind them were able to pick it up, from there we were able to scratch some runs.”

Those performances kick-started three exceptionally well-pitched games that have Milwaukee bound for the NL Championship Series. The Brewers entered the NLDS with one shutout in the club’s postseason history then threw two against a dangerous Rockies lineup.

“It’s incredible,” catcher Erik Kratz said. “We can’t really even realize how good it is.”

The way the Brewers’ bullpen pitched was no surprise. Jeremy Jeffress and Josh Hader were All-Stars this year. Corey Knebel has been untouchable since he returned last month. Joakim Soria is an established late-innings reliever. But to see their starters throw 12 2/3 scoreless innings while giving up only six hits and five walks?

“We left it out there, for sure. We did our jobs. The bullpen did its job,” Miley said. “[Woodruff] started it off [in Game 1] w Devon Travis Blue Jays Jersey ith three hitless innings, and that kind of set the tempo for everybody. We kind of went from there.”

Video: COL@MIL Gm1: Woodruff K’s 3 over 3 no-hit innings

Miley was handed the toughest assignment: a start at Coors Field against a Rockies lineup that has feasted on left-handers and thrived at home all season. The 46-degree chill at first pitch didn’t make it any easier. But Miley, who has reinvented himself after signing as a Minor League free agent in February, continued his remarkable turnaround season into October.

“These past Dalton Pompey Blue Jays Jersey  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,” Miley said. “It’s something you dream about as a little kid, and I was able to go out there and live it.”

The 31-year-old lefty, who put up a 2.57 ERA in 16 regular-season starts, allowed only three hits and a walk as he kept Colorado off-balance with cutters and curveballs. Rockies manager Bud Black admitted his lineup was pressing, trying too hard to make something happen, but Miley didn’t give them much to work with.

Video: MIL@COL Gm3: Johnson discusses pitching in NLDS sweep

“Wade Miley has zero fear. Wade Miley fears nothing on this planet,” Ryan Braun said. “It’s a tough place to pitch, this is a [Rockies] team that kills left-handed pitchers. He really believed in himself and we believed in him. He went out there and set the tone. A lot of soft contact. That cutter, I think, has rejuvenated his career. It’s really cool to see him have the success he had.”

Miley threw only 64 pitches but was pulled with two outs and a runner on first in the fifth as Rockies leadoff man Charlie Blackmon stepped to the plate for the third time. Knebel came in and struck out Blackmon on three pitches.

Video: MIL@COL Gm3: Knebel strikes out Blackmon to end 5th

“You’ve got a group of guys who all want the same thing: We want to win the World Series,” Miley said. “We’re not trying to be more than who you are. Do your job and pass it on to the next guy.”

Now, with four days off before the NLCS, manager Craig Counsell and pitching coach Derek Johnson can let their relievers rest and reconfigure the rotation. Miley would be able to start Game 1 at Miller Park on regular rest. Chacin will be ready to go. They can draw up a seven-game pitching plan that includes a mix of traditional starters and less traditional “out-getters” like Woodruff.

Video: COL@MIL Gm2: Chacin tosses 5 scoreless on 3 days rest

The way things went in the NLDS, it seems like just about anyone could get the job done. The Brewers inspired a new question, one born of admiration rather than doubt: How about that starting pitching?

“I think our pitching staff right now is pitching as well as it possibly could,” Johnson said. “I’m really proud of our starters, too. They’re getting a lot of outs.”

Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com.


Milwaukee Brewers,
Jhoulys Chacin,
Wade Miley,
Brandon Woodruff

Brewers Dalton Pompey Blue Jays Jersey score on Scott Oberg balk, wild pitch

DENVER — With the Brewers leading the Rockies by two runs in Sunday’s 6-0 victory at Coors Field in Game 3 to sweep the National League Division Series, the sixth inning spun out of control for Colorado, leading to a pair of Milwaukee runs resulting from a balk and a wild pitch.

Rockies reliever Scott Oberg opened the frame by striking out Jesus Aguilar. Mike Moustakas followed with a single to left field, and Erik Kratz doubled him to third. Oberg struck out Orlando Arcia, giving him a chance to escape the inning without allowing a run, something of added importance for the Rockies, who totaled two runs in the series.

View Full Game Coverage

DENVER — With the Brewers leading the Rockies by two runs in Sunday’s 6-0 victory at Coors Field in Game 3 to sweep the National League Division Series, the sixth inning spun out of control for Colorado, leading to a pair of Milwaukee runs resulting from a balk and a wild pitch.

Rockies reliever Scott Oberg opened the frame by striking out Jesus Aguilar. Mike Moustakas followed with a single to left field, and Erik Kratz doubled him to third. Oberg struck out Orlando Arcia, giving him a chance to escape the inning without allowing a run, something of added importance for the Rockies, who totaled two runs in the series.

View Full Game Coverage

:: NLDS schedule and results ::

Brewers manager Craig Counsell sent Curtis Granderson up as a pinch-hitter for reliever Corey Knebel, and during the Granderson at-bat, Oberg dropped the baseball while on the rubber, resulting in a balk that brought Moustakas in 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.

“Prior to that pitch, I was digging out the mound a littl Devon Travis Jersey e bit, and when I stopped digging, I went to transfer the ball from my glove to my hand,” Oberg said. “And after watching the replay and reading the rulebook, I think [second-base umpire] Alfonso [Marquez] made the right call.”

Added Rockies manager Bud Black: “I wasn’t watching Scott at the time; I was engaging in a couple of other things. Then I saw the balk was called, and as you know, by rule you can’t contest a balk call. When it’s called, it’s called. But after the inning, Alfonso told me that Scott was engaged on the rubber, and the ball came out of his glove.”

The balk was only the second of Oberg’s career; the other came in 2015. The wild pitch was his fourth of the season. Though Oberg would strike out Granderson to end the frame, the Brewers doubled their lead against a struggling Rockies offense, giving Milwaukee’s vaunted bullpen a cushion with 12 outs to go.

Video: MIL@COL Gm3: Scott Oberg on NLDS Game 3, balk

From there, Corbin Burnes, Jeremy Jeffress and Josh Hader combined to toss three scoreless frames, while Milwaukee’s offense added two more runs on homers from Arcia and Keon Broxton, as the Brewers punched their ticket to the NL Championship Series.

“It does [feel like victory is close after scoring the fourth run]. There was a moment where I thought about that,” Kratz said. “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.”

Video: MIL@COL Gm3: Kratz mic’d up during 3-hit game

Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.


Milwaukee Brewers,
Colorado Rockies,
Erik Kratz,
Scott Oberg

Jimmy Nelson supports Brewers in postseaso Dalton Pompey Blue Jays Jersey n

DENVER — Jimmy Nelson, the Brewers’ 2017 ace before a shoulder injury ended his breakthrough and sidelined him for all of ’18, has been released from rehab protocol and is traveling with the team for the remainder of the postseason. His return offered a reminder of the obstacles Milwaukee’s pitching staff overcame to reach this point.

No Nelson. Only 13 starts for Zach Davies. A step back for Opening Day starter Chase Anderson, who was left off the National League Division Series roster.

DENVER — Jimmy Nelson, the Brewers’ 2017 ace before a shoulder in Devon Travis Blue Jays Jersey jury ended his breakthrough and sidelined him for all of ’18, has been released from rehab protocol and is traveling with the team for the remainder of the postseason. His return offered a reminder of the obstacles Milwaukee’s pitching staff overcame to reach this point.

No Nelson. Only 13 starts for Zach Davies. A step back for Opening Day starter Chase Anderson, who was left off the National League Division Series roster.

And yet the Brewers matched a franchise record with 96 wins, won the NL Central and find themselves one win away from the NL Championship Series heading into Sunday’s Game 3 against the Rockies at Coors Field.

:: NLDS schedule and results ::

Nelson was happy to be back. And extremely sad not to be part of the Brewers’ first postseason run since Nelson broke into the big leagues.

“There’s both,” Nelson said. “But I definitely couldn’t be happier for these guys. … It always seems like there is a group of guys who picks it up.”

Nelson hopes to Dalton Pompey Blue Jays Jersey  be one of the guys picking it up next year. He rejoined teammates after some time at Maryvale Baseball Park in Arizona, where he faced hitters for the first time since last year’s shoulder surgery, and was supposed to pitch in an instructional league game, only to have it rained out.

The 29-year-old right-hander got his work in on a covered mound instead, and he is now in a rest period heading into what should be a “relatively normal” offseason.

“All the boxes I needed to check off, I checked off,” Nelson said. It was a relief.

“His formal rehab is complete. He has returned to pitching,” general manager David Stearns said. “That is a great thing to say.

“Now it’s, let’s go into a normal offseason, get his rest, and then do an intelligent ramp-up to Spring Training and see where we are then. There are still a lot of unknowns here. We have been very explicit about that throughout this. But his return to pitching, we’re all happy with it.”

Barring offseason moves, Nelson and the Brewers will report to Spring Training flush with starting pitching options. Jhoulys Chacin has another year on his contract and is the early frontrunner to start Opening Day. Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta are poised to rejoin the rotation after serving in the bullpen down the stretch this year. Anderson, Davies and Junior Guerra all remain under club control.

Kratz to start Game 3

With Wade Miley scheduled to start Sunday, 38-year-old Erik Kratz will make the second postseason start of his long career, Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. In Game 2, Kratz became the oldest position player to make his postseason debut since Lave Cross of the 1905 Philadelphia A’s, and he contributed a big, two-run single in a 4-0 Brewers win.

“I did not realize the significance of what Erik Kratz did [Friday],” Counsell said. “I happened to see his dad in the tunnel right after the game, and he was absolutely overjoyed, and then it probably struck me after I had a little small conversation with his dad that this was a 38-year-old player starting his first playoff game, and then I saw something written that this hasn’t happened in a game in forever. I had no thoughts of that kind of going into the game. Erik has done a good job for us. He’s earned his starts.”

Added Miley: “He’s been grinding away at this for a long time and [is an] unbelievable human being. I’ve gotten to know him — I played with him for like four days in Boston in 2015. But to actually get to know a guy, what a great human being. I’m proud to call him a teammate and just super excited that he’s having such a good year.”

Video: MIL@COL Gm3: Miley on working with Kratz

Bringing back memories

It was Ryan Braun who brought up the comparison first, and Mik Dalton Pompey Jersey e Moustakas who confirmed it. This Brewers bullpen, Moustakas said, is reminiscent of the one the forward-thinking Royals built in 2014 when that team went to the first of consecutive World Series, and not just because it featured a trio of lights-out arms at the back end in Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland — a la the ’18 Brewers’ Corey Knebel, Josh Hader and Jeremy Jeffress.

Both clubs also had important arms leading up to those finishers. For the Brewers, the group includes Joakim Soria and youngsters Woodruff and Burnes, who could figure again beginning Sunday after covering the first five innings of Game 1.

Video: MIL@COL Gm3: Moustakas on scrappy offense, bullpen

“You didn’t see too many teams with what we had in ’14 and ’15,” Moustakas said. “What it does for an offense is it takes all the pressure off of you. You go out there, you fight for one run, you fight for two runs. If they tie the game, you go out there and you do whatever you can to get that one run going into the sixth inning. You don’t have to play for big innings. You don’t have to try to scrap three, four, five runs on the board, because you Devon Travis Jersey  know those guys at the end of that bullpen are not going to give up too many runs.

“It’s a very similar feel to what we have here right now. You get a lead late in the game, you turn it over to those guys, and good luck. It’s tough [on the opponent].”

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


Milwaukee Brewers,
Jimmy Nelson

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.

View Full Game Coverage

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.

View Full Game Coverage

:: 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