Dodgers-Brewers NLCS Joe Biagini Blue Jays Jersey positional breakdown

The Dodgers are the six-time defending National League West champions, while the Brewers needed a tiebreaker to win just their fourth division title in nearly five decades of existence.

None of that really matters when it comes to who will win the upcoming NL Championship Series, but it does go to show you just how differently the recent history of these two teams has been. While the Dodgers are in the midst of long-running success, the Brewers were a fourth-place team as recently as 2015 and ’16, and they saw their turnaround fueled by a multitude of successful trades and signi Joe Biagini Jersey ngs.

The Dodgers are the six-time defending National League West champions, while the Brewers needed a tiebreaker to win just their fourth division title in nearly five decades of existence.

None of that really matters when it comes to who will win the upcoming NL Championship Series, but it does go to show you just how differently the recent history of these two teams has been. While the Dodgers are in the midst of long-running success, the Brewer Joe Carter Jersey s were a fourth-place team as recently as 2015 and ’16, and they saw their turnaround fueled by a multitude of successful trades and signings.

Milwaukee has also won 11 straight games, dating back to Sept. 22. The Brewers have baseball’s hottest hitter in right field, a deep bullpen that more than makes up for any weakness in the rotation, and a manager who isn’t afraid to deploy his pitchers aggressively. They may not have the postseason experience of the Dodgers, but then again, that doesn’t really matter, does it?

Video: Dodgers, Brewers set for Game 1 of the NLCS

Let’s go position by position to see who has the edge. 

Catcher

Yasmani Grandal (.241/.349/.466, with 24 homers) had the third-best hitting line of the 27 catchers who had 300 plate appearances, and he also rated as baseball’s best pitch framer (+17 runs), as he so often does; there’s a strong argument to make that only J.T. Realmuto had a better all-around year among regular catchers. Despite the unexpectedly strong October run of Erik Kratz (.236/.280/.355 during the season) and the strong defense of Manny Pina (.252/.307/.395), neither Brewers backstop can match up to Grandal. 

Advantage: Dodgers

Video: ATL@LAD Gm2: Grandal belts a solo home run to right

First Base

:: NLCS schedule and results ::

The Brewers have a 28-year-old breakout star taking advantage of an opportunity to play after years in the Minors. But so do the Dodgers, almost exactly; both Jesus Aguilar (.274/.352/.539, with 35 home runs) and Max Muncy (.263/.391/.582, with 35 home runs) were born in the summer of 1990. So, why do the Dodgers get the edge here? Because Muncy has a 39-point edge in OBP and a 43-point edge in slugging, and because Los Angeles also has David Freese, who’s made a career out of smashing lefty pitching, and Milwaukee has a pair of southpaw starting pitchers.

Advantage: Dodgers

Second Base

Speaking of similarities: Both teams have starting second basemen who spent much of the year playing other spots, and both teams acquired veteran sluggers in July who failed to add much value to their new clubs. (Brian Dozier hit .182/.300/.350 for the Dodgers after arriving from Minnesota; Jonathan Schoop hit .202/.246/.331 for the Brewers after coming over from the Orioles.)

As for those starters, however, Travis Shaw (.241/.345/.480, with 32 homers) hit well and fielded capably after a mid-season shift from third to second, and somehow he still played more second-base innings than Enrique Hernandez (.256/.336/.470 with 21 homers) did. Shaw gets the small edge due to a better track record with the bat, though he may be somewhat vulnerable to a lefty-heavy Dodgers rotation after hitting just two of his 32 homers against lefties in 2018.

Small advantage: Brewers

Video: McCalvy on season series between Brewers and Dodgers

Shortstop

We should note that Orlando Arcia has had some big moments lately, including going 4-for-4 in the NL Central tiebreaker, but his .236/.268/.307 line made him one of the weakest hitters in baseball this year. Hernan  Joe Biagini Blue Jays Jersey Perez, who is expected to be in the lineup vs. Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw in Game 1, had a .253/.290/.386 batting line on the season, but he did post a .783 OPS in 125 plate appearaces vs. lefties this year. Of course, Manny Machado (.297/.367/.538, with 37 homers) put up his usual big offensive season, even if Arcia gives the Brewers a clear defensive edge when he’s in the lineup. Joe Carter Throwback Jersey 

Big advantage: Dodgers

Video: Machado on pressure from being traded to Dodgers

Third Base

Mike Moustakas (.251/.315/.459) provided the Brewers with a league-average bat and average fielding, which is more valuable than it sounds, because it allowed Shaw to move to second to replace the ineffective Jonathan Villar. Of course, Justin Turner (.312/.406/.518) is a full half-decade into being one of the most dangerous hitters in the game.

Advantage: Dodgers

Video: SD@LAD: Turner belts a 2-run double down the line

Left Field

With Chris Taylor no longer playing nearly as much infield as he did earlier in the year, he sees most of his time here, platooning with Joc Pederson. Taylor (.254/.331/.444) hasn’t had a strong season, but Pederson (.248/.321/.522) has, putting up a top-25 slugging rate among players with as many plate appearances as he had. And since none of the three are strong defenders, that slugging edge gives the Dodgers a small advantage over Ryan Braun (.254/.313/.469).

Small advantage: Dodgers

Center Field

Though the Dodgers cycle Taylor, Hernandez, and Pederson through this spot as well, this has largely been Cody Bellinger‘s job, and he (.260/.343/.470) has hit basically as well as Lorenzo Cain (.308/.395/.417) has, with Bellinger having the power edge and Cain having a large on-base advantage. The difference here is that while Bellinger plays a solid outfield (+4 Outs Above Average), Cain (+18 OAA) is one of the best defenders in the sport. That gives Milwaukee a solid edge. 

Advantage: Brewers

Video: MLB Tonight: Cain reacts to the Brewers’ NLDS sweep

Right Field

Yasiel Puig (.267/.327/.494) and Matt Kemp (.290/.338/.481) each had solid seasons for the Dodgers, with batting seasons that were about 20 percent above-average. Of course, Christian Yelich (.326/.402/.598, with 36 home runs and 22 steals) is the slam-dunk NL Most Valuable Player Award winner, so no, this one’s not close. 

Big advantage: Brewers

Video: Yelich on newfound attention from this season

Starting Pitchers

For all their similarities, these two teams could not look more different on the mound. The Dodgers are going to roll out a strong quartet of Kershaw, Hyun-Jin RyuWalker Buehler and Rich Hill, who combined for a 2.82 ERA this year; they have so many starters that they’ve sent Ross Stripling, Kenta Maeda and Alex Wood to reinforce the bullpen. While Milwaukee’s Jhoulys Chacin is better than you think, he wouldn’t crack the Los Angeles rotation — nor would Wade Miley or Gio Gonzalez, who is starting Game 1 against Kershaw — and they’ll possibly just go with a bullpen day at least once.

Video: NLCS Gm1: Kershaw faces Gonzalez in Milwaukee

That makes this a big edge for the Dodgers, but that’s OK, because … 

Huge advantage: Dodgers

Relief Pitchers

… the Brewers have an equally large — if not larger — advantage in relief. It’s how their pitching staff is built, after all. If you take what we’ll arbitrarily call their top five relievers, including Josh Hader, Jeremy Jeffress, Corey Knebel, Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes, that group had a 2.54 ERA and more than 12 strikeouts per nine innings.  

It’s not that the Dodgers’ bullpen is bad, necessarily. They actually had baseball’s second-best relief ERA (behind Milwaukee, of course) in September, because there’s a lot of talent there in names like Caleb Ferguson, Ryan Madson, Pedro Baez and Scott Alexander, in addition to the trio of former starters. That said, Kenley Jansen‘s season has been something of a roller coaster, and even if it wasn’t, this group hasn’t shown the same dominance as the Milwaukee relief crew.

Huge advantage: Brewers

Video: LAD@MIL Gm1: Counsell on dominant Brewers’ bullpen

Prediction

This one is close, maybe closer than you might think, and could easily go either way. We’ll take the Dodgers in 7.

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


Milwaukee Brewers,
Los Angeles Dodgers

Manny Ma Joe Biagini Blue Jays Jersey chado, Jonathan Schoop meet in NLCS

MILWAUKEE — Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop were longtime friends with the Orioles who took divergent paths this summer only to meet again. They had dinner plans at a downtown Milwaukee steakhouse on Thursday night before their new teams, the Dodgers and Brewers, meet in the National League Championship Series.

Of course that was the matchup. Of course Machado and Schoop meet again.

MILWAUKEE — Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop were longtime friends with the Orioles who took divergent paths this summer only to meet again. They had dinner plans at a downtown Milwaukee steakhouse on Thursday night before their new teams, the Dodgers and Brewers, meet in the National League Championship Series.

Of c Joe Carter Throwback Jersey ourse that was the matchup. Of course Machado and Schoop meet again.

When the Orioles traded Machado to the Dodgers, his first game was in Milwaukee against the Brewers. When Baltimore traded Schoop to the Brewers two weeks later, his first game was in Los Angeles against the Dodgers. Now they’ll be on the same field again for Game 1 tonight.

:: NLCS schedule and results ::

“Something special is going to happen,” Schoop said. “Me and him, same team and then playing against each other. For me and him, i Joe Carter Jersey t’s beyond friends.”

“Relationships always go farther than sports,” said Machado.

• Dodgers-Brewers G1: Lineups, matchups, FAQs

Schoop broke down and cried when Machado called on July 18 to say he’d been traded to the Dodgers. The two met in the instructional league in the fall of 2010, a  Joe Biagini Blue Jays Jersey year after Baltimore signed Schoop out of Curacao and a few months after Machado was drafted third overall. Both were shortstops, but Schoop moved to third base to accommodate Machado. It was the first of a series of position switches for both players.

They remained teammates in Class A ball in 2011 and Double-A in ’12 before Machado moved up to the Major Leagues. Schoop joined him late in ’13, and beginning in ’14, they were fixtures in the Orioles infield while growing as close as brothers off the field. They played chess and video games. FIFA is still their favorite, Schoop said.

• Who has the edge? NLCS position by position

Machado was the brighter star, making four All-Star teams with Baltimore. But Schoop was solid in his own right, hitting a career-high 32 home runs with 105 RBIs and earning his own All-Star appearance in 2017.

“Me and him, it’s like brothers now,” Schoop said. “Friends forever. Baseball makes you more than teammates.”

But baseball also split the brothers apart.

Machado made an early impact with the Dodgers, reaching safely four times in his debut in the first game after the All-Star break, a win over the Brewers at Miller Park. But Schoop slumped. He slashed .202/.246/.331 in 134 Brewers plate appearances, though there was a big moment against the Giants on Sept. 9, when he hit a go-ahead grand slam off Madison Bumgarner to send the Brewers to a three-game series sweep.

Video: SF@MIL: Schoop crushes a go-ahead grand slam in 6th

Schoop’s at-bats diminished down the stretch, though the Dodgers’ lefty-heavy starting rotation — three of their four announced starters, beginning with Clayton Kershaw in Game 1, are southpaws — means Schoop could play a more prominent role.

• Ryu gets Game 2 nod; Buehler, Hill to follow

Early on during Schoop’s struggles, Machado sent supportive texts: “You know you’re good. You know you can do it because you did it already, so don’t press. Go out there and have fun. You have a really good team, so compete. You’re at your best when you just have fun out there.”

Most of their texts are more playful. When Milwaukee’s visit to Dodger Stadium coincided with Schoop’s July 31 trade to the Brewers, the very first text was from Machado.

“He told me, ‘I’m going to see you again. I’m going to play against you, and I’m going to beat you,'” Schoop said.

A lot of their back-and-forth goes like that.

“I mean, we go way back,” Machado said. “I’ve known him for eight years. We came up together, we started playing together. We’ve done everything together for eight years in an organization. We grew our relationship. He’s one of my best friends. It’s just relationships that you build on through the years.”

Video: Machado on pressure from being traded to Dodgers

Machado once said he was the one who convinced Schoop to stop ordering his steaks well done.

That’s what was on the menu Thursday night.

“Outside of baseball, we’re friends,” Schoop said. “Inside, tomorrow, we’re going to be enemies.”

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


Milwa Joe Biagini Jersey ukee Brewers,
Los Angeles Dodgers,
Manny Machado,
Jonathan Schoop

Gio Gonzalez to star Joe Biagini Blue Jays Jersey t Game 1 of NLCS

MILWAUKEE — It’s not that Craig Counsell and the Brewers are philosophically averse to your idea of what a Game 1 starter is supposed to be.

“Randy Johnson would be probably first on my draft list,” said Counsell, referring to his former D-backs teammate who dominated during the 2001 postseason. “If you could pick a player for me to take in the series, I’d say him in a heartbeat, you know? It would be nice to have him.

MILWAUKEE — It’s not that Craig Counsell and the Brewers are philosophically averse to your idea of what a Game 1 starter is supposed to be.

“Randy Johnson would be probably first on my draft list,” said Counsell, referring to his former D-backs teammate who dominated during the 2001 postseason. “If you could pick a player for me to take in the series, I’d say him in a heartbeat, you know? It would be nice to have him.

:: NLCS schedule and results ::

“Our team’s different.”

There’s no Johnson, but there is a Gio Gonzalez. Spring Joe Carter Jersey ing a surprise for the second straight postseason series, Milwaukee announced it will send the veteran left-hander to the mound to start Game 1 of the National League Championship Series against the Dodgers tonight at Miller Park, despite the fact Gonzalez didn’t throw a single pitch in the NL Division Series against the Rockies.

• Dodgers-Brewers G1: Lineups, matchups, FAQs

Another veteran lefty, Wade Miley, will start Game 2. Right-hander Jhoulys Chacin, the Brewers’ steadiest starter all season and the presumptive favorite to pitch Game 1, was instead penciled in to start Game 3 at Dodger Stadium.

Unless he’s needed before then.

“[Chacin] is available in Game 1,” Counsell said.

This untraditional approach has worked for Milwaukee all year. The Brewers rode just enough starting pitching and a fantastic bullpen to an NL-best and franchise-record-tying 96 regular-season victories before sweeping the Rockies in the NLDS.

Video: NLCS Gm1: Counsell discusses Gonzalez starting Game 1

Rest along the way has allowed Counsell, pitching coach Derek Johnson and Milwaukee’s analytically minded front office to make creative choices. The Brewers were off every Thursday in September, then had two full days off before the NLDS by virtue of winning the NL Central and will be coming off four full days off when they take the field against the Dodgers.

“From what I see, they didn’t need me in the first round,” Gonzalez said.

• Brewers win tonight means free burgers for Wisconsin

This round looks different. While the Rockies mashed left-handers in the run to the NLDS, the Dodgers were just as good against right-handers. Even after acquiring Manny Machado, Los Angeles logged a .750 OPS against left-handers after the All-Star break, including their NLDS win over the Braves. Compare that to an NL-best .833 OPS against righties after the break.

Video: NLCS Gm1: Kershaw faces Gonzalez in Milwaukee

Gonzalez will be well rested. He didn’t appear in the Brewers’ NL Division Series sweep of the Rockies and hasn’t pitched since Sept. 30. The 33-year-old was acquired in a trade with the Nationals on Aug. 31 and went 3-0 with a 2.13 ERA in five September starts with Milwaukee.

This will be Gonzalez’s seventh postseason start. He owns a 4.78 ERA through 26 1/3 playoff innings, including a start against the Dodgers in Game 3 of the 2016 NLDS. He allowed three runs on four hits (one home run) and a walk over 4 1/3 innings at Dodger Stadium.

“Look, it’s no secret that we’re going to use our pitching a little differently than the traditionalists would like,” Counsell said. “For us, the first matchup that we liked was Gio on the mound. We’re asking Gio to go out there and get a bunch of outs. How many? You know, we’ll just see how it goes. Joe Biagini Blue Jays Jersey “

Video: MLB Now discuss the state of the Brewers’ rotation

That raises the prospect that Gonzalez could be used as a sort of “opener” in an effort to take away some of the Los Angeles’ bench options. If the Dodgers stack the lineup with right-handed hitters and the Brewers switch from Gonzalez to a right-handed reliever earlier in the game, it would force manager Dave Roberts to make some difficult choices. Roberts announced one of them on Thursday night: Right-handed hitter David Freese will start at first base over Max Muncy. The last time Miller Park hosted an NLCS in 2011, Freese was series MVP for the Cardinals. 

“How long each guy goes, that’s up to Craig,” Roberts said. “But I do think that in a seven-game series, regardless of how good a bullpen is, the more innings you can have them log, I think that that’s in our best interest. So the idea of ‘beating the starter’ still for me makes sense.”

Asked about the possibility of an early bullpen call, Gonzalez said he told Counsell, “Any way you need me, any style of pitching, I’m in.”

Video: DET@MIL: Gonzalez tosses 5 scoreless innings

It’s worked for the Brewers so far.

“I’m grateful I get to pitch another postseason game and with another team now,” Gonzalez said. “I was almost on my way home at the end of September [had I stayed with the Nationals]. So to sit here, and I’m pitching Game 1 of the second round, I think that’s pretty remarkable, pretty incredible, and hopefully, I get to tell my kids about this one day.”

As for the Brewers’ other scheduled starters, Miley made his first career postseason appearance and pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings against the Rockies in Sunday’s NLDS clincher. He went 5-2 with a 2.57 ERA in 16 regular-season starts.

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

Chacin hurled 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball in the Brewers’ victory in the NL Central tiebreaker over the Cubs and followed that up with five shutout innings in Game 2 of the NLDS. A free-agent acquisition last offseason, Chacin posted a 3.50 ERA in a career-high 35 starts with Milwaukee in 2018.

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

“It doesn’t matter what game you pitch, whether you’re the first or Game 7,” Chacin said. “The only thing you want is to win and keep moving forward. [Gonzalez] has been in the playoffs a lot, and you see how he prepares mentally for every game. … I think it’s good we have him here. I think he’s a good guy to pitch the first game.”

Jeffress explains absence in Game 163
Closer Jeremy Jeffress and the Brewers had been reluctant to  Joe Carter Throwback Jersey explain why the All-Star reliever was unavailable to pitch in the NL Central tiebreaker against the Cubs on Oct. 1, but Jeffress shared it with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Thursday: He was sidelined with issues related to epilepsy.

Jeffress has had periodic seizures since 2008 when he was in Milwaukee’s Minor League system, but he wasn’t diagnosed with juvenile epilepsy until five years later. Since then, he has worked to manage the symptoms and has done so with great success. That final week of the regular season, however, the Brewers opted to hold him out of Game 163. Josh Hader covered the final two innings against the Cubs while Jeffress sat in the clubhouse.

“I’ve had to deal with issues related to epilepsy throughout my life,” Jeffress told the Journal Sentinel. “It’s not an everyday thing, not something that happens a lot, but it’s part of my life. That Monday in Chicago, I was working through it and they decided to hold me out. I was good to pitch and ready to go but respect their decision.”

He returned to action in the NLDS against the Rockies with a blown save in Game 1, which Milwaukee won in 10 innings. Jeffress bounced back and registered a two-inning save in Game 2, and then in Game 3, he surrendered a single and a walk in the ninth inning before Hader finished a 6-0 shutout.

Video: COL@MIL Gm2: Jeffress seals Game 2 win for Brewers

Stearns not going anywhere
The Brewers’ resurgence continues to draw attention of clubs looking to return to contention in a similar way. MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal reported on Thursday that the Giants asked for permission to interview Milwaukee general manager David Stearns to become their next president of baseball operations.

Rosenthal reported that Brewers owner Mark Attanasio denied the request from San Francisco, which fired GM Bobby Evans earlier this month. Giants executive chief vice president of baseball operations Brian Sabean is believed to be leading their search along with club president Larry Baer.

The news came on the same day Milwaukee senior advisor Doug Melvin was scheduled to interview for the Mets’ GM opening, according to several reports. Melvin, 66, served as the Brewers’ GM from 2002-15, when Stearns was hired.

Hometown hero
When he retired from playing after the 2011 season, Counsell said on Thursday that his goal was to remain with the Brewers “to help baseball in Milwaukee and in Wisconsin.” Those motives feel crystallized for Counsell, given where the Brewers are under his watch: four wins away from their first World Series since 1982.

Video: LAD@MIL Gm1: Counsell on dominant Brewers’ bullpen

That history isn’t lost on the skipper, who was born in nearby Whitefish Bay, raised in Milwaukee and spent six seasons of his 16-year playing career with the Brewers. Those roots make him more public a figure in Milwaukee than most managers. Counsell is greeted by strangers while getting his morning coffee and regularly spotted around town. Interactions with fans have only become more frequent during the Brewers’ postseason push.

“It’s a thrill,” Counsell said. “I do feel like baseball in Wisconsin and Milwaukee is part of my responsibility, and the best reason to celebrate this, for me, is how you see it makes everybody feel and how we’ve been able to take our fans on a journey here this month and hopefully find some new fans that are enjoying baseball.”

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

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


Milwaukee Brewers,
Jhoulys Chacin,
Gio Gonzalez,
Wade Miley

Christian Y Joe Biagini Blue Jays Jersey elich excited to play in hometown

MILWAUKEE — The whole season has been a dream for Christian Yelich, really, and it keeps getting better. It’s about to continue with a National League Championship Series against his boyhood team.

Yelich grew up in Thousand Oaks, Calif., just up the 101 freeway from Dodger Stadium. He attended too many Dodgers games as a kid to count, starting with a climb to the powder blue seats in the upper deck as a seven-year-old. More recently, he found a spot in the stands for an October game during the Dodgers’ recent run of postseason appearances.

MILWAUKEE — The whole season has been a dream for Christian Yelich, really, and it keeps getting better. It’s about to continue with a National League Championship Series against his boyhood team.

Yelich grew up in Thousand Oaks, Calif., just up the 101 freeway from Dodger Stadium. He attended too many Dodgers games as a kid to count, starting with a climb to the powder blue seats in the upper deck as a seven-year-old. More recently, he found a spot in the stands for an Octo Joe Carter Jersey ber game during the Dodgers’ recent run of postseason appearances.

:: NLCS schedule and results ::

“I have a ton of friends and family that are diehard Dodger fans who say that they’re not right now. I never thought I’d see the day, honestly,” Yelich said. “My whole life, they always told me, ‘If you ever play the Dodgers in the playoffs, we’d root for you to do well, but the Dodgers to win.’

“Now they want the Brewers to win. They’ve come a long way.”

• Game 1: Lineups, matchups, FAQs

So has Yelich, who was a heck of a ballplayer with the Marlins — good enough to net four premium prospects in a late January trade — but has turned into something else with the Brewers. A solid first half made Yelich an NL All-Star, and an otherworldly second half left him flirting with the Triple Crown and heading into the postseason as the frontrunner for the NL MVP Award.

The Rockies pitched him carefully in the NL Division Series after Yelich’s two-run homer in Game 1, walking him six times in Milwaukee’s three-game sweep.

Video: MLB Tonight breaks down Yelich’s breakout season

Now he’s the player to watch in the NLCS.

• Recapping Brewers-Dodgers matchups this season

You knew that, of course. But perhaps you did not know the numbers. The Dodgers boast a solid starting rotation with three left-handers; Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Rich Hill. The best of them is Kershaw, the three-time NL Cy Young Award winner who is lined up to start NLCS Game 1 against Gio Gonzalez on Friday night. But Yelich is 9-for-17 with a pair of home runs in regular season matchups against L.A.’s ace, including a home run in July at Miller Park that sparked a Brewers come-from-behind win over Kershaw and the Dodgers.

Video: LAD@MIL: Yelich hammers a solo dinger to center field

Against the pitchers on the Dodgers’ NLDS roster, Yelich has a .409/.429/.636 career slash line. Against all left-handed pitchers during the 2018 regular season, Yelich slashed .337/.396/.587. He was better against right-handers, as you’d expect. But not by much.

“Really good hitter,” Kershaw said. “Obviously, he’s had a tremendous second half. You know, who knows if this is what he could have done in Miami? But he’s definitely swinging the bat very well, and honestly, I’m about to go look right now, so I don’t know what he’s changed since the last time I faced him or anything like that. But yeah, he’s gotten some hits off me, for sure, and I’m going to try not to let him do that [in Game 1].”

Said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts: “Obviously, you’re aware of him, and you have to kind of sequence him the right way, because he’s swinging the bat very well. He’s an MVP.”

Those gaudy splits didn’t surprise Yelich’s teammates.

“Yelich hits lefties, righties, starters, relievers,” said Ryan Braun. “He hits velocity and offspeed. There’s nothing, really, that he doesn’t hit.”

Would Braun be surprised to hear that Yelich even hits Kershaw?

“He’s such a great, pure hitter, so it doesn’t surprise me,” Braun said. “It’s obviously challenging for lefties to hit other quality lefties, but we’ve seen it time and again, all year, he’s just elevated his game to a level where there are very few players on the planet who are as good as he is at playing this game.”

Braun grew up in Los Angeles as a Dodgers fan, too. So did Mike Moustakas. All said it would be special to play for a spot in the World Series at the ballpark they once visited as kids.

• Crew not shying away from underdog label vs. Dodgers

“I’ve sat all over that stadium,” said Yelich. “I was lucky enough to have some friends whose family had season tickets, and they would bring you along. It was before cell phones, so they’d call your house when you were eight years old — ‘Hey, you want to go to the Dodger game?’ The answer was always, ‘Yeah.’

“You would play your travel ball tournaments in the summer and go in your uniform to Dodger Stadium, change in the parking lot into normal clothes and then go in and watch batting practice and the game. You would go to that stadium hoping to one day be on that field, let alone in a playoff game in the situation we’re in as a team.

“It’s like a dream, I’m telling you. The whole year, really, has been crazy. But you could see this shaping up before the playoffs started. You just knew it was going to happen. Here we are.

“It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be loud.”

It shou Joe Carter Throwback Jersey ld be loud.

The World Series is on the line.

“Ten-year-old me probably would have never believed it was going to happen,” Yelich said. “In that aspect, it’s really cool. I’m going to have fun with it. Enjoy the experience, because it possibly could be a once-in-a-lifetime-type deal.”

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


Milwaukee Brewers,
Christian Yelich

Brewers’ Hiura h Joe Biagini Blue Jays Jersey as big hit in AFL opener

PEORIA, Ariz. — Keston Hiura swung a hot bat at the end of the Minor League season, the second of his professional career. After a month-long layoff, the Brewers’ No. 1 prospect returned to action and quickly delivered a big hit on Arizona Fall League Opening Day.

Hiura, MLB Pipeline’s No Joe Biagini Blue Jays Jersey . 30 overall prospect, belted a three-run double in the Peoria Javelinas’ 8-7 win over the Glendale Desert Dogs at Peoria Sports Complex on Tuesday.

PEORIA, Ariz. — Keston Hiura swung a hot bat at the end of the Minor League season, the second of his professional career. After a month-long layoff, the Brewers’ No. 1 prospect returned to action and quickly delivered a big hit on Arizona Fall League Opening Day.

Hiura, MLB Pipeline’s No. 30 overall prospect, belted a three-run double in the Peoria Javelinas’ 8-7 win over the Glendale Desert Dogs at Peoria Sports Complex on Tuesday.

2018 Arizona Fall League rosters

After striking out in his first two at-bats, Hiura came to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs in the fourth inning. He crushed the first pitch he saw from Andre Scrubb, a Dodgers farmhand, off the center-field wall to clear the bases and put Peoria ahead, 5-2.

• Box Score

“It’s been a few weeks since the season ended, so I knew that at the beginning the timing was going to be a little off,” said Hiura, who went 1-for-3, reaching base three times and stealing two bases.

“He threw a first-pitch fastball with the bases loaded. I was trying to be aggressive and was able to put the barrel on the ball.”

Hiura is the fourth-highest ranked prospect playing in the AFL this season. In 123 games between Double-A Biloxi and Class A Advanced Carolina this year, the second baseman batted .293/.357/.464 with 13 home runs, 34 doubles and 43 RBIs.

Playing against some of MLB’s other top prospects and farmhands from around the Majors, Hiura plans to use the AFL season not only to get more at-bats, but also to work on his defense. The second baseman has always had a potent bat, so improving his defense could help his all-around game.

“For me, it’s to get more reps on defense, as many reps as I can get off the bat and through different positions,” Hiura said. “That’s my main goal and what I really want to take out of this.”

Other notable performances

• Ian Miller (Mariners’ No. 20) went 1-for-5, but his first hit of the AFL season was a big one. The left fielder walked it off with a bases-loaded RBI single in the ninth to win it for Peoria.

• Evan White (Mariners’ No. 2) went 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI doubles, reaching base four times for Peoria. He drew a pair of walks and scored a run.

• Luis Robert (White Sox No. 4, No. 44 overall) went 1-for-4 with an RBI single, a walk and two runs scored for Glendale. He cut Peoria’s lead to 7-5 in the seventh, then Glendale scored pair of runs in the eighth to tie it.

Lucius Fox (Rays’ No. 9) batted leadoff for Peoria, going 2-for-5 with two runs scored and a pair of stolen bases. He swiped both second and third during the third inning.

Jake Rill is an editorial producer for MLB.com based in Phoenix.

Dominant pitching, Erik Kratz help Joe Biagini Blue Jays Jersey power Crew

MILWAUKEE — After completing a sweep of the Rockies in the National League Division Series with a 6-0 win on Sunday at Coors Field, the Brewers took Monday off before resuming workouts in advance of the NL Championship Series against the Dodgers. Game 1 is Friday at Miller Park.

It was a chance to rest those hard-worked relievers and also to look back on the first postseason series sweep in franchise history. It put Milwaukee one step away from its first World Series appearance since 1982.

MILWAUKEE — After completing a sweep of the Rockies in the National League Division Series with a 6-0 win on Sunday at Coors Field, the Brewers took Monday off before resuming workouts in advance of the NL Championship Series against the Dodgers. Game 1 is Friday at Miller Park.

It was a chance to rest those hard-worked relievers and also to look back on the first postseason series sweep in franchise history. It put Milwaukee one step away from its first World Series appearance since 1982.

:: NLCS schedule and results ::

“At midseason I said, ‘We’re a playoff team, we’re not a World Series team yet,'” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “Then I told the team in Chicago [after the Brewers clinched the NL Central], ‘This is a World Series team.’ We’ve played like it. We’ve matured as a team. Our additions have helped in that regard. We’ve got a lot of different ways to  Joe Biagini Jersey beat you, and that’s what you have to do as a World Series team.”

Here’s some of what we learned in the NLDS:

‘Out-getting’ works in a  Joe Biagini Blue Jays Jersey best-of-five series
The Brewers rolled into the NLDS with 11 pitchers and 14 position players on their roster because the format meant they would not play more than two days in a row. That allowed Counsell to piece together 27 outs (or 30, in the case of Game 1) with starters that included an “opener” — Brandon Woodruff for three hitless innings in Game 1, followed by Jhoulys Chacin on short rest for five innings in Game 2 and Wade Miley for 4 2/3 innings in Game 3 — and using Joakim Soria, Corey Knebel, Josh Hader and Jeremy Jeffress in all three games against the Rockies. Theoretically, Milwaukee might have been able to use them in all five games had the series gone that far.

• Brewers ride dominant relief corps to NLCS

It all worked beautifully, with Brewers pitchers setting an NLDS record by allowing only two runs while holding the Rockies scoreless in 27 of the 28 innings in the series.

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

Now, how will it look in a best-of-seven series with the 2-3-2 format?

“In a seven-game series, it’s a different series,” Counsell said. “I’ll tell you it’s a different series, and we’ll have to look at our pitching differently.”

• Crew’s arms set tone in unconventional roles

That means innings from the “initial out-getters” will be more valuable to ease the strain on the A-list relievers at the back end of the bullpen. On Thursday, Counsell named Gio Gonzalez to start Game 1 of the NLCS, with Miley tabbed for Game 2 and Chacin getting the call for Game 3.

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

Corbin Burnes is the X-factor
A year ago, Burnes was named Brewers Minor League Pitcher of the Year after a big season at Double-A Biloxi. In July, Milwaukee called the right-hander up to the big leagues to see if he could help cover some innings out of the bullpen. Burnes fired his first Major League pitch to the backstop at Marlins Park.

On Sunday, the 23-year-old was entrusted with protecting a 4-0 lead in the seventh and eighth innings of the clinching game at Coors Field, where four-run leads don’t mean the same as they do elsewhere.

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

He’ll be in the starting rotation next season, but right now, Burnes is as much a part of the Brewers’ relief puzzle as those other high-leverage arms.

Including two hitless innings of Game 3, Burnes worked four scoreless innings in the NLDS, allowing one hit and no walks while striking out five.

“There’s three or four guys that get a majority of the attention, but if you look at the way Corbin Burnes is throwing the ball right now, the way Brandon Woodruff is throwing the ball right now, those guys are as good as anybody in baseball,” Ryan Braun said. “Hader’s been doing it all year. [Jeffress] has been doing it all year. Corey Knebel was arguably the best reliever in baseball last year. But we’re six or seven deep out there. We have so much confidence in all of those guys. It’s difficult to explain. It’s almost impossible to expect it to continue, but we’ve seen it time and time again, and they’re pitching their best when it matters most.”

Video: COL@MIL Gm1: Burnes fans 3 over 2 hitless frames

Erik Kratz is an offensive threat
Former Brewers general manager Doug Melvin used to always say that even the most expertly constructed team needed a surprise contributor or two to really be great. When Milwaukee last made the NLCS, it was Nyjer Morgan. This postseason, it looks like Kratz.

At 38, Kratz made his postseason debut in Game 2 of the NLDS at Miller Park and became the oldest player to start a game in his postseason debut since Milwaukee native Lave Cross for the 1905 Philadelphia Athletics.

“We played together in rookie ball,” Kratz joked.

• Kratz shocked he made it to second on line drive

But he wasn’t just the answer to a trivia question. Picked up from the Yankees’ Triple-A club in late May, Kratz posted a .634 OPS in 219 plate appearances for the Brewers during the regular season but might have been their offensive MVP in the NLDS. (It’s an unofficial title, as MLB doesn’t select series MVPs until the LCS round.) After collecting five Major League hits in 20 Joe Carter Jersey 15, eight in ’16 and two in ’17, Kratz tallied five hits in his two games in the NLDS, including a two-run single that loomed large in Game 2 and three more hits, including a double, in Game 3.

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

Kratz handled Chacin and Miley’s starts down the stretch, so he is poised to continue playing a significant role in the NLCS.

It’s not just a human-interest story. Kratz is helping lengthen the Brewers’ lineup.

• Erik Kratz is this year’s David Ross

“It’s amazing. … He’s going out there giving us huge at-bats, delivering in the clutch,” Lorenzo Cain said. “We’re definitely going to need our complete lineup, everybody going out there and getting it done.”

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

Kratz, who is on his seventh big league team and 10th organization, is trying to soak it in.

“Nobody knows where their career is headed,” he said. “Surreal? Yeah, it’s surreal. I know that I’m extremely blessed to be in this moment with these guys. It’s not about me. It’s about these guys. It’s about the opportunity to be here. It’s something you can’t explain.”

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


Milwaukee Brewers,
Corbin Burnes,
Jhoulys Chacin,
Erik Kratz,
Wade Miley,
Brandon Woodruff

Dodgers-Brewers Game 1 lineups and bul Joe Biagini Blue Jays Jersey lpens

MILWAUKEE — The National League Championship Series will pit a pair of well-rested teams when the Dodgers meet the Brewers at Miller Park for Game 1 tonight.

Teams don’t get any hotter than the Brewers, who have won 11 consecutive games, including a sweep of the Rockies in the NL Division Series during which Milwaukee’s deep pitching staff set an NLDS record by allowing only two runs, and held Colorado scoreless in 27 of 28 innings.

View Full Game Coverage

MILWAUKEE — The National League Championship Series will pit a pair of well-rested teams when the Dodgers meet the Brewers at Miller Park for Game 1 tonight.

Teams don’t get any hotter than the Brewers, who have won 11 consecutive games, including a sweep of the Rockies in the NL Division Series during which Milwaukee’s deep pitching staff set an NLDS record by allowing only two runs, and held Colorado scoreless in 27 of 28 innings.

View Full Game Coverage

The Brewers, who have strength in numbers, have decided to start left-hander Gio Gonzalez in Game 1, while the Dodgers will counter with their ace. Clayton Kershaw would have pitched Game 5 of the NLDS against the Braves had Manny Machado & Co. not closed things out in Game 4 on Monday, setting things up perfectly for L.A. heading into the best-of-seven NLCS. Kershaw allowed four runs (one earned) in six innings and took the loss in his only Miller Park start this year.

Postseason gear: Brewers | Dodgers

:: NLCS schedule and results ::

Starting lineups
Dodgers: With the Brewers starting lefty Gonzalez, the Dodgers’ lineup is almost similar to the one they used in Game 3 of the NLDS against Braves southpaw Sean Newcomb

1. Chris Taylor, LF
2. Justin Turner, 3B
3. David Freese, 1B
4. Manny Machado, SS
5. Matt Kemp, RF
6. Enrique Hernandez, 2B
7. Cody Bellinger, CF
8. Yasmani Grandal, C
9. Clayton Kershaw, P

Brewers: With Kershaw going for L.A., the Brewers are employing a righty-heavy lineup Friday.

1. Lorenzo Cain, CF
2. Christian Yelich, RF
3. Ryan Braun, LF
4. Jesus Aguilar, 1B
5. Hernan Perez, 2B
6. Mike Moustakas, 3B
7. Manny Pina, C
8. Orlando Arcia, SS
9. Gio Gonzalez, P

Who are the starting pitchers?
Dodgers: After Kershaw in Game 1, the Dodgers will start Hyun-Jin Ryu in Game 2, Walker Buehler in Game 3 and Rich Hill in Game 4. With eight scoreless innings against the Braves in Game 2, Kershaw showed he can still dominate even after losing some fastball velocity. Ryu still relishes the big game. After his seven scoreless innings against the Braves, he has a 1.96 ERA in four postseason starts. Buehler came unglued in a five-run second inning with noisy Atlanta fans helping speed up Game 3 of the NLDS, so management decided to start him at home against the Brewers. He steadied the ship with three more scoreless innings to rest the bullpen. Hill struggled with a tight strike zone in the NLDS clincher, but he’s immune to postseason pressure. The lefty also could be used in relief in the first two games.

Video: Dodgers, Brewers set for Game 1 of the NLCS

Brewers: After tabbing Brandon Woodruff to start a bullpen day in Game 1 of the NLDS, the Brewers had another surprise in store for Game 1 of the NLCS. They are going with Gonzalez, the veteran acquired from the Nationals on Aug. 31 who made five regular-season starts for the Brewers in September but didn’t throw a single pitch in the NLDS against the Rockies. He did not face the Dodgers at all in 2018, and in fact has not faced them since June 5, 2017, for Washington at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers had a .730 OPS against left-handers in ’18 (it increased to .750 after they added Machado at the All-Star break), compared to an NL-best .798 mark against right-handers.

Video: NLCS Gm1: Gonzalez on expectations for Game 1 start

How will the bullpens line up after the starter?
Dodgers: After a challenging regular season that included coasting in Spring Training, a hamstring injury and another heart scare, Kenley Jansen was back at his best in two appearances against the Braves, which was probably the best of all outcomes in the series. Kenta Maeda is the setup man again this postseason, with Pedro Baez continuing his under-the-radar great comeback and Scott Alexander is the situational lefty. Caleb Ferguson and Alex Wood were the other two lefties, and Ryan Madson and Dylan Floro delivered big outs. Ross Stripling might replace one of the above after making a delivery adjustment to eliminate pitch-tipping that might have contributed to his second-half fade. Roberts also suggested that Josh Fields or Julio Urias could make the roster.

Video: LAD@ATL Gm4: Jansen seals win to send Dodgers to NLCS

Brewers: Milwaukee and Los Angeles rank 1 and 2 in relievers’ ERA since the start of September, led by the Brewers’ sparkling 1.89 — nearly a run better than the rest of the Joe Biagini Jersey  pack. Left-hander Josh Hader and right-hander Jeremy Jeffress were the top options all season, but it was resurgent righty Corey Knebel who won NL Reliever of the Month honors for September after returning from a stint in Triple-A. In 19 scoreless appearances since his return, Knebel has faced 66 batters, allowed five hits, four walks and two hit batsmen while striking out 37. Veteran right-hander Joakim Soria, one of Milwaukee’s midseason trade additions, is the fourth member of the bullpen “A” team, though rookie Corbin Burnes has pitched his way into the group including four scoreless innings in the NLDS. It’s an exceptionally deep group, and the clear strength of a team that led the NL with 96 wins in the regular season.

“We’ve used the word depth a lot, and sometimes you feel like it’s just a buzz word, but in our case, I think it’s really important,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said.

Video: LAD@MIL Gm1: Counsell on dominant Brewers’ bullpen

Are there any relievers who are unavailable?
Dodgers: No.

Brewers: No.

Video: MLB Tonight on Brewers’ pitching strategy for NLCS

An Joe Carter Throwback Jersey y injuries of note?
Dodgers: No.

Brewers: No.

Video: LAD@MIL Gm1: Roberts on lack of home field, emotions

Who is hot and who is not?
Dodgers: As a team, the Dodgers batted just .210 in the NLDS, but slugged eight homers, two each by Machado and Muncy. They also drew a staggering 27 walks in the four games, illustrating their approach to stay in the zone, attack strikes or take walks, and pass the baton to the next in line. Bellinger, however, is 0-for-11 in his first postseason action since going 4-for-28 with 17 strikeouts in last year’s World Series. Grandal had one homer, but was hitless his other 12 at-bats. The Dodgers have considered carrying an extra bat like Chase Utley or Kyle Farmer to help combat Milwaukee’s deep bullpen.

Video: LAD@ATL Gm4: Machado crushes a 3-run jack in the 7th

Brewers: Yelich pulled away from the pack of competitors vying for the NL MVP Award with a .770 slugging percentage after the All-Star break, capped by a sensational September that included hitting for a pair of cycles. He kept producing into October, with three hits in Game 163 against the Cubs and a two-run homer in Game 1 of the NLDS against the Rockies. Colorado pitched carefully to Yelich, who had just two hits but walked six times. Milwaukee’s other big offseason acquisition, Cain, was 0-for-10 in the postseason before logging a fifth-inning single in Game 3 against the Rockies. He’ll try to get going in the NLCS; Cain was the ALCS MVP in 2014.

And look out for the 38-year-old catcher Kratz, who was 5-for-8 in his two NLDS starts after becoming the oldest player to start his postseason debut since Lave Cross of the 1905 Philadelphia Athletics.

“You want everybody to go into these four days off feeling really good about themselves,” said Braun, the only player remaining from Milwaukee’s last NLCS entry in 2011. “We know we can be better than we’ve been over the past few games.”

Video: Christian Yelich discusses growing up a Dodgers fan

Anything else fans might want to know?
The Dodgers won the regular-season series between the teams, 4-3, including an entertaining four-game series at Dodger Stadium that straddled the end of July and beginning of August. That series included a 1-0 Brewers win followed by Los Angeles’ extra-inning walk-off, then the 21-run rout. … Milwaukee’s 11-game winning streak — which includes the final eight games of the regular season and an NLDS sweep — is the second-longest in franchise history. The longest belongs to the 1987 “Team Streak”, which set an American League record with a 13-0 start to the year. … With temperatures possibly in the 30s tonight, the roof at Miller Park is expected to be closed.

Video: NLCS Gm1: Counsell discusses handling pitcher usage

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

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

Brewers trades that turned the tea Joe Biagini Blue Jays Jersey m around

The Brewers had 25 players on the active roster when they swept the Rockies in the National League Division Series, 22 of whom appeared in games. Of those 25, only four were drafted by Milwaukee and never left: pitchers Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff, shortstop Orlando Arcia, and outfielder Ryan Braun — and in Braun’s case, it’s now been over 13 years since he was taken fifth overall in the 2005 Draft.

So it goes for Milwaukee, which has completed a turnaround from 94 losses in 2015 and 89 more in ’16 in stunningly quick fashion, in part because general manager David Stearns (and to some extent his predecessor, Doug Melvin, who held the position from 2002-15) has piled moves upon other moves in order to build a roster that enters the National League Championship Series on an 11-game winning streak.

The Brewers had 25 players on the active roster when they swept the Rockies in the National League Division Series, 22 of whom appeared in games. Of those 25, only four were drafted by Milwaukee and never left: pitchers Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff, shortstop Orlando Arcia, and outfielder Ryan Braun — and in Braun’s case, it’s now been over 13 years since he was taken fifth overall in the 2005 Draft.

So it goes for Milwaukee, which has completed a turnaround from 94 losses in 2015 and 89 more in ’16 in stunningly quick fashion, in part because general manager David Stearns (and to some extent his predecessor, Doug Melvin, who held the position from 2002-15) has piled moves upon other moves in order to build a roster that enters the National League Championship Series on an 11-game winning streak.

Of the 30 teams, the Brewers were essentially tied with the A’s for the lowest percentage of Wins Above Replacement provided this year by homegrown players — a grand total of 2 WAR, mostly from Braun. (For context: Mike Trout and Mookie Betts just completed 10-win seasons. All homegrown Brewers combined equaled one-fifth of that.)

Your initial reaction might be to think, “That’s bad. That this is an indictment of a farm system that admittedly hasn’t had much luck with their top Draft picks.” (The only Milwaukee first-rounder drafted since 2009 to make an impact is Mitch Haniger, and he’s done his best work for Seattle.) Perhaps so. Then again, it shows that this isn’t a situation where a small-market team is only succeeding because poor results have led to high Draft picks. It’s that prospects can be just as valuable in terms of who they are traded for as they can be producing for their original team.

The Brewers have built this team via waiver claims, like Jesus Aguilar, Hernan Perez, and Junior Guerra. They’ve signed Major League free agents, like Lorenzo Cain, Wade Miley, Dan Jennings, and Jhoulys Chacin. They’ve signed international (re)imports, like Eric Thames. They’ve made purchases, like Erik Kratz.

Milwaukee has taken risks, too, overstuffing its infield during the season and asking third baseman Travis Shaw to play second base, which he’s done adequately despite his total lack of experience there. But this is really a story about the Brewers’ trades: The ones you know, and the connections you might not realize.

In one sense, it all started when Cain and Jeremy Jeffress first left town, nearly eight years ago. For example, did you know that Cain and Jeffress indirectly played a role in the arrival of Christian Yelich?

Let’s connect the dots.

Dec. 19, 2010: Cain, Jeffress, Alcides Escobar, and Jake Odorizzi traded from the Brewers to the Royals for Zack Greinke and Yuniesky Betancourt

This was the trade that formed the nucleus of the 2014-’15 Kansas City pennant winners (Odorizzi went to Tampa Bay as part of the deal to acquire James Shields and Wade Davis), but it’s still being felt in Milwaukee, too, and not just because Cain and Jeffress came back. Greinke gave the Brewers a solid year and a half, but that was just the start of it.

July 27, 2012: Grienke traded from the Brewers to the Angels for Johnny Hellweg, Ariel Pena and Jean Segura

Segura actually didn’t do much for Milwaukee, hitting .266/.302/.361 in parts of four seasons. Hellweg and Pena didn’t do anything at all, really. Still, Segura would provide value to the Brewers in the end regardless. 

Jan. 30, 2016: Segura and Tyler Wagner traded from the Brewers to the D-backs for Isan Diaz, Chase Anderson, and Aaron Hill.

Though Anderson didn’t pitch in the NLDS, he’s been a key member of the rotation over the last three years, giving Milwaukee a 3.71 ERA in 86 games. While Hill wasn’t with the Brewers for long, the name to know there is Diaz.

Aug. 1, 2016: Jeffress and Jonathan Lucroy traded from the Brewers to the Rangers for Lewis Brinson, Luis Ortiz, and Ryan Cordell

Later that year, Jeffress — who’d returned as a free agent in 2014 and would return yet again in ’17 — and longtime catcher Lucroy were sent to Texas for a trio of prospects. Lucroy is on his third team since leaving the Brewers and has never hit like he did in Milwaukee. Cordell was traded in 2017 for Anthony Swarzak, who was fantastic down the stretch last year, but now you know where Brinson came from, and now you know where Diaz came from, and that’s about to be a big deal when you remember who went into the biggest trade the Brewers have made yet. 

Jan. 25, 2018: Diaz, Brinson, Monte Harrison and Jordan Yamamoto traded from the Brewers to t Joe Biagini Blue Jays Jersey he Marlins for Yelich

Yelich is almost certainly going to win the National League Most Valuable Player Award, and his contract runs through 2022, if the Brewers exercise a team option that will see him make less than $13 million per year in that span. It cost them two of their homegrown prospects and two others acquired via trade, and given the early struggles of Harrison and Brinson, it looks like this could potentially go down as a heist.

Video: COL@MIL Gm1: Yelich cranks 2-run homer in 3rd

Before we move on, remember Ortiz, who also arrived in the Lucroy deal? He came in handy, as well.

July 31, 2018: Ortiz, Jonathan Villar, and Jean Carmona traded from the Brewers to the Orioles for Jonathan Schoop

Schoop hasn’t done much for Milwaukee, it should be noted, and he received only two plate appearances in the NLDS, though he was an All-Star for the Orioles in 2017. For now, he’s an infield depth piece and potentially a starting option in 2019 and came at the cost of Ortiz, Carmona, and Villar, himself acquired via trade from Houston for Cy Sneed in 2015. 

Speaking of trades with Houston, this 2015 deal, often mistakenly credited to Stearns but actually one of Melvin’s final moves, has proven to be the gift that keeps on giving. (Stearns played a role, however; he was the Astros assistant GM at the time.)

July 30, 2015: Brewers traded Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers to Astros for Josh Hader, Brett Phillips, Domingo Santana, and Adrian Houser

This one happened only a couple of days after the infamously canceled trade that would have sent Gomez to the Mets for Wilmer Flores and Zack Wheeler. While Wheeler blossomed into an ace this year, it’s incredible to think how different the Brewers would feel without Hader. (Not to mention that the Mets wouldn’t have then traded Michael Fulmer and Luis Cessa for Yoenis Cespedes, and then the Tigers wouldn’t have had Cessa to move with Chad Green for Justin Wilson, who then went to Chicago for Jeimer Candelario, and so on.)  

Obviously, Hader has become one of the most feared relievers in baseball, and Santana showed he can be an above-average power hitter, though the arrival of Cain and Yelich bumped him from the lineup in 2018. For the same reason, Phillips got only 122 Milwaukee plate appearances in 2017-’18, until he helped in a different way.

July 27, 2018: Brewers trade Phillips and Jorge Lopez to Royals for Mike Moustakas

Moustakas has done for the Brewers exactly what he’s always done, which is to say be a roughly league-average player with a decent glove and good power who is somewhat limited by on-base skills. More importantly, by pushing Shaw to second, he’s given the lineup another solid bat, as Shaw took the spot of Villar, who had hit only .261/.315/.377.

So those are the big, inter-connected trades; here are several others that stand alone and have had an impact.

Video: COL@MIL Gm 2: Counsell on Moustakas’ play in the NLDS

Jan. 19, 2015: Brewers trade Yovani Gallardo to Rangers for Corey Knebel, Luis Sardinas, and Marcos Diplan

Gallardo had been Milwaukee’s ace for years, and only five pitchers have ever started more games for the Brewers. At the time of the trade, Knebel was coming off an elbow injury and an unimpressive debut; now, he’s spent the last two years in high leverage innings for the Brewers. After briefly struggling in August, he struck out 33 in 16 games in September, allowing zero runs. 

Knebel had originally been a Tigers  Joe Carter Throwback Jersey draftee and had been traded to Texas in July of 2014 for … Joakim Soria, now his teammate in Milwaukee after Stearns picked him up from the White Sox in July. 

July 31, 2015: Brewers trade Gerardo Parra to Orioles for Zach Davies

This one is both good (Davies has made 80 starts for the Brewers, and Parra was an easily replaceable veteran) and bad (Parra had originally been acquired for Haniger and Anthony Banda, a Melvin trade that doesn’t look so good right now).

Stearns was hired that September. In December, he set about making his mark.

Dec. 9, 2015: Brewers trade Adam Lind to Mariners for Freddy Peralta, Carlos Herrera, and Daniel Missaki.

Lind had had a nice season for the Brewers in 2015, but it’s not hard to find defensively limited first basemen with power — they’d find just that with Chris Carter in 2016 — and the prize of this deal ended up being Peralta, who had a shockingly effective partial rookie season in 2018 and doesn’t turn 23 until next June. 

Dec. 10, 2015: Brewers acquire Manny Pina as player to be named from a November trade that sent Francisco Rodriguez to Tigers.

Pina has been a competent hitter as a backup catcher, and he’s developed a reputation as a strong catcher thanks to his elite pop time.  

Dec. 17, 2015: Brewers send Jason Rogers to Pirates for Keon Broxton and Trey Supak.

Broxton has had an up-and-down Milwaukee career. He did hit 20 homers and steal 21 bases with very good defense in 2017, but an inflated strikeout rate led to him spending much of 2018 in Triple-A. But he did help finish off the Rockies with a home run off Wade Davis, while Rogers had two hits for Pittsburgh and wasn’t in affiliated ball in 2018. Trade won.

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

Dec. 6, 2016: Brewers trade Tyler Thornburg to Red Sox for Shaw, Mauricio Dubon, and Josh Pennington.

Shaw was a relatively unheralded young player coming off a below-average season in 2016. It’s safe to say he’s been somewhat more than that for Milwaukee, hitting 63 homers in two seasons and seamlessly moving around the diamond. Thornburg rarely stayed healthy for the Brewers and hasn’t for the Red Sox either. Dubon, by the way, currently ranks as Milwaukee’s No. 7 prospect per MLB Pipeline.

It hasn’t always worked out, of course. Milwaukee might wish it still had Haniger, Khris Davis, Scooter Gennett, Will Smith or Ji-Man Choi, all ex-Brewers who found success elsewhere in 2018. Your batting average on moves is never going to be 1.000. They don’t have to be. You just have to hit on more than you miss. So far, so good on that.

Stearns, and Melvin before him, have been aggressive in the right ways. They gambled that Cain would continue to be a star Joe Carter Jersey , and he was. They didn’t overextend on risky free-agent starters Jake Arrieta, Alex Cobb, Yu Darvish, or Lance Lynn, despite the injury to Jimmy Nelson. They signed Chacin and Miley, they traded for Gio Gonzalez, and it’s mostly worked out. 

The Brewers are headed to only their second LCS since reaching the World Series in 1982. It’s not all about Stearns, obviously. It’s just hard to see them getting this far without the aggressive moves he’s made.

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


Milwaukee Brewers

Recapping Dodgers-Brewers matchu Joe Biagini Blue Jays Jersey ps this season

MILWAUKEE — If the best-of-seven National League Championship Series is as compelling as the seven games the Dodgers and Brewers played in the regular season, it will be a good one.

MILWAUKEE — If the best-of-seven National League Championship Series is as compelling as the seven games the Dodgers and Brewers played in the regular season, it will be a good one.

:: NLCS schedule and results ::

The season series went to a Game 7, which Los Angeles won … really, really, really won. But along the way, the teams traded memorable player debuts and highlight-reel defensive plays, a Milwaukee comeback against Clayton Kershaw and a Dodgers walk-off at home. Now, they will meet again for the NL pennant, beginning Friday night at Miller Park.

Here’s a look back at the teams’ regular-season drama:

Friday, July 20
Dodgers 6, Brewers 4 at Miller Park
The headline: Dodgers win Manny’s debut

With young shortstop Orlando Arcia in the midst of a slump that spanned most of the season, the Brewers made a strong offer for then-Orioles All-Star Manny Machado, only to see Baltimore trade him to the team that opened the second half of the season at Miller Park: the Dodgers. Machado, relieved to be able to focus on baseball after months of trade rumors, singled off Milwaukee left-hander Wade Miley in his first Dodgers at-bat and finished with two hits and two walks in a game decided by Enrique Hernandez‘s three-run homer in the ninth inning off Brandon Woodruff.

“It was amazing to go out there and put on that uniform,” Machado said.

Video: LAD@MIL: Machado collects 2 hits in his Dodgers debut

Saturday, July 21
Brewers 4, Dodgers 2 at Miller Park
The headline: Brewers stage comeback vs. Kershaw

The series-opening loss extended Milwaukee’s losing streak to seven, its longest skid all season, and part of a larger funk leading into and coming out of the All-Star break during which the Brewers lost nine of 11 games. But with baseball being baseball, they snapped the skid against Kershaw in the lefty’s first loss since April.

Ryan Braun returned from the disabled list and scored twice, reaching on one Dodgers error and scoring the go-ahead run on another, as Milwaukee took advantage of miscues to score three unearned runs. Christian Yelich stayed hot with a game-tying home run, and rookie Corbin Burnes extinguished a bases-loaded no-out jam in the fifth inning on the way to his first Major League win in his home debut. Burnes tagged out Kershaw trying to score on a pitch in the dirt for the first out of that escape. This was also the night that Brewers relief ace Josh Hader returned to work after tearfully apologizing for hateful tweets he sent as a teenager.

Video: LAD@MIL: Burnes covers the plate to tag Kershaw

“I feel like you just need one [win], just to get some positive vibe back on the team,” Yelich said. “You break through, you can take a deep breath and be like, ‘All right, we got back on the right side of things and now we can just try and build off that.'”

Video: LAD@MIL: Yelich homers in Brewers’ 3-run 6th inning

Sunday, July 22
Dodgers 11, Brewers 2 at Miller Park
The headline: Kemp powers L.A. rout

Matt Kemp‘s return to L.A. included one multihomer game. It was this one, in which he led off consecutive innings against Milwaukee left-hander Brent Suter with homers to help the Dodgers score 11 unanswered runs after Milwaukee took a first-inning lead against Alex Wood. It got so bad for the Brewers that they pitched multiple position players (Hernan Perez and Erik Kratz) for the first time since 1979 — but not the last time in 2018.

• Perez, Kratz pitch well in finale

Video: LAD@MIL: Kemp’s HR, Machado’s 1st RBI spur 5-run 2nd

“I can’t imagine a much deeper lineup,” Wood said. “It’s the deepest one I’ve ever played with. It feels like we have eight guys every night and it’s, ‘Who’s going to be the game-changer?’ It’s a lot of fun to be out there pitching.”

This game proved costly for both teams. Justin Turner exited with a groin injury and would miss the rest of the month. Suter strained his forearm and was diagnosed with a torn UCL that required Tommy John surgery.

Monday, July 30
Brewers 5, Dodgers 2 at Dodger Stadium
The headline: Brewers stay hot out west

If Milwaukee general manager David Stearns was seeking motivation to make last-minute additions to a roster he’d just fortified with trades for White Sox closer Joakim Soria and Royals slugger Mike Moustakas, the Brewers provided it by winning for the fourth time in the first five games of a West  Joe Carter Jersey Coast road trip, the final contest before the non-waiver Trade Deadline. An inning after the stadium lights went out, Eric Thames smashed a three-run home run off Kenta Maeda, and the Brewers “A” relievers — Hader, Soria, Jeremy Jeffress and Corey Knebel — covered the final five innings. Get ready to see a heavy dose of those five pitchers in the NLCS, including Maeda, who is now an integral member of the Dodgers’ relief corps.

Video: MIL@LAD: Th Joe Biagini Jersey ames cranks a 3-run home run to center

For Los Angeles, Machado provided a silver lining by hitting a home run in his Dodger Stadium debut.

Video: MIL@LAD: Machado goes yard in home debut with Dodgers

Tuesday, July 31
Brewers 1, Dodgers 0 at Dodger Stadium
The headline: Cain carries Crew

Lorenzo Cain climbed the wall, and the Brewers climbed back to first place just in time for the calendar to flip to August. In the narrowest of victories hours after Milwaukee’s bid to land a starting pitcher at the non-waiver Trade Deadline fell short, Cain drove in the game’s only run with a double in the third inning before saving a run in the seventh with the best of a series of superlative defensive plays. He leaped at the center-field wall to pull back Cody Bellinger‘s high fly, preserving what became a two-hit shutout for Miley and relievers Soria and Jeffress.

“I said, ‘Damn,'” Bellinger said. “That’s all you can say.”

Video: MIL@LAD: Cain takes a home run away from Bellinger

The Brewers didn’t get a starter that day, but they did swing a surprising trade for Baltimore infielder Jonathan Schoop, who struggled to contribute down the stretch. Ditto for the Dodgers’ additions that day: second baseman Brian Dozier and reliever John Axford.

Wednesday, August 1
Dodgers 6, Brewers 4 at Dodger Stadium
The headline: Grandal’s walk-off homer seals see-saw affair

Dozier had a big night in his Dodgers debut, going 3-for-4 with a home run, and Yasmani Grandal had a bigger night, following a productive July with a pair of home runs on the first day of August, including a two-run home run in the 10th inning off Brewers reliever Matt Albers after Kemp snapped an 0-for-26 funk with a single. The win, a back-and-forth battle in which Los Angeles trailed, 2-0 after three innings, tied the game at 2 in the fifth and took a 4-2 lead in the seventh only to see it slip away in the eighth on run-scoring hits for Moustakas and Milwaukee catcher Manny Pina, snapped the Dodgers’ three-game losing streak and lifted them into a tie with Arizona atop the NL West.

Video: MIL@LAD: Grandal rescues Dodgers with 2-homer game

“This was very much like the playoffs,” said Moustakas, who made the defensive play of the game in the eighth inning to deny the Dodgers a win in regulation. “Playoff atmosphere. The crowd was into it, [the Dodgers] were into it, we were into it. It was fun. This is what baseball is about, coming down the stretch and playing these types of games.”

Thursday, August 2
Dodgers 21, Brewers 5 at Dodger Stadium
The headline: Dodgers score three touchdowns

For all the drama of the first three games of the series, the finale was an absolute rout. In a matchup of Jhoulys Chacin and Kershaw that could be repeated in Game 1 of the NLCS, the Brewers set a franchise record by allowing 21 runs and Los Angeles set a Dodger Stadium record for runs scored while matching the franchise record for a home game by clubbing seven home runs. Joc Pederson and Yasiel Puig each homered twice, and Bellinger delivered the game’s big blow when he followed a disputed walk with a grand slam off Chacin that gave L.A. a 5-1 lead in the third inning. Once again, the Brewers called upon both Perez and Kratz to pitch an inning.

For the Dodgers, it was a heck of a tune-up for a visit from the Astros, who were in L.A. next for a rematch of the 2017 World Series.

“There’s no letdowns one through nine [in the Dodgers’ batting order], which makes an offensive team really good,” said Dozier. “It’s not just ‘sit back and hit with power’ and that kind of thing. It’s running the bases right and speed mixed with power.”

Video: MIL@LAD: Dodgers tally 7 homers en route to 21-5 win

For the Brewers, it was “move on to tomorrow,” said manager Craig Counsell.

It’s that simple?

“Yeah, it is. It is that simple,” Counse Joe Carter Throwback Jersey ll said. “That’s what we do. We lost, we move on to tomorrow.”

Two months later, the teams are ready for a rematch.

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


Los Angeles Dodgers,
Milwaukee Brewers

Brewers’ p Joe Biagini Blue Jays Jersey itching plan against Dodgers in NLCS

In the postseason, in the biggest games, teams start their aces whenever they can. For the Dodgers, that’s clearly Clayton Kershaw, who is going to get the ball in Friday’s Game 1 of the National League Championship Series. For the Brewers, it’s not quite so clear. As they’ve made clear all season and especially in the NL Division Series, their ace might not be one man. It might be the entire bullpen, deployed strategically as needed to put each pitcher in position to maximize their talents. 

That’s not to say they won’t kick off games with a traditional starting pitcher, because they often will. But we also saw them start rookie reliever Brandon Woodruff as the “initial out getter” in the first game of the NLDS, and we saw them start reliever Joe Carter Jersey an Jennings for all of three pitches to retire Matt Carpenter on Sept. 24.

In the postseason, in the biggest games, teams start their aces whenever they can. For the Dodgers, that’s clearly Clayton Kershaw, who is going to get the ball in Friday’s Game 1 of the National League Championship Series. For the Brewers, it’s not quite so clear. As they’ve made clear all season and especially in the NL Division Series, their ace might not be one man. It might be the entire bullpen, deployed strategically as needed to put each pitcher in position to maximize their talents. 

That’s not to say they won’t kick off games with a traditional starting pitcher, because they often will. But we also saw them start rookie reliever Brandon Woodruff as the “initial out getter” in the first game of the NLDS, and we saw them start reliever Dan Jennings for all of three pitches to retire Matt Carpenter on Sept. 24.

Now, they have a different challenge. The Rockies’ offense they faced in the NLDS was a weak group, one with several obvious flaws that managed to score in only one inning of the three games. The Dodgers, meanwhile, are a more formidable opponent, having led the National League in runs scored, home runs, slugging percentage and walk rate, and coming in second in hard-hit rate — to Milwaukee.

It helps, also, that Dave Roberts and his Dodgers have the depth and flexibility to counter some of Craig Counsell’s bullpen moves. Los Angeles is running clear platoons at first base, left field and right field, with an argument for a fourth at second, though Enrique Hernandez‘s production against righties and the struggles of Brian Dozier have muted that conversation for the moment.

Just look at how differently the Dodgers’ lineup functions against lefties or righties, at those three spots.

Max Muncy, Joc Pederson and Yasiel Puig
Against LHP .218/.292/.408 90 wRC+  (100 is league-average)
Against RHP .273/.365/.573 153 wRC+

Yes, Puig is a righty who starts against righties, as he’s now two full seasons into performing better against them than lefties. While Muncy has been strong against all pitchers, Pederson is unplayable against lefties, hitting .170/.211/.302. Against righties, this trio has been about as productive as Alex Bregman.

Matt Kemp, Chris Taylor and David Freese
Against LHP: .271/.341/.473 122 wRC+
Against RHP: .279/.339/.457 117 wRC+

This is the trio that enters against lefties, though the difference here really isn’t that stark. It’s mostly about covering for the weaknesses against lefties that the first group showed above. There’s so much depth here.

And that’s the question, really. What Dodgers lineup should the Brewers want to see, and when? Roberts’ lineup will be written in reaction to Counsell’s pitcher, so the Brewers have some control here.

There’s no shortage of ways they could play this. Let’s take a crack at it.

Game 1: Start Jhoulys Chacin
Chacin isn’t your traditional “ace,” but he’s been effective for Milwaukee, and part of the reason they went with Woodruff in Game 1 of the NLDS was because Chacin had pitched Game 163 just three days earlier. Thanks to a slider that is arguably one of the absolute best pitches in baseball, Chacin has actually been brutal on righty hitters, allowing a line of only .171/.244/.284 against.

Of the 95 starters to face 300 righty hitters, his weighted on-base average of .234 is third best, in the middle of some impressive names.
.205 — Jacob deGrom
.223 — Miles Mikolas
.234 — Chacin
.239 — Max Scherzer
.245 — Chris Sale / Zack Wheeler
.250 — Corey Kluber 

If Chacin being on the mound leads to the lefty Dodgers lineup, that could work for Milwaukee. Against righty sliders, Muncy hit .196, though with a .478 slugging. Pederson hit just .133 with a .333 slugging. (Counterpoint: Puig smashed righty sliders, with a .620 slugging percentage.)

Let him go through the order twice (.197/.285/.338 this year), then turn it over to the bullpen before he goes the third time or more (.278/.349/.432).

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

Game 2: Bullpen game
Let’s acknowledge that Wade Miley has been fine, and rookie Freddy Peralta is fine, and so are Chase Anderson and Gio Gonzalez and Zach Davies and Junior Guerra, but none are as good as a steady stream of high-quality relievers. Due to the travel day between Games 2 and 3, and assuming nothing disastrous happened to a well-rested group in Game 1, this is a good time to break out the relievers without burning them out for the rest of the series.

“There’s three or four guys that get a majority of the attention, but if you look at the way Corbin Burnes is throwing the ball right now, the way Brandon Woodruff is throwing the ball right now, those guys are as good as anybody in baseball,” said outfielder Ryan Braun about the quality of Milwaukee’s pitchers.

He’s not wrong. Let’s start with Woodruff here, since he’s long been a starter in the minors — over 80 percent of his pro starts have come as a starter — and he showed he could do it in NLDS Game 1. He’s shown almost no platoon split in his brief time in the bigs so far, which would let Roberts mix and match as he pleases. 

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

In the NLDS, Burnes followed, and he’s got fastball spin in the 95th percentile of righties. That makes for more interesting Los Angeles decisions, because you’d think Bellinger against righties would be a given, but he hit just .111 with a .111 slugging against high-spin righty four-seamers. It might be a weakness. Follow with Josh Hader, Corey Knebel, Joakim Soria, and Jeremy Jeffress as needed. 

Game 3: Start Gonzalez
Yes, Miley was a very nice find on a Minor League contract. Yes, he started ahead of Gonzalez in NLDS Game 3. But there was an argument in that case, because the game was at Coors Field, and because Miley keeps the ball on the ground a little better than Gonzalez does, which is important in that park. (Plus, the Rockies lineup isn’t strong.)

Otherwise: Gonzalez is just a better pitcher. As effective as Miley was this year (2.57 ERA), he just had a bottom-10 strikeout rate (14.8 percent) among pitchers who threw 80 innings. Looking back at the last two years, because Miley didn’t really pitch enough this year to make any platoon splits worthwhile, Gonzalez allowed a .547 OPS to lefties, while Miley was at .649. Against righties, Gonzalez has a .722 OPS; Miley has an .806 mark.

Either way, neither is going deep. Try to get four or five innings and then follow, again, with what ought to be a well-rested bullpen.

Game 4: Tandem starters. Miley, then Guer Joe Biagini Blue Jays Jersey ra or Peralta
Obviously, this depends on how things have gone. Chacin on short rest is possible, though not optimal. There’s an argument for Chase Anderson, but he hasn’t pitched since Sept. 18 at this point. There’s even a case to be made for another bullpen situation, though that’s not idea in the middle of what would be three games in a row in Los Angeles. 

Instead, we’ll say that Counsell will do a different version of a bullpen game, in a best attempt to get Roberts to exhaust his bench. While Miley’s new cutter did help his platoon issues this year, he’s long been better against righties than lefties. Peralta actually was much better against righties (.397 OPS) than he was against lefties this year (.865), while Guerra has had almost no splits at all over the last three years — and he struck out eight hitters without allowing a walk or a run in five September games after moving to relief.

Video: Girardi discusses Miley’s performance in Game 3 win

Mix and match, is the point, perhaps with lefties Xavier Cedeno or Jennings if either makes the roster, and hope that some of your late-inning weapons are rested enough to contribute.

Games 5-7: Wing it
“You can’t predict baseball,” as the saying goes, and so it’s foolish to wonder how things look by this point. The series could be over, for one thing, and it’s anyone’s guess how the pitching will work out over the first four games. The only thing you can really plan upon here is that any plan you hope to have will quickly be replaced by the plan you need to improvise. 

The Brewers are far from a traditional pitching staff, and the Dodgers have a powerful yet flexible lineup. It won’t be easy for either side. That’s sort of the point, though, isn’t it? You don’t get  Joe Carter Throwback Jersey one step away from the World Series because things have been easy.

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


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