Christian Yelich falls short of Tri Kevin Pillar Women’s Jersey ple Crown

CHICAGO — Christian Yelich didn’t become a Triple Crown winner, but he is a National League Central champion.

Yelich went 3-for-4 with an RBI in the Brewers’ 3-1 win over the Cubs on Monday that sealed the NL Central title in Game 163. Vying to become the 13th Triple Crown winner since 1920, Yelich fell two homers and an RBI short in his quest.

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CHICAGO — Christian Yelich didn’t become a Triple Crown winner, but he is a National League Central champion.

Yelich went 3-for-4 with an RBI in the Brewers’ 3-1 win over the Cubs on Monday that sealed the NL Central title in Game 163. Vying to become the 13th Triple Crown winner since 1920, Yelich fell two homers and an RBI short in his quest.

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:: NLDS presented by Doosan: Begins Thursday on MLB Network/FS1::

The 26-year-old, however, led the NL in hitting (.326), to become the first batting champion in Brewers history. But he finished second to the Cubs’ Javier Baez in RBIs (111-110) and third to Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story — who both went deep in the Rockies-Dodgers tiebreaker later Monday — in homers. Arenado finished with 38 long balls, Story had 37 and Yelich had 36.

Yelich was aiming for baseball’s first Triple Crown since the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera in 2012. Before that, it hadn Kevin Pillar Jersey ‘t been accomplished since Boston’s Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. The last NL player to do it was the Cardinals’ Joe Medwick in ’37.

• AaronS Sanchez Blue Jays Jersey hop for official NL Central champs merchandise

“He’s meant the world to this team, for sure,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell told ESPN’s Buster Olney during the bottom of the fourth inning. “He’s had an incredible month, really a historical month in my eyes. The definition of MVP — you talk about the numbers he’s put up plus the value to our team, it’s the MVP.”

Video: MIL@CHC: Counsell on Yelich’s season, bullpen usage

• MLB hitters who have won the Triple Crown

Merely having a chance for history was special.

Video: Yelich discusses winning the NL Central

“You never think of being in that conversation for the Triple Crown,” Yelich said on Sunday. “You don’t even dream about that. It’s a dumb dream. Get real. It’s something that you just have to embr Kevin Pillar Women’s Jersey ace and not shy away from but realize that, ‘Hey, we’ve got a bigger team goal.'”

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

Rested Kevin Pillar Women’s Jersey bullpen to help Brewers in NLDS

CHIC Kevin Pillar Women’s Jersey AGO — Bring on the Rockies. Or the Cubs again. The way the Brewers have been playing, they feel confident no matter the opponent in the National League Division Series.

Especially with a well-rested relief corps.

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CHICAGO — Bring on the Rockies. Or the Cubs again. The way the Brewers have been playing, they feel confident no matter th AaronS Sanchez Jersey e opponent in the National League Division Series.

Especially with a well-rested relief corps.

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Shop for NL Central champs merchandise

The bullpen will be fresh for Game 1 of the NLDS on Thursday at Miller Park. The time of the first pitch is to be determined, and so is the opponent, since it hinges on the result of Tuesday’s NL Wild Card Game presented by Hankook Tire between the Rockies and Cubs at Wrigley Field (7 p.m. CT on ESPN).

:: NLDS presented by Doosan: Begins Thursday on MLB Network/FS1::

The Brewers secured the NL’s top seed and home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs with a fantastic finish, winning 28 of their final 38 games, 10 of 11 and eight in a row, including Monday afternoon’s 3-1 win over the Cubs in the NL Central tiebreaker.

To get to that game, Milwaukee won 10 of its final 11 series, finishing with three-game sweeps at St. Louis and at home against Detroit.

Now the Brewers will try their turn at a best-of-five series. Manager Craig Counsell gave no indication who would start for Milwaukee in Game 1, though that’s no surprise. The Brewers didn’t announce Jhoulys Chacin for Game 163 until Monday morning.

“Over the last two weeks, we’ve played our best baseball,” said Ryan Braun, whose own finishing kick included hitting .344 with five home runs and 12 RBIs in his final 10 games of the regular season. “I don’t think it’s who the best team is, it’s about who the hottest team is. We’ve been hot down the stretch.”

Video: MIL@CHC: Ryan Braun on winning NL Central crown

That included turning things around against the rival Cubs, who won eight of the first nine games between the teams before the Brewers won eight of the final 11, including a pair of series victories in September plus Monday’s Game 163.

The Brewers outhit the Cubs in the finale, 12-3, and managed to beat nemesis Jose Quintana, whom they would surely meet again in an NLDS matchup considering his 1.62 ERA in 11 career starts against Milwaukee. The Brewers and Cubs met in six regular-season series, and Quintana managed to pitch in all of them.

“They won the division, bully for them,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “We have to move on and get ready for [the Wild Card Game]. There’s no lamenting, no crying, none of that.”

If it’s the Rockies, the Brewers would face an opponent they beat five times in sev AaronS Sanchez Blue Jays Jersey en regular-season matchups — three of four at Coors Field in May, and two of three in Milwaukee in August.

The goal would be the same: Win the series.

“That was our motto in September: Win series, and then we’ll see what happens in the end,” said Lorenzo Cain. “We were able to accomplish that.”

Video: MIL@CHC: Lorenzo Cain on winning the NL Central

The schedule helped the Brewers down the stretch. They were off each Thursday in September, offering rest for a bullpen that had MLB’s best ERA (1.98) after Sept. 1. Travel days in the postseason will have the same effect.

Milwaukee’s ‘pen was led by left-hander Josh Hader, who threw 35 pitches while recording the final six outs against Chicago on Monday and led MLB relievers with 140 strikeouts, and right-hander Jeremy Jeffress, a fellow NL All-Star who was unscored upon in 63 of his 73 regular-season appearances.

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

Jeffress was in uniform Monday but not available to pitch for undisclosed reasons, although general manager David Stearns said he would be a full participant in the NLDS.

“Two days off resets everybody,” Counsell said. “It lets us take a step back and get everything in order. We’ve been scra Kevin Pillar Jersey mbling because we had to win every night. We have to figure out who we’re playing, but it lets us reset.”

Video: Counsell gives speech after Brewers win NL Central

 And rest up for a big series against the Cubs or Rockies.

“Not just the bullpen, but the old guys,” joked Braun. “I need a couple days for my legs. They’ve got me playing every day. They’re overplaying me.”

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 hom Kevin Pillar Women’s Jersey ers in front of brother

MILWAUKEE — Christian Yelich is about to appear in the postseason for the first time. His Brewers have been the National League’s best team this month. He’s very likely closing in on the NL Most Valuable Player Award.

And his story just keeps getting better.

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MILWAUKEE — Christian Yelich is about to appear in the postseason for the first time. His Brewers have been the National League’s best team this month. He’s very likely closing in on the NL Most Valuable Player Award.

And his story just keeps getting better.

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Cameron Yelich — Christian’s youngest brother — was honorably discharged recently from the United States Marine Corps and attended the Brewers’ final regular-season series, which began on Friday with a 6-5 win over the Tigers at Miller Park. The brothers teamed up for the ceremonial first pitch while Brewers fans celebrated the team’s post-clinch homecoming, and then Christian continued the party by launching a two-run home run — his 34th — to key a game-tying three-run inning that reset the game.

He added two more walks and another run scored, but that first-pitch first-inning home run was the moment he’ll remember.

“My heart was pumping a little bit in that first at-bat with how loud the stadium was and everybody I had in attendance watching,” Christian Yelich said. “You’re just trying to catch your breath, so for that to happen on the first pitch was really cool. It’s really hard to describe. It was an awesome moment.”

Video: Christian, Cameron Yelich on Cameron attending game

Cameron had just enjoyed an awesome moment of his own, battling butterflies to deliver a ceremonial pitch on the fly to his brother at home plate.

“I haven’t seen him play since I was in the Marine Corps, so it’s super cool to come out here and throw the first pitch with the Brewers,” Cameron said. “I’m a little nervous. I haven’t thrown a baseball in a little while.”

A “little while” as in 12 years.

But it was an opportunity too good to pass.

“He texted me and said, ‘I’ve got to go practice,'” Christian said with a laugh before the game. “So don’t set the standards too high on the quality of the first pitch. We’ll see how it goes.”

Video: DET@MIL: Yelich’s brother throws first pitch

Cameron served a four-year commitment in the Marines, and he has not seen a Major League game in person since last May. Since then, his oldest brother made his first MLB All-Star team and has become one of the preeminent hitters in the sport.

Yelich’s 1.193 OPS in the second half is the best of any everyday player in the Major Leagues. The NL leader with a .322 batting average, he is within two home runs of league leader Matt Carpenter‘s 34 and within five RBIs of league leader Javier Baez‘s 111. He reached safely in nine consecutive plate appearances, including two home runs and seven walks, before taking a called strikeout in the seventh inning Friday.

It’s all earned the notice of the Brewers’ only two-time league MVP, Robin Yount, who dropped by for Milwaukee’s final homestand of the regular season.

“He’s got a lot more power than I had, and he plays a different game than I played,” Yount said. “I think he’s more talented than I was. He’s potentially got a number of MVPs in front of him, the things he’s capable of doing.”

Video: Robin Yount on Christian Yelich

Said another former league MVP, Ryan Braun, “I know [Craig] Counsell brought it up the other day, but it’s almost Barry Bonds-esque, if you look at how rarely he’s being pitched to and how often he’s doing damage with the opportunities he’s getting. Just continually stepping up and embracing the moment, embracing the situation he’s in. There’s a lot of pressure when you’re in that MVP discussion, and for him to continue to elevate his game night in and night out, it’s pretty remarkable. What we’re watching is greatness right now.”

And yet Yelich was more comfortable talking about his brother. Cameron enlisted in the Marines following his high school graduation and was promoted to sergeant earlier this year, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. At the time of his disch Kevin Pillar Women’s Jersey arge, Sgt. Cameron Yelich was part of the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, Weapons Company.

Earlier this year, Christian sent a large box of Brewers apparel to Cameron and his fellow Marines on base in Hawaii. Cameron’s friends responded by sending Christian a photograph of themselves wearing the gear, as well as a Marine Corps flag signed by the group.

Today, that flag hangs in the Brewers’ weight room at Miller Park.

“I think what he’s done is great,” Christian said. “It was a selfless four years, and I think he gained a lot from the experience, and we’re all thankful for everybody that serves this country. To get a greater understanding of what military families go through and the schedule was probably the most eye-opening thing, and I’m glad he’s back.”

Tweet from @jonmorosi: This year, @ChristianYelich sent @Brewers apparel to his brother Cameron and fellow Marines on base in Hawaii. The Marines responded by sending this photo and the flag you see in it. Today, that flag hangs in the Brewers weight room at Miller Park. @MLB @USMC pic.twitter.com/QmlkHEPyjY

Cameron’s overseas service included stints in Japan, Korea and the Philippines, his brother said. They stayed in touch via text, to the extent it was possible.

“There’s a lot of times where they don’t have cell service or they’re on the other side of the world and our schedules don’t exactly match up,” Christian said. “Sometimes text conversations can take a week, week and a half. But we found a way to get it done.”

While Christian excelled for the Stars and Stripes in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, Cameron trained with the Marines in Hawaii. After Team USA won the gold medal at Dodger Stadium — not far from where the three Yelich brothers grew up in Thousand Oaks, Calif. — Yelich told MLB Tonight, “What we did was nothing compared to what my brother does. [He] fights for our country and puts it all on the line. This was the next-best thing. This was the best thing that we could do.”

The admiration is mutual.

“Crazy, crazy year. I’m super proud of him,” said Cameron. “Hopefully he gets that MVP. We’ll see.”

Jon Paul Morosi is a columnist for MLB.com.

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

Ryan Braun hits 2 hom Kevin Pillar Women’s Jersey e runs in Brewers win

MILWAUKEE — Are the baseball gods wearing Brewers blue this week? If one believes in that sort of thing, it sure feels that way.

A sellout crowd filled Miller Park on Friday to welcome home Christian Yelich, Ryan Braun and the postseason-bound Brewers, who needed another dose of good fortune to beat the Tigers, 6-5, and remain alive in the race for the National League Central.

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MILWAUKEE — Are the baseball gods wearing Brewers blue this week? If one believes in that sort of thing, it sure feels that way.

A sellout crowd filled Miller Park on Friday to welcome home Christian Yelich, Ryan Braun and the postseason-bound Brewers, who needed another dose of good fortune to beat the Tigers, 6-5, and remain alive in the race for the National League Central.

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Yelich and Braun homered in a three-run first inning, and Braun made it a multihomer night in the eighth, when his tiebreaking solo shot hit the glove of right fielder Nicholas Castellanos and rolled along the top of the right field wall before dropping over.

Milwaukee remained one game behind the first-place Cubs with two to play after Chicago won its series opener with St. Louis earlier in the day, but 44,770 fans may have been wondering whether they were watching a Brewers team of destiny. Two days earlier, they ensured at least the top NL Wild Card spot after a Cardinals pinch-runner slipped around third base in the eighth inning for a crucial out in Milwaukee’s 2-1 win.

“The way this year has gone, I assumed [Castellanos] was going to catch it,” said Braun, who can point to a stack of spreadsheets showing he’s hit into hard luck all season.

Video: Must C Clutch: Braun hits 2 HRs, go-ahead jack in 8th

But this week has gone differently.

“It feels like when you’re playing good, you get the breaks,” Braun said. “It’s almost like you create the good luck.”

And that’s definitely what it was, from Brewers manager Craig Counsell’s vantage point.

“I just saw a replay,” Counsell said. “If he doesn’t put a glove on it, it doesn’t go over the fence. We caught a break.”

Video: DET@MIL: Counsell on Braun, Yelich in 6-5 win

“It kind of happened fast,” Castellanos said.

Friday’s game-changing break came after the Tigers stunned the crowd with a game-tying two-run home run for pinch-hitter Dawel Lugo off Brewers relief ace Josh Hader, who didn’t have his command while facing four batters in the eighth. Hader hit Jeimer Candelario with a pitch — Milwaukee challenged, but the call stood — to start the inning, before Lugo connected for Detroit’s first pinch-hit home run in more than two years.

At the outset of the game, it appeared good fortune was on the Tigers’ side in their first visit to Miller Park since 2006. They took a 3-0 lead against Zach Davies with five straight singles, none of them particularly hard-hit, before Yelich smashed a tying two-run home run in the bottom of the inning and Braun tied the game three batters later with a solo homer off Wisconsin native Jordan Zimmermann.

With a clean slate, Davies didn’t allow a hit over three more innings and saw the Brewers take a 5-3 lead by the end of his four-inning outing.

Even when that lead slipped away from Hader, Davies said, “I don’t think anybody in the dugout thought we were going to lose that game.”

Video: DET@MIL: Davies K’s Jones in the 1st

After missing time last week with a stiff back, Braun has five home runs in the last four games, including his 31st and 32nd career multihomer games. He hit one home run in the previous 28 games.

He reached 20 home runs for the ninth season, extending his own franchise record. Geoff Jenkins has seven seasons of 20-plus homers.

“He picked a good week to lock it in,” Counsell said. “With his resume and what he’s done, I’m not surprised. He’s done this before. He’s been here before.”

Braun suggested he felt it coming.

“I woke up on Monday and I told everybody, ‘I got you. As long as I stay healthy, I’m going to dominate the rest of the way,'” Braun said. “So far, so good. We’ve got two more big ones ahead of us.

“All we can do is continue to control the things we can control, handle our business here, win — and hope the Cardinals come through for us.”

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

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Another MVP moment: Yelich added to his personal highlight reel, first by teaming with a younger brother who recently returned from fulfilling his commitment to the Marine Corps for a ceremonial first pitch, then by hitting the first pitch he saw in the game for a momentum-swinging two-run home run. Yelich followed his homer with a walk and a run scored in the third and then another walk in the fourth to reach safely in a ninth consecutive plate appearance.

Tweet from @bruter24: This moment produced the most chills I���ve had at a game. The incredible Brewers fans erupted when @ChristianYelich walked to the dish and then he sent the first pitch he saw off the scoreboard, absolutely legendary #YeliForMVP #ThisIsMyMVP #ThisIsMyCrew https://t.co/OER3anSyrm

That stretch, which ended with a called strikeout Kevin Pillar Jersey  in the seventh, included a three-run homer, a two-run homer and seven walks. Yelich is the NL leader with a .322 batting average, is within two home runs of league leader Matt Carpenter‘s 34 and within five RBIs of league leader Javier Baez‘s 111.

“He just continues to do things every night that are insane, really,” Counsell said. “If you were voting for somebody else in the MVP [at the start of] September, you’d better look at his month of September. Don’t make up your mind. Re-look at the month of September, because he’s been absolutely amazing.” More >

Video: DET@MIL: Yelich clubs HR after brother’s first pitch

All square again: Hader has pitched 54 times this season. Friday marked only the seventh time he didn’t record a single strikeout. Lugo’s tying home run to left field was the infielder’s first of his Major League career.

“He just wasn’t sharp,” Counsell said. “A couple hitters got in  AaronS Sanchez Blue Jays Jersey some good counts with him, and give the guy credit. He hit a ball in on him for a homer. [Hader] just didn’t have it tonight, so we went to [Joakim] Soria, and he got us out of it. We bailed him out. Josh has certainly bailed us out a lot of nights.”

Video: DET@MIL: Lugo ties the game with 1st career homer

SOUND SMART
The Brewers have won eight of their last 10 games while outscoring opponents, 63-29. With their 93rd win, Milwaukee tied the 1978 “Bambi’s Bombers” Brewers for the fourth-most wins in franchise history.

Video: DET@MIL: Jeffress induces flyout to record the save

HE SAID IT
“[Postseason baseball] is the best. I wish it happened more often. The fans are extrem Kevin Pillar Women’s Jersey ely excited, as are the players, I’m sure — as am I.” Hall of Famer Robin Yount, who dropped by for the final weekend of the regular season

Video: Robin Yount on Christian Yelich

UP NEXT
Steady lefty Wade Miley takes the mound on Saturday at 6:10 p.m. CT, as the Brewers try to stay alive in the division race. It’s his 16th Brewers start, and he has yet to allow more than three earned runs in an outing. Left-hander Daniel Norris is scheduled for Detroit.

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


Milwaukee Brewers,
Ryan Braun,
Christian Yelich

Brewers Kevin Pillar Women’s Jersey win NL Central in Game 163

CHICAGO — On Sept. 1, the Brewers were five games behind the Cubs, and it looked like Wild Card or bust.

On Oct. 1, the Brewers beat the Cubs to win the National League Central.

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CHICAGO — On Sept. 1, the Brewers were five games behind the Cubs, and it looked like Wild Card or bust.

On Oct. 1, the Brewers beat the Cubs to win the National League Central.

View Full Game Coverage

Shop for official NL Central champs merchandise

It took a late-season charge capped by an eight-game winning streak and a 3-1 victory in Monday’s one-game tiebreaker at Wrigley Field, but the Brewers are division champions for the third time in 50 seasons as a franchise.

Video: MIL@CHC: Cain drives a go-ahead RBI single in the 8th

Lorenzo Cain and Ryan Braun hit RBI singles in a tiebreaking eighth inning before Josh Hader slammed the door on Game 163, sending the Brewers off to ruin the carpeting of a division rival for the second time in six days.

Video: MIL@CHC: Yelich nets 3 hits, SB in Brewers’ clincher

After clinching a spot in the postseason last week in St. Louis, they denied the Cubs a third straight division crown in Chicago — led down the stretch by leading NL MVP Award candidate Christian Yelich, who added three more hits and an RBI on Monday to become the first batting champion in Brewers history at .326.

:: NLDS presented by Doosan: Begins Thursday on MLB Network/FS1::

It’s the Cubs who will have to sweat out the NL Wild Card Game presented by Hankook Tire on Tuesday against the Rockies. The Brewers will await the winner in Game 1 of the NL Division Series on Thursday at Miller Park.

“We said Wednesday night that hopefully this was the first of many,” said Yelich amid the celebration. “Hopefully this is the second of many. It took us an extra game to get it done, but I’m proud of this team. This group of guys is something special.”

Said Cain, who came to the Brewers as a free-agent signing on the same January day that Yelich was acquired in a trade with the Marlins: “We knew what we needed to do, and we went out there and accomplished it. That’s the biggest thing. To celebrate, it feels great.”

They had company at Wrigley Field, since a larger than usual contingent of Brewers fans made the trip, chanting “M-V-P!” for Yelich and lingering while players mobbed the mound after the final out.

Video: MIL@CHC: Lorenzo Cain on winning the NL Central

“It’s fun. They’re passionate,” said Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo. “Wisconsin has passionate fans. When we weren’t very good, I experienced their fans being here a lot. I think it was a good atmosphere, a great atmosphere, a fun atmosphere to play in.”

The Brewers used the extra game to tie their all-time record with 96 victories, winning 28 of their final 38 games, 10 of 11 and eight in a row, including consecutive three-game sweeps of the Cardinals, to clinch a postseason spot for the first time since 2011, and of the Tigers, to force Monday’s tiebreaker.

Video: MIL@CHC: Chacin lets up 1 run, 1 hit in 5 2/3 innings

That run began back on Aug. 19 in St. Louis, where Jhoulys Chacin beat the Cardinals for the first time in 10 tries and the Brewers snapped a 10-game losing streak in series finales, prompting Chacin to say, “I think anything is possible now for me and the team.”

It turns out he was right.

“All year long, they said we didn’t have enough pitching,” said Brewers owner Mark Attanasio. “Well, they all found out differently today.”

Video: MIL@CHC: Attanasio on Brewers’ strong pitching

It was Chacin on the mound again Monday as the Brewers faced their toughest customer in Cubs left-hander Jose Quintana, who entered the afternoon with the lowest ERA in history against the Brewers (1.60) among pitchers who had faced Milwaukee at least 10 times.

But Quintana yielded hard contact from the start, dodging baserunners in four of his five innings on the mound but finding an escape route in each of those instances but the third. That’s when Orlando Arcia recorded the first of his four hits and advanced on the first of Chacin’s two sacrifice bunts before Yelich roped a two-out single to center field for a 1-0 lead.

Video: MIL@CHC: Arcia gets 4 hits, scores twice in Game 163

Orlando Arcia is the best dabber in baseball

Chacin made it stand through the end of the fourth, holding the Cubs hitless and facing the minimum until Rizzo led off the fifth inning with a home run so mammoth that no one on the field budged. It was Rizzo’s 25th of the regular season and left his bat at 110.6 mph, according to Statcast™.

“I was trying to go up and in with a four-seamer, and it wasn’t up or in enough,” said Chacin, shaking his head. “After that, I didn’t lose my focus. I knew I could keep it going.”

Video: MIL@CHC: Statcast™ measures Rizzo’s 110.6-mph homer

He did, allowing no more hits before yielding to Xavier Cedeno, Joakim Soria, Corey Knebel and Hader, who completed a three-hitter.

Brewers hitters provided a lead in an eighth inning that began against Cubs lefty Justin Wilson with another Arcia single. He moved to third when Domingo Santana improved to 8-for-18 as a September/October pinch-hitter with a double, and scored when Cain greeted Steve Cishek with a tiebreaking single to center field.

Video: MIL@CHC: Santana smacks pinch-hit double in the 8th

“I was really frustrated early in the game,” said Cain, who grounded out and flied out in a pair of earlier opportunities with a runner in scoring position. “That really ticks me off when I can’t get the runner in. I was going to do anything possible to come through in that situation for the boys. I was fired up.”

Two batters later, Braun hit another RBI single for insurance and raised his right arm in the air on the way to first base.

Video: MIL@CHC: Braun extends lead with an RBI single late

“Big players perform on big stages,” said general manager David Stearns, who took over three years ago amid a Brewers rebuild, even if he never used that word.

Now those big players can watch the Wild Card Games on television. The Brewers are on to the NLDS.

Brewers will have luxury of rested ‘pen for NLDS

“Thinking back now, these guys in this room always believed that we were gunning for the division,” said Stearns. “You never heard talk about ‘Wild Card’ in this room, which was pretty remarkable. We were back five games at some point in September. The guys in here kept their sights on the division. That served us well. Kevin Pillar Jersey “

Video: Must C Clinch: Brewers clutch in 8th, win NL Central

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Soria strikes out Baez: Chacin erased a leadoff walk in the sixth by inducing a 1-4-3 double play from Willson Contreras, but with lefty Daniel Murphy about to begin the Cubs’ third time through the order, the percentages said it was time for a pitching change. So the Brewers asked for one out from lefty Cedeno, who has been excellent since coming to Milwaukee in an Aug. 31 trade with the White Sox. But he surrendered Murphy’s sharp single before walking Ben Zobrist on four pitches. With NL RBI leader Javier Baez due next, another reliever acquired from the White Sox, Soria, took over and came back from a 3-1 count to strike out Baez swinging, ending the threat.

Video: MIL@CHC: Soria strikes out Baez, leaves 2 stranded

“We needed to stop that momentum that they had,” said Soria. “This is what I came here for, to win the division first, and then win the championship.”

Hader closes it out: Hader, who was not sharp Friday against the Tigers on one day of rest, emptied the tank Monday with 35 pitches, including his four fastest pitches of the year in the eighth, topping out at 99.2 mph, according to Statcast™. His previous season high was 98.4 mph, and his career high was 98.5 mph. It wasn’t until the end of that inning that Hader learned he was headed back out for the ninth against the top of Chicago’s order.

Video: MIL@CHC: Statcast™ measures Brewers’ flaming fastballs

Hader got the job done despite a two-out single for Baez that brought up Rizzo, the only left-handed hitter to hit a home run off him, and a familiar foe all season. On the fourth pitch, Rizzo lifted a routine fly ball to right fielder Keon Broxton, and the celebration was on.

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

“Adrenaline took it over,” Hader said. “There’s no tank, there’s no gauge for that. I just made it happen. [Rizzo] has been a good at-bat. It was nice to have him for that last out to take it.”

Video: MIL@CHC: Hader on Brewers fans at Wrigley in big win

SOUND SMART
The eight-game winning streak to win the division matched the Brewers’ season high and set a franchise record to close a season. It was the longest winning streak to end a regular season since the 2015 Cubs won their last eight in a row.

Video: MIL@CHC: Chacin, offense lead Crew to tiebreaker win

HE SAID IT
“I’m having fun, man. I’m managing the baseball team in the town I grew up in and the [team] I played for. It’s a responsibility. You want to make something special for the baseball fans of Wisconsin. If I can play a part in doing that, it makes me happy.” — Counsell

Video: MIL@CHC: Counsell on Jeffress, Yelich in 3-1 win

“We’ve earned this as a group. Being able to do it in [St. Louis and Chicago] speaks to how much we’ve accomplished. Obviously, both of those teams are so good, they’ve had so much success. We’re going to soak it in.” — Braun

Video: MIL@CHC: Ryan Braun on winning NL Centr AaronS Sanchez Jersey al crown

UP NEXT
Game 1 of the NLDS is Thursday at Miller Park at a time to be determined. The Brewers will face the winner of tonight’s NL Wild Card Game.

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


Milwaukee Brewers,
Lorenzo Cain,
Jhoulys Chacin,
Christian Yelich

One X-factor on Kevin Pillar Women’s Jersey every MLB playoff team in 2018

If you spent about eight minutes with the Brewers this past spring, Jesus Aguilar‘s name would have come up.

First, there’s Aguilar’s size. At 6-foot-3, 250 pounds, he’s a large man with a big presence in the clubhouse. His laughter is infectious.

If you spent about eight minutes with the Brewers this past spring, Jesus Aguilar‘s name would have come up.

First, there’s Aguilar’s size. At 6-foot-3, 250 pounds, he’s a large man with a big presence in the clubhouse. His laughter is infectious.

Aguilar is that guy other players gravitate toward because, for one thing, he never seems to have a bad day. In 2017, when he was a part-time player, the Brewers said he was a significant part of their success.

None of us on the outside will ever quite understand the dynamics of a successful clubhouse, but it’s clear that Aguilar contributed in Milwaukee’s culture and joy.

And that’s how 2018 started.

The Brewers also thought Aguilar could play. He hit 16 home runs and had an .837 OPS in 311 plate appearances in 2017. But they weren’t sure they’d get him more playing time than that this year.

All they’d seen in 2017 was enough to be intrigued. Turns out, the Brewers didn’t have to carve out playing time for Aguilar. He did that himself in a season in which he has 34 homers, 25 doubles and an .888 OPS.

Playing full-time for the first time in his brief career, Aguilar made the National League All-Star team, while the Brewers returned to the postseason for the first time since 2011.

These are the best parts of a baseball season. To watch players emerge or to see them take their performance to a higher level is as good as it gets.

Let’s take a look at the most interesting players of 2018, the players who have surprised, entertained and impressed us in their roles in shaping playoff races. Here is one X-factor from each of the 10 postseason teams.

A’s
Closer
Blake Treinen: 38 saves, 0.78 ERA, 11.2 strikeouts per nine innings

What happens when a player with talent and smarts joins a relentlessly creative organization? Far from the player with the 5.73 ERA during the first half of the 2017 season with the Nationals, Treinen has become more consistent with his 97-mph stuff, while adding a cutter that is a devastating setup pitch.

Video: OAK@L Kevin Pillar Jersey AA: Treinen retires Young Jr. to earn the save

Astros
First baseman/designated hitter
Tyler White: 12 home runs, 12 doubles, .888 OPS in 65 games

The former 33rd-round Draft pick played a huge role in carrying the defending World Series champions at a time when they were almost gutted by injuries. White had a huge August, hitting .325 with eight home runs and 23 RBIs in 23 games.

Video: HOU@DET: White hammers a 2 Kevin Pillar Women’s Jersey -run smash to left-center

Braves
Right-hander
Anibal Sanchez: 2.83 ERA in 25 games (24 starts), 1.08 WHIP

The Braves envisioned Sanchez being a long reliever and spot starter when he was signed during the spring after being released by the Twins. What they couldn’t have known is that three years of tinkering with his mechanics and repertoire had created a nearly complete pitcher.

Video: ATL@PHI: Sanchez goes 6 shutout frames, fans 7

Brewers
First baseman Jesus Aguilar: 34 home runs, 25 doubles, .888 OPS

He spent three seasons buried on the depth chart in Cleveland and another in Milwaukee, when Eric Thames burst onto the scene. When given a chance to play this season, Aguilar took the opportunity and ran right onto the NL All-Star team with it.

Video: MIL@STL: Aguilar puts Brewers up early with 34th HR

Cubs
Infielder
David Bote: Six home runs, nine doubles, .730 OPS in 73 games

Who can resist an 18th-round Draft pick who never gave up on his big league dream during seven seasons in the Minors? He has contributed some of the biggest moments of the season, including a two-run triple in a 3-0 victory over the Pirates on Thursday.

Video: PIT@CHC: Bote rips a 2-run triple down the line

Dodgers
Utility man
Max Muncy: 33 home runs, 17 doubles, .958 OPS

Muncy reinvented his swing and approach after being released by the A’s and spending the 2017 season in the Minor Leagues. When the Dodgers called him up in mid-April, he homered in his second game and has kept going.

Video: LAD@SF: Muncy scores 2 on bloop double in 9th

Indians
Outfielder
Michael Brantley: 17 home runs, 36 doubles, .832 OPS

Just when it looked as if Brantley might never have another healthy, productive season, and that he might miss out on the fun the Indians have had the past three seasons, he has bounced back with one of his best years. His work ethic should not be underestimated as a part of the Indians’ 2018 success.

Video: BOS@CLE: Brantley walks it off with a single to left

Red Sox
Utility man
Brock Holt: Seven home runs, 17 doubles, .766 OPS

If Holt could not do everything — literally, everything — manager Alex Cora would have to invent him. Holt’s best offensive season has come in a year in which he has started games at eight positions, and held his own at all of them.

Video: NYY@BOS: Holt clubs 2-run homer to right field in 9th

Rockies
Outfielder
David Dahl: 15 home runs, 11 doubles, .864 OPS in 75 games

After missing almost all of the 2017 season with a stress reaction in his rib cage, it wasn’t clear what Dahl’s role would be in ’18. Just when he carved out a role for himself, he was sidelined for a month with a broken foot. Down the stretch, he has been a huge part of Colorado’s push to the postseason. Before Saturday, he homered in five straight games.

Video: WSH@COL: Dahl goes deep for his 5th straight game

Yankees
First baseman
Luke Voit: 13 home runs, 31 RBIs, 1.075 OPS in 38 games with Yankees

Few organizations are better at identifying underutilized players, and the Yankees had had their eye on Voit for a while as he made his way through the Cardinals’ farm system. A trade that got little notice has added a powerful presence to the middle of New York’s lineup.

Video: NYY@BOS: Voit drills solo homer into bullpen in 7th

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,
Boston Red Sox,
Chicago Cubs,
Cleveland Indians,
Oakland Athletics,
Los Angeles Dodgers,
Colorado Rockies,
Houston Astros,
Atlanta Braves,
New York Yankees

2019 MLB Dra Kevin Pillar Women’s Jersey ft order set Orioles pick first

Unlike in 2017, when the race for the No. 1 overall pick in the next year’s Draft came down to a walk-off homer on the final day of the season, there was no such drama this summer. The Orioles, whose 115 losses were the fourth-most in modern big league history, clinched the top choice in 2019 with nine games remaining.

Baltimore owned the first selection only once in the previous 54 Drafts, choosing Ben McDonald in 1989. The Orioles haven’t had a top-five pick since having six straight from 2007-12, when they grabbed Matt Wieters (fifth in 2007), Brian Matusz (fourth in  Kevin Pillar Jersey 2008), Matt Hobgood (fifth in 2009), Manny Machado (third in 2010), Dylan Bundy (fourth in 2011) and Kevin Gausman (fourth in 2012).

Unlike in 2017, when the race for the No. 1 overall pick in the next year’s Draft came down to a walk-off homer on the final day of the season, there was no such drama this summer. The Orioles, whose 115 losses were the fourth-most in modern big league history, clinched the top choice in 2019 with nine games remaining.

Baltimore owned the first selection only once in the previous 54 Drafts, choosing Ben McDonald in 1989. The Orioles haven’t had a top-five pick since having six straight from 2007-12, when they grabbed Matt Wieters (fifth in 2007), Brian Matusz (fourth in 2008), Matt Hobgood (fifth in 2009), Manny Machado (third in 2010), Dylan Bundy (fourth in 2011) and Kevin Gausman (fourth in 2012).

 • Top 10 high school prospects for 2019 Draft | Top 10 college prospects

Assigned pick values rise each year based on MLB’s revenue growth, so Baltimore will be allocated more than the $8,096,300 assigned to the No. 1 pick in 2018. The Tigers, who gained that choice when Pablo Sandoval‘s ninth-inning homer in the Giants’ last game of 2017 dropped San Francisco to the No. 2 slot, signed Casey Mize for $7.5 million, setting a record for the Draft’s bonus-pool era. Mize’s bonus tied those of Bubba Starling and Stephen Strasburg for the second-highest in Draft history, trailing only Gerrit Cole‘s $8 million.

Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman, the Most Outstanding Player at the 2018 College World Series, and Colleyville (Texas) Heritage High shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., the son of the 16-year big leaguer and No. 3 overall selection in the 1985 Draft, are the leading candidates to go No. 1 overall at this point.

 • Early 2019 mock draft

Like the Orioles, the Royals locked up the second choice well before season’s end, securing it when they suffered their 102nd loss last Saturday. Kansas City has picked that high three times before, taking Alex Gordon at No. 2 in 2005, Luke Hochevar at No. 1 in 2006 and Mike Moustakas at No. 2 in 2007.

The White Sox (No. 3 overall), Marlins (No. 4) and Tigers (No. 5) round out the first five selections. Detroit, which took Mize at No. 1, and Chicago, which popped Nick Madrigal at No. 4, had top-five choices this year. Miami hasn’t picked that early since 2014, when it used the No. 2 choice on Tyler Kolek.

Three teams have multiple first-round selections because they received compensation choices when they couldn’t sign 2018 first-rou Kevin Pillar Women’s Jersey nders. The Braves pick ninth and 21st, the D-backs 16th and 26th, and the Dodgers either 23rd or 25th along with 31st.

Because each team’s highest first-round pick is exempt from forfeiture, the only way the first-round order could change would be if a team that doesn’t receive revenue sharing and exceeded the luxury tax this season has two first-round picks and signs a free agent who rejects a qualifying offer, in which case it would lose its second-highest first-rounder.

 •  All-time Draft picks

2019 First-Round Draft Order
Draft order is based on the reverse order of 2018 regular-season standings, with 2017 records used to break ties.

1. Orioles (47-115)
2. Royals (58-104)
3. White Sox (62-100)
4. Marlins (63-98)
5. Tigers (64-98)
6. Padres (66-96)
7. Reds (67-95)
8. Rangers (67-95)
9. Braves (compensation for unsigned 2018 first-rounder Carter Stewart)
10. Giants (73-89)
11. Blue Jays (73-89)
12. Mets (77-85)
13. Twins (78-84)
14. Phillies (80-82)
15. Angels (80-82)
16. D-backs (82-80)
17. Nationals (82-80)
18. Pirates (82-79)
19. Cardinals (88-74)
20. Mariners (89-73)
21. Braves (90-72)
22. Rays (90-72)
23. Rockie AaronS Sanchez Blue Jays Jersey s (91-72)
24. Indians (91-71)
25. Dodgers (92-71)
26. D-backs (compensation for unsigned 2018 first-rounder Matt McLain)
27. Cubs (95-68)
28. Brewers (96-67)
29. Athletics (97-65)
30. Yankees (100-62)
31. Dodgers (compensation for unsigned 2018 first-rounder J.T. Ginn)
32. Astros (103-59)
33. Red Sox (108-54)

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

How the 10 postseason teams were buil Deshaun Watson Women’s Jersey t

The Red Sox and Cubs built two of baseball’s best teams in similar fashion. They mostly used homegrown hitters to fortify their lineups and trades and free agents to construct their pitching staffs.

Boston drafted its stellar outfield of Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. and signed Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers internationally. Chicago parlayed its 2011-15 first-round picks into Javier Baez, Albert Almora Jr., Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber and Ian Happ and found Willson Contreras in Venezuela. The Red Sox’s projected playoff rotation and closer all came via trades (Chris Sale, Eduardo Rodriguez, Rick Porcello, Craig Kimbrel) or free agency (David Price), as is true with the Cubs (free agent Jon Lester and trade acquisitions Kyle Hendricks, Cole Hamels, Jose Quintana and Pedro Strop).

The Red Sox and Cubs built two of baseball’s best teams in similar fashion. They mostly used homegrown hitters to fortify their lineups and trades and free agents to construct their pitching staffs.

Boston drafted its stellar outfield of Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. and signed Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers internationally. Chicago parlayed its 2011-15 first-round picks into Javier Baez, Albert Almora Jr., Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber and Ian Happ and found Willson Contreras in Venezuela. The Red Sox’s projected playoff rotation and closer all came via trades (Chris Sale, Eduardo Rodriguez, Rick Porcello, Craig Kimbrel) or free agency (David Price), as is true with the Cubs (free agent Jon Lester and trade acquisitions Kyle Hendricks, Cole Hamels, Jose Quintana and Pedro Strop).

Despite the similarities between Boston and Chicago, there’s no set blueprint for putting together a playoff club. The Rockies led all off the postseason clubs with 12 homegrown players on their 25-man roster, while the Athletics had just four on their projected Division Series roster. Oakland topped them all with seven free-agent signings, while the Dodgers have just two. The Brewers landed 15 of their players via trade, the A’s got 14 that way, and the Yankees and Cubs each swung deals for 13 of theirs, while Colorado picked up just four players in trades.

Here’s a more detailed breakdown of how each of the playoff teams was built, based on their Division Series rosters (projected rosters, in the case of the A’s and Cubs):

AMERICAN LEAGUE

A’s
Homegrown (Draft + Int’l): 4 (WAR: 16.5)
• Draft: 4 (WAR: 16.5)
• International: 0 (N/A)
Free Agents: 7 (WAR: 5.6)
Trades: 14 (WAR: 25.3)

The four homegrown players on the A’s projected roster were among the fewest among postseason teams. They’re all products of the Draft, a group highlighted by 2014 first-rounder Matt Chapman, who’s emerged as baseball’s best defensive third baseman and a franchise cornerstone for the A’s, and 2012 comp pick Matt Olson. Together, the duo combined to hit 53 homers and 75 doubles during the regular season. Trades in recent years for players such as AL home run leader Khris Davis (2016 from Brewers), Marcus Semien (2014 from White Sox), Jed Lowrie (2015 from Astros) and Stephen Piscotty (2017 from Cardinals) have helped the A’s fill out a potent offense, and the same can be said for the club’s elite bullpen trio of Blake Treinen (2017 from Nationals), Jeurys Familia (2018 from Mets) and Fernando Rodney (2018 from Twins). And while season-ending injuries ultimately shelved much of their Opening Day rotation, the A’s managed to effectively patch holes with free-agent veterans Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill and Edwin Jackson and then acquired Mike Fiers from the Tigers in August.

Astros
Homegrown (Draft + Int’l): 11 (WAR: 26.1)
• Draft: 9 (WAR: 18.7)
• International: 2 (WAR: 7.4)
Free Agents: 3 (WAR: 6.6)
Trades: 8 (WAR: 18.2)
Waivers: 2 (WAR: 2.7)
Rule 5 Draft: 1 (WAR: 2.5)

Four of the best players on the defending World Series champions were taken with a No. 1 or 2 overall pick in the Draft: Astros draftees Carlos Correa (No. 1, 2012) and Alex Bregman (No. 2, 2015) and blockbuster trade acquisitions Justin Verlander (No. 2, 2004, Tigers) and Gerrit Cole (No. 1, 2011, Pirates). By contrast, Houston also has a former MVP and a former Cy Young Award winner who vastly exceeded expectations in Jose Altuve, signed for $15,000 out of Venezuela in 2006, and Dallas Keuchel, a seventh-rounder two years later. George Springer, a 2011 first-rounder, also was on hand when Jeff Luhnow took over as GM later that year. In addition to overseeing the Correa and Bregman drafts and making the Verlander and Cole deals, Luhnow made a number of smaller acquisitions that have paid off such as plucking Marwin Gonzalez in the Rule 5 Draft, claiming Collin McHugh off waivers and s Deshaun Watson Clemson Jersey igning Charlie Morton as a free agent.

Indians
Homegrown (Draft + Int’l): 7 (WAR: 17.9)
• Draft: 5 (WAR: 9.4)
• International: 2 (WAR: 8.1)
Free Agents: 5 (WAR: 4.4)
Trades: 12 (WAR: 29.2)
Waivers: 1 (WAR: -0.1)

The Indians’ secured their third straight AL Central title in 2018 with a largely unchanged roster compared to previous years. Homegrown phenoms Francisco Lindor (first round, 2011) and Jose Ramirez (international free agent, ’09) are MVP candidates once again and headlined an Indians offense that also featured free-agents signings Edwin Encarnacion (’16) and Yonder Alonso (’17). On the mound, trade acquisitions Corey Kluber (2010), Carlos Carrasco (’09) and a combination of Trevor Bauer (’12) and Mike Clevinger (’14) gave the Indians a top-flight rotation, and the club dealt a top prospect for bullpen help for a second time in three years when it landed Brad Hand and Adam Cimber from San Diego at the Trade Deadline and then acquired Josh Donaldson from Toronto the following month.

Red Sox
Homegrown (Draft + Int’l): 10 (WAR: 22.2)
• Draft: 7 (WAR: 17.8)
• International: 2 (WAR: 3.8)
Free Agents: 4 (WAR: 13.2)
Trades: 12 (WAR: 21.5)

With a notable free-agent exception (J.D. Martinez, David Price) in each case, the Red Sox compiled the best record in baseball and won their third straight American League East title with a lineup built around homegrown hitters and a pitching staff assembled through trades. MVP frontrunner Betts was a fifth-round pick in a 2011 Draft that also yielded supplemental first-rounder Bradley, while Benintendi was a 2015 first-rounder and Bogaerts signed for $410,000 out of Aruba in 2009. President of baseball operations David Dombrowski sacrificed top prospects to acquire Sale and Kimbrel, who have starred in Boston. Previous GM Ben Cherington dealt for Rodriguez and Porcello when the Red Sox were rebuilding.

Yankees
Homegrown (Draft + Int’l): 9 (WAR: 23.4)
• Draft: 5 (WAR: 12.4)
• International: 4 (WAR: 11.0)
Free Agents: 3 (WAR: 3.9)
Trades: 13 (WAR: 27.7)

The Yankees’ best hitter (2013 first-round choice Aaron Judge) and best pitcher (Luis Severino, signed out of the Dominican Republic for $225,000 in 2011) are homegrown products. Yet for the most part, trades are the backbone of a team that made its third postseason appearance in four years. The Giancarlo Stanton deal was a splashy move that generated a lot of headlines, but GM Brian Cashman also has  Deshaun Watson Women’s Jersey excelled at making stealth moves for the likes of Aaron Hicks (from the Twins in exchange for John Ryan Murphy), Didi Gregorius (D-backs for Shane Greene), Chad Green (Tigers for Justin Wilson) and J.A. Happ (Blue Jays for Brandon Drury and Billy McKinney). And in a rare year where the Yankees were sellers and not buyers, they grabbed Gleyber Torres in a package from the Cubs for Aroldis Chapman in 2016.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Braves
Homegrown (Draft + Int’l): 7 (WAR: 21.1)
• Draft: 3 (WAR: 7.3)
• International: 4 (WAR: 13.8)
Free Agents: 6 (WAR: 7.4)
Trades: 11 (WAR: 15.9)
Waivers: 1 (WAR: 0.3)

The Braves’ rebuild went into overdrive, getting them back into the postseason for the first time since 2013 well ahead of schedule. The turnaround certainly has some homegrown flavor, with international signees Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ozzie Albies leading the charge and veteran Freddie Freeman the most key draftee, taken way back in the second round of the 2007 Draft. But the best talent acquisition has come via trade, often obtained while still in the Minor Leagues. Former No. 1 overall pick Dansby Swanson, who missed the NLDS due to a torn ligament in his left hand, is the most obvious example, but that list of acquired prospects also includes Mike Foltynewicz, who had made it to the big leagues with the Astros in 2014 but established himself as a Brave in 2015, along with contributors like Rio Ruiz, Touki Toussaint and Max Fried. A few seemingly quiet acquisitions of established big leaguers, like Ender Inciarte (who came with Swanson from the D-backs via trade) and Nick Markakis (free-agent signing) provided the finishing pieces.

Video: Jim Callis breaks down the Braves quick rebuild

Brewers
Homegrown (Draft + Int’l): 4 (WAR: 1.9)
• Draft: 3 (WAR: 2.0)
• International: 1 (WAR: -0.1)
Free Agents: 3 (WAR: 11.2)
Trades: 15 (WAR: 27.9)
Waivers: 3 (WAR: 4.0)

In their first postseason appearance since 2011, the Brewers’ roster features more players (18) acquired via a trade or waiver claim than any other playoff team. Christian Yelich, acquired from Miami during the offseason, has been an MVP candidate, while slugger Jesus Aguilar has blossomed into star slugger after being claimed off waivers from the Indians in February. GM David Stearns added a host of upcoming free agents at the Deadline through deals for veteran hitters such as Mike Moustakas (Royals), Jonathan Schoop (Orioles) and Curtis Granderson (Blue Jays), lefty starter Gio Gonzalez (Nationals) and reliever Joakim Soria, who is part of a dynamic bullpen that includes fellow acquisitions Josh Hader (Astros, ’15), Jeremy Jeffress (Rangers, ’17) and Corey Knebel (Rangers, ’15). Lorenzo Cain, the club’s major offseason signing, should also garner some MVP votes after an outstanding season — his first as part of a 5-year, $80 million deal — alongside Yelich in the Brewers’ outfield.

Cubs
Homegrown (Draft + Int’l): 7 (WAR: 15.5)
• Draft: 6 (WAR: 12.7)
• International: 1 (WAR: 2.8)
Free Agents: 5 (WAR: 11.1)
Trades: 13 (WAR: 17.4)

The Cubs famously and successfully used five consecutive first-round picks on hitters: Baez (2011), Almora (2012), Bryant (2013), Schwarber (2014) and Happ (2015). All are key cogs in Chicago and Baez may be the National League MVP, but the only other homegrown players on the postseason roster were Contreras (signed for $850,000 out of Venezuela in 2009) and David Bote (an 18th-rounder in 2012). The Cubs were vying for their second championship in three years and fourth straight National League Championship Series appearance with a pitching staff comprised solely of trade acquisitions (Hendricks, Hamels, Strop, Quintana) and free-agent signings (Lester, Steve Cishek) made by president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer. They also went outside the organization to sign Ben Zobrist and deal for Anthony Rizzo.

Dodgers
Homegrown (Draft + Int’l): 11 (WAR: 23.7)
• Draft: 6 (WAR: 16.7)
• International: 5 (WAR: 7.0)
Free Agents: 2 (WAR: 8.7)
Trades: 12 (WAR: 24.9)

Though the Dodgers had baseball’s largest payroll each year from 2014-17 and rank third among postseason teams in 2018, they are the most homegrown postseason participant besides the Rockies. Clayton Kershaw (2006) and Walker Buehler (2015) were first-round selections, while Ross Stripling (fifth round, 2012) and Cody Bellinger (fourth round, 2013) were later-round steals. Los Angeles leads all playoff clubs with five international signees, including Yasiel Puig ($42 million contract out of Cuba in 2012), Hyun-Jin Ryu ($36 million contract, Korea, 2012) and Kenley Jansen ($85,000 as a catcher, Curacao, 2004). The Dodgers have fewer free agents than anyone, though both Justin Turner and Max Muncy have made bigger impacts that expected. President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and GM Farhan Zaidi have filled out the lineup with astute trades for Manny Machado, Chris Taylor, Yasmani Grandal and Enrique Hernandez.

Rockies
Homegrown (Draft + Int’l): 12 (WAR: 29.4)
• Draft: 11 (WAR: 28.1)
• International: 1 (WAR: 1.3)
Free Agents: 6 (WAR: 0.8)
Trades: 4 (WAR: 11.1)
Waivers: 3 (WAR: 2.2)

No playoff team relied on its homegrown nucleus more than the Rockies, who made their second straight playoff appearance. Their three best hitters are all products of the Draft (2011 supplemental first-rounder Trevor Story, 2009 second-rounder Nolan Arenado, 2008 second-rounder Charlie Blackmon), as are four of their top six pitchers (2014 first-rounder Kyle Freeland, 2011 first-rounder Tyler Anderson, 2013 first-rounder Jon Gray, 2012 15th-rounder Scott Oberg). Colorado has by far the fewest trade pickups (four) of any of the postseason participants, though German Marquez and DJ LeMahieu have been essential after coming over in one-sided deals. Free agency hasn’t been as kind  Men’s Nike Houston Texans 4 Deshaun Watson Elite Alternate Red Jersey Sale to the Rockies, as they spent roughly $52 million this year on five guys who combined for -0.4 WAR, but Adam Ottavino is the best waiver claimee to pitch in this year’s playoffs.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.

MLB Bullpen of the Week B Kevin Pillar Women’s Jersey rewers

The Brewers surged to a thrilling finish of the 162-game schedule, forcing a tiebreaker against the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Monday to determine the National League Central champion. Milwaukee’s bullpen has been stellar, and last week was no exception: Brewers relievers combined to post a 2.48 ERA with 46 strikeouts and eight walks over 32 2/3 innings. The performance earned Milwaukee’s relief corps its third consecutive MLB Bullpen of the Week presented by The Hartford for the week of Sept. 24-30.

As part of The Hartford Prevailing Moments program, each Monday throughout the 2018 season, MLB.com is honoring the MLB Bullpen of the Week presented by The Hartford. 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.

The Brewers surged to a thrilling finish of the 162- Kevin Pillar Jersey game schedule, forcing a tiebreaker against the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Monday to determine the National League Central champion. Milwaukee’s bullpen has been stellar, and last week was no exception: Brewers relievers combined to post a 2.48 ERA with 46 strikeouts and eight walks over 32 2/3 innings. The performance earned Milwaukee’s relief corps its third consecutive MLB Bullpen of the Week presented by The Hartford for the week of Sept. 24-30.

As part of The Hartford Prevailing Moments program, each Monday throughout the 2018 season, MLB.com is honoring the MLB Bullpen of the Week presented by The Hartford. 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 is compiled for each week. 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

The Brewers’ bullpen finished with a score of 136, edging the Yankees’ bullpen, which finished with a score of 128.5. 

Right-hander Corey Knebel was outstanding, tossing five scoreless frames over five appearances during the week, striking out 14 of the 20 batters he faced, while yielding three hits and walking one. Veteran right-hander Joakim Soria also rose to the occasion, tossing four scoreless, hitless innings with four strikeouts. Right-hander Corbin Burnes also made four appearances, giving up one run on two hits while walking one and fanning five in five innings. And right-hander Jeremy Jeffress turned in 3 1/3 scoreless frames, allowing one hit and striking out five.

The unexpected: Brewers manager Craig Counsell decided to use an “opener” to start last Monday’s game against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium, sending left-hander Dan Jennings to the mound to get one out. Jennings got the left-handed-hitting Matt Carpenter to ground out to start the game, and gave way to the bullpen, which would be tasked with going 8 2/3 innings in the thick of a pennant race.

Things were going along smoothly until the sixth inning. With the Brewers leading, 3-1, left-hander Josh Hader went back out for another inning after retiring Carpenter to end the fifth. Hader, who had been overpowering this season to that point, surrendered a home run to Jose Martinez, walked Paul DeJong and then gave up a two-run homer to Marcell Ozuna. Suddenly, St. Louis led, 4-3.

Video: MIL@STL: Knebel K’s Martinez, the side to notch save

How they prevailed: Hader got the next two hitters out, but then Harrison Bader doubled and Yairo Munoz drew a walk. That’s when Counsell summoned right-hander Junior Guerra out of the bullpen. Guerra got Matt Adams to fly out to left, ending the threat. Xavier Cedeno, Burnes, Soria and Knebel combined for three scoreless innings from that point forward, giving Milwaukee’s offense a chance to come from behind, which it did in a 6-4 victory.

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


Milwaukee Brewers

Brewers set for Game 163 a Deshaun Watson Women’s Jersey gainst Cubs

MILWAUKEE — The first 162 regular-season games were so much fun, the Brewers and Cubs will play one more to decide the National League Central.

Both teams took care of business in their respective regularly scheduled finales on Sunday, with Milwaukee scoring a wire-to-wire 11-0 win over the Tigers at Miller Park for a seventh straight victory and Chicago topping the Cardinals, 10-5, at Wrigley Field to set up a Deshaun Watson Jersey  Game 163.

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MILWAUKEE — The first 162 regular-season games were so much fun, the Brewers and Cubs will play one more to decide the National League Central.

Both teams took care of business in their respective regularly scheduled finales on Sunday, with Milwaukee scoring a wire-to-wire 11-0 win over the Tigers at Miller Park for a seventh straight victory and Chicago topping the Cardinals, 10-5, at Wrigley Field to set up a Game 163.

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• FAQ for today’s NL Central tiebreaker

With identical 95-67 records, the Brewers and Cubs will meet in a one-game tiebreaker at 12:05 p.m. CT today in Chicago.

The winner can rest up before hosting Game 1 of the NL Division Series on Thursday. The loser will host the NL Wild Card Game on Deshaun Watson Women’s Jersey  Tuesday.

• MLB postseason schedule

“They know they’ve got problems tomorrow,” said Jesus Aguilar, who homered and drove in three runs before firing up the Miller Park crowd during an on-field interview on FS Wisconsin after the game.

• Aguilar ramps up anticipation for tiebreaker game

Video: DET@MIL: Aguilar on win, facing Cubs for division

Ryan Braun, who added two hits and two RBIs, took a wider view of the impending drama.

“It’s pretty crazy,” said Braun. “I feel fortunate we’re in this position. We have two chances to win one game.”

Video: DET@MIL: Braun lines a 2-run double to left

And they will not be alone, since the Dodgers and Rockies also won blowouts on Sunday to set up a similar logjam atop the NL West. So the Brewers and Cubs will be followed by Colorado and Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium at 3:09 p.m. Both games will air on ESPN.

“We had a pretty good vibe in here before the game started that we were going to go out and take care of business,” Christian Yelich said after letting his teammates do the hitting this time. “We’re headed to Chicago here in a little bit.

“We’re going in there with the mindset that it’s must-win. We’re still alive if we don’t win, but we’re going to do all we can to get that game. It would be huge to get the division and not play in the winner-take-all game, because anything can happen in one game.”

• Game 163 gives Yelich last shot at Triple Crown

In front of a third straight sellout crowd, Aguilar hit home run No. 35 and drove in a run in three different innings, Braun delivered a two-run double in a game-breaking six-run seventh inning and three Brewers pitchers silenced a Tigers lineup that provided all kinds of trouble in the first two games of the series.

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

Those pitchers were led by Gio Gonzalez, the veteran lefty acquired from the Nationals on Aug. 31 amid a long slump. He rebounded to the tune of 3-0 with a 2.13 ERA in five September starts with his new team, capped by five scoreless innings Sunday.

Junior Guerra and Jordan Lyles followed with two innings apiece, and it was Guerra’s single leading off the seventh that sparked a six-run rally. The Tigers intentionally walked Yelich to load the bases ahead of Braun’s double to the wall in left-center field. One batter latter, Aguilar followed with an infield bouncer that produced two more runs thanks to an error, and Orlando Arcia punctuated the game-breaking frame with a two-run single.

“The offense was alive. The defense was incredible. And hat’s off to Junior and Jordan. They did a great job carrying that momentum,” Gonzalez said. “For me, it’s nice to be a part of something like this and a team that gave me a chance to redeem myself.”

Video: DET@MIL: Gonzalez tosses 5 scoreless innings

The Brewers won all five of Gonzalez’s starts to finish a stretch in which they won 10 of their final 11 series in the regular season.

“We had to win today to have a chance. It will be the same thing tomorrow,” said Travis Shaw, who capped Milwaukee’s scoring with his 32nd home run in the eighth inning. “We have to go in with the same mindset. If we win [Monday], we don’t have to play on Tuesday. I think that’s everybody’s mindset. Nobody wants to play on Tuesday.”

Video: DET@MIL: Shaw cranks a solo homer to deep right

“We did our job,” manager Craig Counsell said. “We got ourselves an extra game.”

Video: DET@MIL: Counsell on NL Central Tiebreaker Game

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Braun was back on the productive side of things Sunday after striking out four times on Saturday. He walked in the first inning amid a two-run rally that gave Gonzalez some breathing room, singled and scored in the sixth as the Brewers extended their lead to 4-0, and then he doubled home two runs, stole a base and eventually scored in the seventh as Milwaukee blew the game open.

Video: DET@MIL: Braun lines a 2-run double to left

Braun, one of the best hitters in Brewers history against left-handed pitching, has a chance to play a critical role against Jose Quintana on Monday, even though he’s 6-for-29 lifetime against the Cubs southpaw. Two of those hits were home runs in an Aug. 14 win at Wrigley Field.

“I feel better than I have at any point of the season,” Braun said. “This is energizing for me. This is exciting. I feel good about where I’m at. It’s a good time to be feeling good.”

Video: MIL@CHC: Braun smacks a pair of 2-run jacks vs. Cubs

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


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