Last night, the Milwaukee Brewers shut out the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-0 to take a 2-1 lead in the NLCS.
It was a pitchers duel throughout. Aside from the first inning, when he gave up an RBI double to Ryan Braun, and a hiccup in the 7th, Walker Buehler was masterful. The 24-year-old rookie looks like he’s primed for postseason baseball for years to come. On the other side, 30-year-old Jhoulys Chacín continued his incredible bounce-back year by dancing in and out of trouble all night and holding the Dodgers scoreless over 5 innings. So much for the “Brewers don’t have starting pitcher” thing.
Travis Shaw also hit a triple to deep center field and then promptly scored on another Yasmani Grandal passed ball, to make the score 2-0 in the top of the sixth. Grandal is quickly developing a reputation as one of the worst defensive catchers in the league. He’s had 3 passed balls and two errors in this series already. He’s also struck out in half of his at-bats so far this series.
In the top of the 7th, with a man on, Buehler would make the costliest mistake of his night. He left a fastball high for Orlando Arcia, who took it to the opposite field, barely clearing the fence for a 2 run home run and put the Brewers out in front 4-0. Arcia had 3 homers all season, and now has 3 homers during the playoffs. October baseball, man.
Buehler went 7 innings, struck out 8, and allowed 4 runs. He was good. His teammates’ offense was not. The Dodgers, as a team, went 0-10 with runners in scoring position and were struck out 14 times in an all-around great day for Brewers pitching.
Chacin went 5 ⅓ scoreless before being lifted in favor of Corey Knebel, who went an inning and two thirds and struck out 4. He then gave way to Soria, who gave way to Hader, who gave way to Jeffress.
It was the ideal game for Craig Counsell, and a game the Brewers bullpen needed to reaffirm themselves as the shutdown unit that they are.
Jeffress, though, would make things pretty dicey.
He would load the bases with one out in the ninth inning to bring the tying run to the plate. However, he faced the offensive equivalent of a black hole in Grandal, who he would K on three pitches. Then came Brian Dozier, who Jeffress would retire after a called strike three to end the game.
The Brewers have taken a two-games-to-one series lead, and have at least guaranteed that the series could be going back to Milwaukee for Game 6 if needed.
In a must-win for the Dodgers tonight, the Dodgers will be sending veteran lefty Rich Hill to the mound. The Brewers will counter with game one starter Gio Gonzalez.
Game 4 first pitch is at 9:09 EST.
Photo: Jae Hong, Associated Press