The Brewers’ bullpen was supposed to change the NLCS but instead it’s been the Dodgers bullpen that is changing the landscape of the series.
The NLCS was supposed to be a battle of the Dodgers’ stellar pitching rotation versus the Brewers’ shutdown bullpen. Through two games, the Brewers’ starting rotation has fared well but it’s been the Dodger bullpen that has been dominating. The Brewer bullpen has given up eight of the nine runs that the Dodgers have scored in the NLCS.
The Dodgers bullpen has posted a stellar 1.86 ERA in the NLCS with one of those runs coming on a home run given up by Alex Wood. The Brewers have hit just .176 against the Dodgers’ bullpen arms and have struck out ten times in 9 2/3 innings. Despite being known for their “bullpenning”, the Brewers bullpen have recorded just two more outs this series than the Dodger pen.
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The Brewers bullpen has pitched 10 1/3 innings in the NLCS and they have given up eight runs. That is good for a 6.97 ERA to go with a 1.74 WHIP. The Dodgers have hit .333 against the bullpen arms of the Brewers and scored eight runs against the Milwaukee bullpen. That means only one run scored against the Brewers this series has been against starting pitchers.
For game three today the Brewers will start Jhoulys Chacin and the Brewers will have Josh Hader ready to go in their bullpen. Due to yesterday’s off day, the Brewers could keep Chacin on a short leash and pull him as soon as he runs into any trouble. It’s unlikely the Brewers will use Hader for more than two innings with games scheduled for three consecutive days, but the Dodgers should see Hader for an inning or two today.
For the Dodgers today it will be all hands on deck behind Walker Buehler. Kenley Jansen and Kenta Maeda figure to cover the last two innings of the game and the rest of the bullpen is well rested. Pedro Baez and Ryan Madson have complimented Maeda and Jansen to help create a stellar bullpen closing down games.
Thanks to home field advantage for the next three games, the Dodgers will be able to use Kenley Jansen in the ninth inning if the game is tied and not worry about losing out on a save opportunity. The Brewers on the other hand, will have to hold Knebel back and wait to see if a save opportunity arises.