Dodgers: The Roadmap to Winning the NLCS Against the Brewers

SAN DIEGO, CA - APRIL 18: Max Muncy
SAN DIEGO, CA - APRIL 18: Max Muncy /

The NLCS is all knotted up and the series is now refined to just five games with both teams at a win apiece. But, narrow the series down to one game at a time, and the Dodgers have clear advantages heading into game three of the series which will take place tonight in LA.

Jhoulys Chacin has been solid all year. The 30-year old Venezuelan journeyman dominated batters from the fourth spot in the Brewers rotation and maintained a 3.50 ERA, 1.163 WHIP, 156 strikeouts and a 116 ERA+.

Chacin will take the mound tonight for Craig Counsell and his Brewers, hoping to give Milwaukee a lead in the series and get them one step closer to getting to the World Series. But, Chacin may struggle tonight as his platoon splits are extremely lopsided.  Chacin is a solid pitcher but break his numbers down to platoon splits and the Dodgers immediately have a favorable matchup.

Los Angeles has been broken into two lineups: the left-handed hitting lineup for right-handed pitching and the right-handed hitting lineup for left-handed pitching. Chacin will see the lefty batters and that may be a nightmare for him.

In 35 starts, Chacin saw 402 plate appearances from left-handed batters. Subtract the 44 walks, six hit by pitches and two intentional free passes and you are down to 349 at-bats against a left-handed batter.

In those 349 ABs, hitters have hit .261 off of Chacin as compared to the .171 that right-handed batters have managed in just one fewer at-bat. The stark differences between left-handed hitting and right-handed hitting against Chacin do not stop at batting average.

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Chacin has dominated righties. He held them to an on-base percentage of just .244 in 2018 but again, like batting average, the difference is vast when looking at a lefty hitter. Replace that unimpressive .244 with a dominant .351 and a lefty is getting on base more than .100 more than a righty. Those numbers contributed to overwhelmingly different OPS’s- righties had a .528 OPS and lefties were all the way up at .781, a seriously high number for a season total.

Let’s keep going. Chacin’s BABip is .217 against righties and .287 against lefties, a tale-telling difference that again, will work the Dodgers favor.

Now, remember, the Dodgers will have Max Muncy, Cody Bellinger, Yasmani Grandal, Joc Pederson (or Andrew Toles because Pederson’s wife gave birth… congratulations!) and Yasiel Puig who has reverse splits going against Chacin.

Now there is a counter-argument here. If the Dodgers do not get to the starter quickly, Counsell will not hesitate to pull Chacin in favor of a reliever with better splits. At the first sign of trouble, Chacin will get the hook and the Dodgers will be in trouble with a fully rested Josh Hader waiting in the bullpen to make a fool of whomever he faces. The Dodgers have three innings to get the job done.

The good fortune against right-handed pitching will be a blessing for the Dodgers tonight having Walker Buehler on the mound will only help their case for getting a win in game three.

Buehler is as hot as it gets right now. I totally understand and remember what happened in Atlanta but there was a lot of bad luck in the inning that saw Buehler surrender a grand slam. Outside of that one frame, Buehler dominated the Braves just like he has dominated almost all of his opponents for a little over a month.

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The Dodgers have a huge advantage tonight. They should, by the numbers, get their second win which would put them in a really nice spot to win their second game of the series. As me for my pick- Dodgers will be up 2-1 after tonight.