The NLDS starts on Thursday, and the Milwaukee Brewers are rolling out the bullpen for Game 1 against the Colorado Rockies. Why do this?
Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell announced the starter for Game 1, but he didn’t? The Brewers will go with the ‘bullpen game’ strategy that worked in the their recent series with the St. Louis Cardinals. They announced Dan Jennings as the starter, and he stuck around for one batter before giving way to Freddy Peralta. The Brewers pieced together 27 outs, and ended up sweeping the Cardinals. Will the ‘bullpen game’ strategy work against the Colorado Rockies?
How did the ‘bullpen game’ go last time?
Jennings started, faced Matt Carpenter, and handed the ball to Peralta. The Milwaukee Brewers used nine pitchers to record 27 outs. They surrendered four runs on eight hits and two walks with 11 strikeouts. The Cardinals didn’t score after the sixth inning, and the Brewers picked up three late runs to earn the win.
How will the ‘bullpen game’ go this time?
Jennings could start for the Milwaukee Brewers again. Charlie Blackmon usually leads off for the Colorado Rockies, and he’s a lefty. Overall, Blackmon has an .817 OPS against lefties, but he slashes .256/.326/.400 against left-handers on the road. Another Jennings start is definitely in play.
After that, who knows? Peralta wasn’t the obvious choice in the last bullpen game, but he worked 3 2/3 innings in relief. The Milwaukee Brewers haven’t even announced their roster for the NLDS, so it’s really impossible to guess who could enter the game. Josh Hader will make an appearance. Corey Knebel will make an appearance. Corbin Burnes should make an appearance. Trying to predict the order or a strategy is virtually impossible at this point.
The bigger question is, ‘Will Jeremy Jeffress be available?’ Jeffress was unavailable for Game #163, but he is expected to be a ‘full-go’ for the NLDS. If Jeffress’ neck spasms return, the Milwaukee Brewers may miss one of their best relievers. The Brewers bullpen is at it’s best when everyone is healthy. If Jeffress isn’t at 100%, the bullpen game strategy, and the series, might not go as planned for the Brewers.