Game 3 of the 2018 NLCS between the Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers is set for Monday night. What can fans expect in the upcoming, pivotal game?
They say it’s not a post season series until both teams lose a game at home. If the Milwaukee Brewers can beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 3, we’ll have a real series. Let’s take a look at a few key match ups in the next game of the 2018 NLCS.
Who’s on the mound?
The Milwaukee Brewers will send right-hander Jhoulys Chacin out for his first start since October 5th. The Los Angeles Dodgers will counter with rookie Walker Buehler. Buehler posted a 2.62 ERA in 137 1/3 innings in his first extended time in the Majors. He struck out 151, and walked 37 while surrendering 12 homers. Monday will be Buehler’s first start since giving up five runs in five innings to the Atlanta Braves on October 7th.
How will the Dodgers attack Chacin?
If the Los Angeles Dodgers are smart, they’ll stack lefties against Chacin wherever possible. Chacin posted a .171/.244/.284 slash line against right-handers, but had a slash line of .259/.351/.430 against left-handers. 11 of his 18 homers allowed came against left-handers. He also walked 44 lefties, compared to only 27 righties in 2018.
The Dodgers will likely feature Max Muncy at first, Cody Bellinger and Joc Pederson in the outfield, and Yasmani Grandal behind the plate. Those are the Dodgers left-handers, or switch-hitters in Grandal’s case, who posted an OPS over .800 against right-handed pitching in 2018. Muncy lead the Dodgers with an OPS of 1.001 and 27 homers against lefties.
How can the Brewers get to Buehler?
In Dodgers Stadium? That’s a tall order. When pitching at home in 2018, Buehler posted a 1.93 ERA in 74 2/3 innings at home. On the road? Buehler was slightly more human, and earned a 3.45 ERA in 62 2/3 innings.
The Milwaukee Brewers should go with their strengths instead of Buehler’s weaknesses for a simple reason. Buehler doesn’t have a platoon split. He’s been almost equally effective against left-handers and right-handers in 2018. His slash line against right-handers this year was .190/.254/.294, and against lefties he managed a .192/.258/.307 slash line.
Going with Domingo Santana or Curtis Granderson might make more sense than starting Ryan Braun. Braun only managed an OPS of .745 against righties in 2018, while Granderson and Santana were both over .800.
Manny Pina should feature behind the dish instead of Erik Kratz, and Mike Moustakas should play at third so that Travis Shaw can handle second base. Both moves allow for the Brewers to go with their strongest offensive lineup against Buehler.
There really isn’t an obvious advantage to exploit against Buehler, especially at home, and the Milwaukee Brewers just have to go with their best.
Game 3 of the 2018 NLCS between the Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodges is scheduled to start at 6:39 PM CST. Buehler poses a tough puzzle solve in Los Angeles, but Clayton Kershaw was also supposed to be a challenge, and he didn’t make it out of the fourth inning. The match up favors the Dodgers on paper, but games aren’t played on paper.