LOT For the Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers, it remains all about the pitching, it almost always does this time of year.
There would be no repeat of Game 2 at Miller Park, when the Brewers blew a three-run lead in the late innings to fall, 4-3. Jhoulys Chacin, the "initial out-getter," never let the Dodgers up for the air and the bullpen, chattering about his vulnerability to close the deal, 4-0, at Dodger Stadium.
But not without humongous scare in
For those wondering if manager Craig Counsell had lost confidence in struggling reliever Jeremy Jeffress, he delivered a resounding "no" with three outs to go. The Brewers' bullpen gate swung open and jogged Jeffress, he of the 7.71 postseason earned run average.
Brewers manager Craig Counsell talks about importance of Jhoulon's Chacin to his pitching staff.
Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Counseling What Expecting Jeffress' Luck to Turn But It Did not Take Long to Find More Trouble. A single by Justin Turner, who beat Jeffress and the Brewers with a two-run homer in Game 2, and double by Manny Machado. Just like that, second and third, no outs.
No doubt, Brewers fans back home were screaming at their TV sets for Counseling to Take Jeffress out of the game but the manager never budged from his dick in the visiting dugout. Jeffress popped up the struggling Cody Bellinger played Yasiel Puig on four pitches.
Surely, Counsell would remove Jeffress now, right? Do not call him Shirley. Jeffress stayed.
Jeffress rewarded Counsel's confidence, no matter how much, by striking out the next two hitters, Yasmani Grandal and Brian Dozier, to put the Dodgers to bed for the night.
"We're trying to win the series, not just win games," Counsel said. "We've got a four-run." Jeremy Jeffress has been at the All-star for us and pitched huge, huge moment for us during the season.
"We've got a four-run lead. I trust him to get those outs. The ninth inning was entertaining, but they did not score. "
The Brewers were certainly not going to admit it, but they took the field with Los Angeles, especially after the disappointing loss in Game 2
If they won Game 3, the Dodgers would have beaten the best pitcher the Brewers have to offer … Beyond that, Counsel had had not named a Game 4 starter beforehand, which likely meant another "bullpen game." Later, he selected Gio Gonzalez, who went first in innings 1 and probably wants to be on a short leash again.
On top of that Wade Miley would pitch on short rest in Game 5 after his excellent – and wasted – performance in Game 2.
So, summing it up, if the Dodgers beat Chacin, they'd get a bullpen game against them in Game 4 and face a pitcher on short re in Game 5, which would not seem to favor the Brewers. That's all that was riding on the tie-breaking Game 3.
And it all became moot when Chacin delivered 5 1/3 innings of gutty pitching, working around three hits and two walks. The Bullpen took it out to the Dodgers.
"Jhoulys was just outstanding tonight," Counsel said.
At Miller Park, "The one and only time playoff game is at Miller Park."
The Brewers knew they had little margin for error facing right-handers Walker Buehler, the Dodgers' sensational rookie fire-baller. They got a good look at Buehler here on July 31, when he pitched seven excellent innings.
How hard does Buehler throw, you ask? That's high octane gas, which is not cheap in California.
But Chacin, who relies on finesse more than velocity, with a nasty slider as his out pitch, what better than buehler on this night. Then came rejuvenated Corey Knebel, who struck out four hitters in 1 2/3 innings, Joakim Soria, Josh Hader (two batters, two strikeouts) and the high-wire act by Jeffress.
So, the team that supposedly does not pitch enough now has three shutouts this postseason after recording only one in its previous franchise history.
If they do not like the way they chop up games, using as many pitchers as it takes to record 27 outs, so be it. But it's a formula that works for them, and they're not about to apologize for it.
"The guys that are giving the ball to start the game, they're doing a heck of a job," Counsell said. They're putting us in a good position.
"They're putting us in a very advantageous position to use our guys in the bullpen." And that's going to lead to wins. "
So, far, 101 of them. And the Brewers are not finished.