LOS ANGELES – In the National League Championship Series, we – the reliable baseball experts in the media world – were complacent that we had the Milwaukee Brewers' plan to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Get an early lead, probably with thunderous offenses led by MVP candidate Christian Yelich. Go early, very early, to bullpen and let these dominant relievers seal the edge. In very specific situations, put Josh Hader on Lights-Out Lefty and hope that they have enough leverage to overturn the series.
Unfortunately, baseball has a way to turn expectations upside down and we would not have another way. The Dodgers were strong favorites in this matchup. Even the Brewers knew that. That Milwaukee won 2-1
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What's shocking is that the city's breweries, which are more populated with scripts than any on earth, the ones we've taken for the NLCS, are thrown into the Chavez Gorge to have.
"It was the story of our season," said Brewers infielder Travis Shaw. "We've had people who perform differently at different times of the year, I know everyone talks about Yelich and [Kain] [Lorenzo] but we've always had people coming in. It's a different guy every day."
As this series unfolds, this could be the nascent story about the Brewers 2018. With all the talk about the depth of the Dodgers and their ability to exploit the value from every point on the list, the Brewers do the same. It's just that their jobs are held down by players who are not as wealthy or famous as their colleagues in Los Angeles.
"We are a team," said Yelich. "We all need something to contribute, we have to have all 25 guys, they're a great team on the other side, and we'll need posts from everyone across the line and on the pitch." Staff, if we want to win the series.
Yelich is the MVP's top candidate in the National League, the closest to a Hollywood-style matinee idol the Brewers have, even coming from Los Angeles, but having seen his exploits in the second half Brewers manager Craig Counsell said before the game on Monday that the few grease fields Yelich saw he slandered.  Yelich started his night with a walk, his ninth off-season, who told you a lot about his nature, but when he stepped on the plate to run the eighth inning, he was at 3 in his non-walk performances The Dodgers brought their defense into the kind of shift Yelich sees a lot in. The expectation was that the guy who hit 36 homers and nearly won the NL's NL triple crown in the season would do what baseball bats diddo in 2018 – try to crack the layer.
Instead, Yelich put perfect money on the table's third baseline and wound up on the first base. Wait, which side of the script was that?
"Out of the inning, no one out," Yelich said. "If they give it to you, why do not you take it? I have no problems with the flag, it was a good fire."
During the Brewers' Game 3 win, there were small puffs in the eye of expectation. That started with the starter. Jhoulys Chacin posted eight earned runs in 4ª innings in his only earlier start at Dodger Stadium this season. He went against rookie Righty Walker Buehler, whose ERA was over 12 starts at 1.34 in the ballpark
So, of course, Chacin has overtaken Buehler. This is another turn to our formulaic story. Chacin turned into a midwestern, right-handed version of Madison Bumgarner this October. He put on 5⅓ scoreless innings on Monday, and now he has hung 10⅓ zeroes to start his postseason. Only four other starters in the post-season history have started their playoff careers with two goalless outings of five innings or more: Corey Kluber (2016), Steve Avery (1991), Joe Niekro (1980 and 1981) and Christy Mathewson (1905). 19659002] Christy Mathewson!
"Jhoulys was outstanding tonight," Counsell said. "He made big pitches, the [second-inning] strikeout to [Yasmani] Grandal was a huge place, we gave him the ball the last four times, it was a great performance every time."
Chacin's outing came after Wade Miley threw Shutout Innings in Game 2 and eliminated 15 Straight Dodgers in a point. It has gone for the Brewers in the postseason.
"Our boys, whom we give the ball at the beginning of the game, do a job, man," Counsell said. "They really set the tone for games, they put us in a good position."
Remember, everything was about the bullpen. But after Game 3, Brewers relievers have a 3.07 ERA over 29⅓ innings per ESPN stats & information data. Not bad. But this overlooked rotation (including Counsel's celebrated "first dropout")? That would be a .35 ERA in 25⅔ innings. Milwaukee's starters have allowed exactly one run in the playoffs so far.
Is it possible that the Brewers' starters took their lack of respect just a little bit personally?
"Personally, I do not think so about it," Miley said. "I just have the same philosophy as the whole year, just go out and try to get as many outs as possible, I know that we have a pretty good bull there, so the sooner we hold the ball in their hands, us we know we have a good chance of ending it, obviously we want to do well, try to do well, and things are just going, we want to try and continue that. "
OK. What about the bullpen? It was good in Game 3, obviously, with Milwaukee announcing his third off-season shutout. That's amazing, by the way. The Brewers are the third team to have three shutouts in the first six games of a postseason. The others were Mathewson in 1905 New York Giants and the 1966 Baltimore Orioles. The latter is bad juju for the Dodgers; It was the club that defeated Sandy Koufax's last team in the World Series before retiring early. However, Corey Knebel, Joakim Soria and Hader combined 2ª innings of lockdown relief, with a combined six strikeouts Monday.
Hader, who has made a name for himself with multiple strokes, beat both shots in just eight pitches.
Milwaukee led 4-0 when Hader was called to finish eighth, touching more than a fair bit of debate. Counsell has said many times that he did not want Hader to pit in back-to-back games, so why would he use him there, in a place with little influence? That's not how we wrote it.
"The other team is pretty good and they respect the thugs in their team," Counsell said. "And I thought that [Joc] Pederson and [Max] Muncy would disappear because of itching, was a good way to get out of the car, Josh worked very hard tonight."
While Hader may have struggled, can eight places really be called "back" this season? When it came to discussing the availability of Hader for Game 4 on Tuesday, Counsell played it cautiously. And maybe that's the most important part – to save the threat from Hader, that he did not play in Game 2.
"We will always look and see how he feels and everything," Counsell said. "Obviously, the task was to take him out of the game, make him available for games 4 and 5 when we need him."
The four-run advantage Hader helped with was established in a few unedited moments. First, in the sixth, Shaw lifted a fly to the right, which was just on. Dodgers Center fielder Cody Bellinger seemed to give up and ran to the fence at the last moment. The ball bounced off the wall, and Shaw landed on third base.
Do you know how many Triple Shaw had met earlier this season? Zero
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"I hit the ball pretty well," said Shaw, who seemed to be in a good mood. "I thought it was enough to get out, apparently I do not have pop, but I'll take a triple, first of the year."
In the seventh, another unlikely recurring theme was re-emerged for the Brewers. That's production from the bottom of the order. No. 7 Hitter Erik Kratz doubled. Then shortstop Orlando Arcia stopped a 356-foot flying ball to the opposite field, which found a sweet spot just inside the right field foul stake for a two-run homer.
Arcia, whom we all know is a big-field, no-hit shortstop, was demoted to Triple-A this season because of his fighting on the plate. Twice. He met three home league players all season. His home game in Game 3 was his third October.
Do you know what? Take this script away. Nobody will believe it.
"He plays well in big games," said Shaw of Arcia. "Everyone knows what he is defensively on the table, he helped a lot here on the plate, the end of the sequence rolled the lineup, he leads the team in the post season in Homers, he plays well and just swings well is a huge deal at the end of the order. "
The bottom three places in the Milwaukee sequence during the playoffs and, considering this includes the pitchers, produced a slash line of .318 / .375 / .591. The first six places – Yelich, Cain, Jesus Aguilar, Mike Moustakas, these people – are at .232 / .327 / .374.
Please. Just stop.
"I think everyone is really looking to do their job," Yelich said. "We focus on the present, we do not care about the future, we do not care about the past, we just care what we have to do to win today, it's a collective group effort, whether you're a positionalist or a pitcher. Everyone pulls on the same rope – it's a lot of fun to be there. "
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After all this – the Shaw Triple, the Arcia Homer, the Chacin Jewel, the Hader Cameo, the MVP's – the Dodgers still had the Binding Run on the plate in the bottom of the ninth. After Los Angeles had made comebacks in the late innings in the first two games, the negotiations became more familiar. This shoot of the script is one that the brewers could do without. After all, it was her ability to close games that should be her best feature.
On the hill was the short helper Jeremy Jeffress, who had a 1.29 ERA during an all-star season and 7.71 ERA by then the postseason. He seemed to be in October, which is not a good thing for him. He gave hits to Justin Turner and Manny Machado. Jeffress got a hit against Bellinger, but went to Yasiel Puig to load the bases.
Counsell got Brandon Woodruff in the stable. After everything went right, it suddenly felt like everything could go so wrong. The second-hand goods sharpened their pencils. But just as suddenly, at just the right time, Jefferson's regular season cropped up, grazing Grandal and Brian Dozier to finish the game.
"I think they wanted to bring him back, trying to get his self-confidence level up," Shaw said. "His inning began just like the last two games, but today he has found a way to get through and made some big pitches to beat these two guys, all that matters is that we won and we are 2-1
Which brings us to our final shoot of the script After three games, the underdog brewers beat the mighty Dodgers, and they have home advantage again when the series lasts long.
"It's big," Shaw said, "We're going back to Milwaukee for guarantees."