The Los Angeles Dodgers are heading to the team’s third consecutive NLCS and for the first time in all three years, aren’t facing the Chicago Cubs.
The Los Angeles Dodgers gave the fans a bit of a scare in the NLDS before reminding everyone who the Dodgers really are to advance to the National League Championship series.
After taking the first two games of the series at home against the Atlanta Braves, the Dodgers fell in game three due to Walker Buehler walking in a run with the pitcher at the plate and an ensuing Ronald Acuna Jr. grand slam.
The Dodger bats did the best they could to even up the score before Alex Wood allowed his first ever home run on a breaking ball against a left-handed batter. Freddie Freeman blasted a home run into right-field to give the game its final score, 6-5.
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In game four, there were worries that the Dodgers would need a fifth game in Los Angeles to finish the series. The Braves overcame a 1-0 deficit to take a 2-1 lead and the Dodgers offense did not look great.
However, David Freese delivered a clutch two-out base hit to give the Dodgers a 3-2 lead before Manny Machado blasted a three-run home run in the top of the seventh inning to give the team the final tally of 6-2.
Now, the Dodgers face the Milwaukee Brewers, who have been as hot as a baseball team can be entering the contest. The Brewers swept the Colorado Rockies in the NLDS and finished the season on an eight-game winning streak.
The Brewers have not lost since September 22.
That worries some Dodger fans and I would be completely ignorant to say that the Brewers do not present a challenge for the experienced Los Angeles Dodgers. However, the Brewers are also not as scary as you may think.
The reason why? The Dodgers have the offense to break the Brewers down. With a stellar pitching staff that thrived outside of that grand slam, it hopefully should be enough to get the job done.
The Brewers arguably have the best bullpen in the postseason with so many weapons to throw at the Dodgers. However, the starting pitching is not as good and will be the difference maker in the series.
Don’t get me wrong, the Brewers starting pitching is not bad, but is not close to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers know this, the Brewers know this and both sides are going to do the part to limit the damage.
Not a single Brewers starting pitcher went more than five innings with the three starters going a combined 12 and two-thirds innings in three games. While they have the deep bullpen to do that, that will also eventually wear on a team and in all instances, the Brewers were ahead when those changes were made.
Against the Dodgers, though, the Brewers come up against a team that is not afraid to take a strike and work out long at-bats. This is a team that can go down 1-2-3 in an inning and still force a pitcher to throw 18 pitches.
This has a huge impact on a pitcher in a series and opens the window of success for the Dodgers. In all four games against the Braves, the Dodgers scored within the first three innings. In all three wins, the Dodgers scored in the first inning.
That is a result of grinding out results and getting opportunities that teams like the Colorado Rockies did not have. In game four, for instance, Max Muncy worked out a two-out walk before Manny Machado drove him in with an RBI double.
The Dodgers are so deep they can make a two-out walk turn into a run and even then some. All while that happens, the pitch count rises and the bullpen has to scramble.
As good as the bullpen is, it means nothing if the bullpen comes in with a three-run deficit that the Dodgers starting pitching can protect.
The Los Angeles Dodgers will have their hands full with Christian Yelich and the Brewers offense. However, I am comfortable saying that LA’s offense will beat up this Brewers’ pitching staff.