1. Grind out at-bats, score early
The Los Angeles Dodgers and Milwaukee Brewers present a stylistic matchup reminiscent to an MMA bout. What the Dodgers thrive in could be the Brewers’ biggest weakness; what the Brewers thrive in could be what takes them to the 2018 World Series.
The Los Angeles Dodgers thrive at grinding out at-bats and scoring runs early in the game. The Boys in Blue scored in the first inning in 38.32 percent (h/t Evan Lovett) of their regular season games, good enough for second in the MLB. The Brew Crew finished third, scoring in the first inning 37.95 percent of the time.
This is important as the Brewers have been so successful by managing games with a deep bullpen. The starting pitching is not great and Milwaukee has not been shy in relying on the bullpen for most of the game.
None of the starters in the NLDS went more than five innings. In game one, the Brewers had the audacity to throw a bullpen game, starting Brandon Woodruff, who threw three innings.
The Colorado Rockies never held a lead in the NLDS, which helped the Brewers look so dominant. The Brewers scored early, trusted the bullpen and managed to shut out the Rockies in games two and three and walk it off in ten innings in game one.
The Dodgers need to deliver that knockout punch. While the team wants to stay away from the bullpen, the Dodgers need to try and get to it before the fifth inning; make the long relief guys work an inning or two.
Trailing the Brewers by two or more runs after five innings is a death wish. The Dodgers need to do what they do best and attack early.