The narrative for the NLCS before the game was the Brewers pitching matchups against the Dodgers‘ ability to use their bench. However, it ultimately boiled down to errors on the side of the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw failing to go deep into a playoff game again.
After a leadoff single to Lorenzo Cain, who then advanced to second on a passed ball by Yasmani Grandal, Kershaw battled through a 10-pitch strikeout to Yelich, and retired the next two batters on grounders to short.
Manny Machado led off the bottom of the second with a home run, a laser to left center field that just cleared the wall. It was his second this season off a curveball, and his hardest hit ever, 116 MPH off the bat.
Starter Gio Gonzalez lasted all of two innings, allowing the homer to Machado and a walk to Kiké Hernandez. RHP Brandon Woodruff replaced him in the top of the third. He retired the side, and then promptly hit a 407 foot homer in the bottom of the third off Kershaw to tie the game at one.
Grandal had a horrid night behind the plate. Cain followed with a single, and Kershaw walked Yelich. A second passed ball allowed the runners to move to second and third, and a catcher’s interference negated an amazing catch by David Freese for what would’ve been the second out of the inning. Kershaw then induced a sac fly by Hernan Perez, and Grandal missed the throw from center allowing the runners to advance. Kershaw struck out Mike Moustakis to end the inning.
Woodruff countered by striking out the side, including Roberts’ first countermove of the evening, replacing Freese with Max Muncy.
After a leadoff walk and a misplayed ball in left field by Chris Taylor, the Brewers had runners at second and third with no outs, and 73 pitches though 3.0 innings. Kershaw allowed a two run single to Domingo Santana, and Kershaw’s night was done.
Ryan Madson entered the game with a runner on first. He induced a fly out to Cain, and struck out Yelich. After a stolen base by Santana, Madson allowed a single to Braun scoring Santana, and taking the score to 5-1.
Josh Hader, reliever extraordinaire, came in the top of the fifth, and promptly retired the side on nine pitches. He pitched three scoreless innings, presumably leaving him out of the bullpen mix for Game 2.
Julio Urías, added to the bullpen in place of Scott Alexander, who is presumed to be injured, surrendered an opposite field home run to Jesús Aguilar.
The Dodgers showed signs of life in the top of the eighth, plating three runs on a two run single by Machado and an RBI single by Matt Kemp, bringing the score to 6-4.
The Dodgers somehow managed to hold Yelich 0-for-4 for the game, the only slot in the lineup that didn’t have a hit. Cain, for his part, reached all four times.
The Dodgers rallied in the ninth, getting one more run across the plate, but ultimately fell short. But good things were to be gained from this game. They got to the bullpen, and Hader should not be available in Game 2. If the Dodgers play clean baseball defensively, they may have won this game.
Game 2 will be Saturday at 1:09 pacific time, when the Brewers will send Wade Miley to the mound to face off against Walker Buehler.
6 thoughts on “Brewers Hold Off Dodgers in Game 1 of NLCS”
They should start Ryu, and save Buehler for game 3, I think Buehler pitches better at home. I’m glad the dodgers fought back to make it a close game, for a while it looked like they were going to just roll over for the brewers. We only need to win one game in Milwaukee, doesn’t matter game one or game two.
Got your wish Keith. Ryu starts. Barnes starting at catcher. I find it fascinating that after having 4 decent at bats and no strike outs yesterday, Belli isn’t starting today when there is no chance he’ll have to face Hader. Maybe he has bad stats against Miley. The one thing that is driving me absolutely nuts is Roberts’ intense need to pull Freese every time they insert a righty pitcher. His stats show he can hit righties, even if not as well as southpaws. This guy is playoff proven and should be left in the lineup for nine innings today no matter who pitches. If you absolutely have to put Muncy into the game (and he isn’t having a very good playoff season), find a different spot to use him or move Freese somewhere else on the diamond.
I think Roberts got played by the brewers yesterday. They knew he would make some kind of a match up move, with the early pitching change, and he played right into their hands. It cost us a dangerous hitter, plus limited our depth off of the bench later in the game. I would have let Freese bat against Hader at least once, if for no other reason than to be not so damn predictable, btw kudos to counsell for getting a batter with 54 playoff rbis out of the game with only one ab. Right now it feels like counsell is using his bull pen to dictate which players are in our lineup. I would give Freese a couple abs against a lefty to see what he could do, but you and I know, Jeff, the dodgers won’t stray away from the numbers.
I think the numbers show pitching Ryu today, and saving Buehler for game 3 at home was the smart choice, I like our chances today, but if this turns into a close game, it would not surprise me to see Hader again today, the brewers seem willing to do whatever it takes to win.
I completely agree with you Keith. The Dodger strategy has become so predictable that the opposing manager is actually doing our managing for us by inserting and/or pulling various bullpen guys in certain situations and thereby causing the desired counter move by us. Sometimes you can outsmart yourself and that seems to be what we’ve done here. Time to be unpredictable and go with the hot bats, at least farther into the game. I would love to see us bring back Freese next year but I can’t see why he’d want to sign here when every time a right handed pitcher appears in the same county he’s told to go put his bat in the rack and sit down.
Well, counsell did it again he had our bench completely burnt by the 7th inning, good thing this game didn’t go into extra innings. All we needed was a split, it didn’t matter how we got it. After two games, I like our chances, the brewers have had a lot things go their way, but they’re 1-1, and lucky they’re not down 0-2. The brewers have played really well, but the dodgers have taken all of their best punches, and just kept coming. I don’t expect Wade Miley to pitch like that again either. As well as we’re playing, it doesn’t change the fact that counsell is dictating how these games are being played. In retrospect the dodgers maybe should have went with 6 guys on the bench, to combat the brewers bull pen.
Actually, you probably should expect Miley to pitch like that again. BEFORE yesterday’s great performance he had pitched two other times against us this year. A total of 13 innings with 6 hits and 1 run. Apparently he has our number. That said, the more they use their bullpen, the more tired they’ll be and the more we will have had exposure to them. Both of those work to our advantage. We always seem to do best when I least expect it so the fact that I’m feeling pretty confident right now scares the hell out of me.