The Milwaukee Brewers shut out the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-0 in game three of the MLB National League Championship Series.
After the Brewers' vaunted bullpen stumbled in the first two games of the NLCS, Milwaukee needed a big performance from starter Jhoulys Chacin and they got it on Monday.
Chacin – a 30-year-old journeyman pitching for his sixth MLB team – went 5.3 scoreless innings to help give the Brewers a 2-1 lead in the series.
Game four is at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Tuesday.
Chacin continues outstanding work by Brewers starters
Coming into the NLCS, the Brewers' bullpen dominated talk about the team's pitching. Yet Milwaukee's starters have arguably made the difference in this series.
In game three, the Brewers' unexpected ace Chacin stepped up with an unexpectedly good performance.
The well-travelled veteran pitched 5.3 scoreless innings, yielding only three hits (with two walks) while striking out six. The right-hander does not have a commanding fastball, instead relying on a slider and changeup. Everything worked Monday against the Dodgers' powerful line-up.
It was an especially notable performance, given Chacin entered the game with a 4.96 ERA in 11 career starts at Dodger Stadium.
So through three games, the Brewers starters — or "initial out-getters" as manager Craig Counsell calls them — have allowed only one earned run and six hits in 13 innings. The bullpen, which laboured in the first couple of games, pitched 3.6 scoreless innings, although closer Jeremy Jeffress walked a tightrope in the ninth, loading the bases before retiring LA.
Yelich has unexpectedly gone cold … but Arcia has stepped up
Christian Yelich – the presumed 2018 NL MVP – had a hit in three at-bats and scored the Brewers' first run, but he has struggled otherwise in the series, with two hits and no RBIs in 12 at-bats. Several of the Brewers' big bats have been stymied by the Dodgers, including Ryan Braun (.167), Mike Moustakas (.182) and Jesus Aguilar (.222).
Luckily, Orlando Arcia has been doing his best Yelich impression this postseason. The light-hitting shortstop (.236 batting average, three home runs during the regular season), gave the Brewers some breathing room and a 4-0 lead with a two-run homer in the seventh.
It was Arcia's second homer of the NLCS, and third of the postseason. No one figured he would be a postseason hero, not with guys like Yelich, Braun, Moustakas, etc., around. But baseball's a funny game.
Dodgers face virtual must-win situation next two games
Technically, game four is not a must-win for the Dodgers. They only trail 2-1 in the series. But lose either game four or five at home, and they head to Milwaukee needing to sweep two games. Not an easy task.
So what is the blueprint for beating the Brewers? The Dodgers need to get to the Brewers early, and try to wear down their bullpen. Their big bats need to step up. The Dodgers were second in the majors with 235 home runs this season. They have two in this series. Game four would be a good time to get things rolling.
|NFL playoffs: Patrick Mahomes v Tom Brady|
|NFL playoffs: Jared Goff v Drew Brees|
|Sixers sign Brewer to 10-day contract|
|Lozano and Morgan scoop CONCACAF awards|
|Lakers ´optimistic´ about LeBron injury|
|Giants produce mammoth fourth quarter against Nymburk|
|Austin FC to join MLS in 2021|
|Henry, Vieira look forward to reunion when Monaco host Nice|
|Barcelona reject Neymar phone call reports|
|Wentz is the quarterback ´going forward´, says Eagles coach Pederson|
|Gattuso: Higuain has not asked to leave|
|Drew Brees by the Opta numbers: 10 facts for QB´s milestone birthday|
|Harry Kane injury: England captain´s history of ankle woe|
|Harry Kane injury: Opta numbers suggest Spurs struggles|
|Harry Kane injury: Tottenham´s options in striker´s absence|
|Allegri: Supercoppa clash practice for Champions League knockouts|
|First in clean sheets, second to Schmeichel in titles – Cech´s Premier League career in Opta numbers|
|Warrington sign England star Widdop|
|Gatland confident Wales can win Six Nations|
|Fulham sign Netherlands international Babel|
|Harry Kane injury: Games the Tottenham striker will miss|
|Simeone focused on matches, not transfer dealings|
|Iran v Iraq: Pressure off for Queiroz & Katanec|
|Vietnam v Yemen: Kocian keeps the faith|
|Darren Bravo back in West Indies Test side for first time since 2016|
|Kane out until March with ankle injury|
|South Korea v China: Son arrives for Group C dead rubber|
|Kyrgyzstan v Philippines: Eriksson remains hopeful|
|McGrath to miss Six Nations, Sexton nearing fitness|
|Kohli savours Dhoni ´classic´|
|Ford: People obsess over Farrell fly-half battle|
|EFL asks Leeds to explain ´spygate´ scandal|
|No alarms for Djokovic and Zverev, Raonic masters Kyrgios|
|Australia 3 Syria 2: Rogic breaks hearts with stoppage-time winner|
|Palestine 0 Jordan 0: Socceroos winner keeps hopes alive for Lions of Canaan|
|Halep: The results don´t matter any more|
|Hard work for Halep as Serena and Osaka sail through|
|Napoli director to take legal action over ´false´ quotes about Rog move|
|Alexander-Arnold facing absence of up to four weeks|
|Solari: We only have one number nine at Real Madrid|
|Halfpenny & Young named in Wales´ Six Nations squad|
|Crawford v Khan confirmed for April 20|
|Centurion Kohli inspires India to level ODI series|
|Wagner hails Huddersfield togetherness after exit|
|Hughes to join Bristol, Le Roux also leaving Wasps|
|ICC appoints Sawhney as new CEO|
|Forest appoint club legend O´Neill as new manager|
|Halep digs deep to gain revenge over Kanepi|
|Cech to retire at the end of the season|
|Brisbane Roar 0 Melbourne Victory 5: Barbarouses treble sinks Roar|
|´Struggling´ Azarenka breaks down in tears following Australian Open exit|
|Dominant Djokovic coasts through in Melbourne|
|Allardyce admits Huddersfield appointment is ´highly unlikley´|
|Choupo-Mouting: Manchester United have changed|
|Faletau set to miss Six Nations with another broken arm|
|UEFA opens disciplinary proceedings into Chelsea chants|
|Serena´s the greatest ever - Bouchard relishing second-round clash|
|Mbappe can become the new Pele - Pele|
|Wade needs to learn quickly if he´s to make NFL switch a success, says Sanu|
|Azarenka beaten in first Australian Open match since 2016|
|Kings use balanced scoring attack to top Trail Blazers|
|Hewitt laughs off Tomic criticism|
|We love Ederson the way he is - Guardiola on Man City´s sweeper keeper|
|Serena: The greatest win of my career|
|Salah will be motivated by criticism – Henderson|
|He was always going to be good – Surprise 2005 Challenger loss wasn´t stopping Murray|
|Harden sets NBA record for most consecutive 30-point games|
|Spurs honour Parker with video tribute during his return to San Antonio|
|Irving: I´ll never question Celtics team-mates publicly again|
|Serena steamrolls Maria in Australian Open return|