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.
|Ichiro retires: Baseball legend bids farewell in Tokyo|
|Rockets´ defensive frailties frustrate Harden|
|Embiid: Smart´s cheap shot inspired 76ers win|
|Embiid leads 76ers to rallying win over Celtics, Raptors top Thunder in OT|
|Angels confirm Trout´s record contract extension|
|Sixers star Joel Embiid: I´m the most unstoppable player in the NBA|
|Spurs coach Popovich gives Wade special gifts before final matchup|
|´You just gotta keep pushing´ – Kobe Bryant gives advice to LeBron James|
|Kyler Murray criticism ´garbage´, says Oklahoma team-mate Powers|
|MLB preview: Projecting AL Central|
|Zion Williamson and five other stars to watch during March Madness|
|Bucks forward Mirotic out two to four weeks|
|Harper happy Trout blew him out the water|
|Ichiro´s standing ovation & A´s pitching woes - Five things you may have missed from MLB opener|
|Meet Brody Oliver - The engineering graduate set to test his NFL mettle|
|Middleton: Bucks itching for the playoffs|
|Thompson non-committal over World Cup|
|Bucks hand Lakers fourth consecutive loss|
|Rockets´ James Harden makes NBA history|
|Clippers coach Rivers denies report he´s interested in Lakers job|
|Former Packers linebacker Matthews signs with Rams|
|MLB preview: Projecting AL East|
|Raiders sign linebacker Burfict|
|Barkley on Beckham trade: I was sad to see him go|
|Cowboys sign former Packers wide receiver Cobb|
|Panthers sign DE Bruce Irvin|
|LeBron, Antetokounmpo to sit out Lakers-Bucks|
|Trout reportedly set to sign record-breaking deal with Angels|
|It´s party time - Malone revels in Nuggets playoff qualification|
|Nowitzki relieved to surpass ´freak of nature´ Chamberlain|
|Nuggets clinch playoff spot with win over Celtics|
|Manziel in contention for AAF debut on Sunday|
|DeMarcus Cousins ´day-to-day´ after MRI on ankle|
|Bogut to join Warriors early after Cousins injury|
|Adrian Peterson returns to Redskins|
|An offer we couldn´t refuse - Giants GM Gettleman breaks silence over Beckham trade|
|I´m retiring from the NFL on top! - Ngata bows out on Kilimanjaro|
|Walton defends LeBron after Knicks defeat|
|Brewers spoof Mean Girls during spring training|
|76ers top Bucks despite Antetokounmpo´s 52 points|
|LeBron to return against Knicks|
|Trail Blazers waiting on McCollum MRI scan|
|Kerr: Suns shock a wake-up call for Warriors|
|Warriors dominate Thunder to clinch playoff berth|
|Conor McGregor makes surprise NHL appearance|
|Lakers forward Ingram expected to make full recovery for next season|
|Zion Williamson leads Duke to victory|
|Spurs top Knicks for seventh straight win, Lakers lose|
|MLB preview: Five storylines to watch during season|
|Giants pitcher Samardzija wants ties in MLB|
|Browns´ Mayfield defends Odell Beckham Jr|
|Phillies star Harper limps out of training game with foot contusion|
|Dolphins deal Ryan Tannehill to Titans|
|LeBron James to sit out Lakers´ game at Pistons|
|Mariners star Seager to miss at least eight weeks after hand surgery|
|Kareem Hunt banned for eight NFL games|
|Matthews´ last-second put-back keeps Pacers in front of 76ers|
|Bell on skipping 2018 season: I don´t regret anything|
|This Week in US Sports: NFL free agency gets cooking, but trades keep coming|
|Thanks, but no thanks - Zion never considered quitting Duke|
|Zion Williamson to return for Duke on Thursday|
|Beckham pens emotional farewell to New York|
|LeBron evidence that Brand Beckham can thrive in Cleveland, says marketing expert|
|Curry hails Warriors teamwork in the absence of Durant|
|It´s just one loss – Harden not concerned as Rockets´ winning streak ends|
|Westbrook triple-double inspires Thunder, Warriors down Rockets|
|Brown honoured to join ´legendary´ Raiders|
|Jaguars release QB Blake Bortles|
|Bears release kicker Cody Parkey|
|Thompson ´meant no disrespect´ to Warriors fans|