Posted on October 19, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine
After five games that have gone back and forth, the Milwaukee Brewers are facing elimination heading into Friday’s Game 6 of the NLCS in Milwaukee. Both teams have scored 16 runs over the first five games of the series, with three of the five games decided by a single run, showing how even this series has been. Alas, it’s the Brewers who are facing elimination while the Dodgers are one win away from their second straight trip to the Fall Classic.
Stealing the Show
Heading into this series, Milwaukee’s bullpen was supposed to be their biggest strength. However, the Dodgers seemed to have turned the tables on them. The Los Angeles bullpen has posted a 1.25 ERA in this series. Milwaukee’s bullpen, on the other hand, has a 3.48 ERA with the Dodgers hitting .244 against them. The biggest difference between the two is that Milwaukee’s bullpen has been asked to cover a lot more innings. Of course, Craig Counsell isn’t about to change his game plan. It’s still on Milwaukee’s bullpen to carry them over the next two games.
Counsell tried to pull a fast one in Game 5 by starting Wade Miley but pulling him after one batter to try to fool the Dodgers. However, it will indeed be Miley starting Game 6. Keep in mind that Miley has thrown 10.1 scoreless innings in the postseason, so the Brewers should feel comfortable with him taking the mound. The only question is how long of a leash he’ll have in an elimination game despite how well he’s pitched this year and in the postseason.
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Meanwhile, the Dodgers will turn to Hyun-Jin Ryu in Game 6. Ryu was arguably the team’s best starter during the second half of the season. But the Brewers got to him a little bit in Game 2, scoring two runs on six hits over 4.1 innings. The Dodgers were able to overcome that deficit, but they were still expecting more out of Ryu. Of course, that was his first time facing most of Milwaukee’s hitters, so after going through their lineup a couple times, he may be better prepared to face the Brewers this time around.
For the Dodgers, Max Muncy could be an X-factor in Game 6. He was in the Game 5 starting lineup even though the lefty Miley was starting, so Dave Roberts could go back to him again. Even if he doesn’t start, Muncy is bound to come off the bench at some point. He’s just 3 for 15 with nine strikeouts in this series but the Dodgers know what he can do, especially after he hit two home runs during the NLDS. Whether it’s against Miley or the bullpen, he’s someone who’s capable of delivering a big hit for Los Angeles.
Ryan Braun has to be the X-factor for the Brewers in Game 6. Milwaukee’s left-handed contingent of Christian Yelich, Mike Moustakas, and Travis Shaw has been held in check this series. That will likely continue against Ryu, leaving it up to right-handed hitters like Braun to step up. Braun has been relatively quiet in the postseason with just one extra-base hit. But he’s a longtime Brewer and the team’s elder statesman, so if Milwaukee is going to stay alive, he has to be the catalyst.
The games in this series have been so close that any game could go either way. However, with the Brewers facing a must-win situation, they’ll pull out all the stops in Game 6. With the home crowd behind them, the Brew Crew will find a way to force a Game 7. Milwaukee wins 5-3.
Note: This prediction is the opinion of the author and not necessarily the prediction of Jon Price or Sports Information Traders.