The National League’s two hottest second-half teams will face off to see which will comedy for a pennant. By advantage of eliminating the Cubs in a aing 13-inning Wild-Card Bold at Wrigley Field on Tuesday night, the cipher Rockies will action the Brewers, who belted Chicago for the NL Central appellation on Monday in a Bold 163. But which band has the advantage in this Analysis Alternation clash?
Both Colorado and Milwaukee surged into playoff spots by communicable blaze bottomward the stretch: The above went 19–9 in September, the closing 19–7. Each additionally had a adventitious to win its corresponding analysis in a tie-breaking Bold 163, but alone the Brewers pulled off the accomplishment by topping the Cubs. The Rockies fell to the Dodgers, abrogation them in the NL Wild Card Bold and with a able biking schedule: Since Sunday, they’ve gone from Denver to Los Angeles to Chicago and now to Milwaukee, with NLDS Bold 1 apery their fourth in the aftermost bristles days.
It’s awe-inspiring to anticipate of the Rockies accepting a bigger rotation, but that’s the case here, area Colorado has the top two starters on either ancillary in lefty Kyle Freeland and righty German Marquez. The above was ablaze in the wild-card game, blanking the Cubs over 6 2/3 innings on three days’ rest, to abide a division in which he’s been Cy Young caliber. The closing struggled adjoin the Dodgers in Bold 163, giving up four runs—two earned—in 4 2/3 innings, admitting he did bang out nine. Added importantly, Marquez was ascendant in the additional half, with a 2.61 ERA and 124 punchouts in 93 frames of work.
Unfortunately for Colorado, neither Freeland nor Marquez will be on the bank for either Bold 1 or 2 (and won’t angle at all if Milwaukee sweeps). Instead, the Rockies will about-face to righty Antonio Senzatela and lefty Tyler Anderson to alpha the series. Neither is a abating choice. Senzatela’s strikeout numbers are poor (a 17.7% rate) but he gets bags of groundballs, abacus up to a 4.38 ERA in 90 1/3 regular-season innings. Anderson, meanwhile, acquaint a 4.55 ERA in 176 innings and is a league-average abode by peripherals. They’re both back-of-the-rotation starters, but that’s what the Rockies accept to assignment with unless they accompany Marquez aback on abbreviate blow for Bold 2.
Milwaukee’s starters, meanwhile, are an dull bunch. The best is accomplished righty Jhoulys Chacin, who captivated the Cubs to one run over bristles innings in Bold 163. Administrator Craig Counsell additionally has lefties Gio Gonzalez and Wade Miley at his disposal. Gonzalez has affluence of postseason acquaintance from his time with the Nationals, and afterwards actuality acquired by Milwaukee on Aug. 31, he put up a 2.13 ERA in 25 1/3 frames with 22 strikeouts. His abiding problem, though, is command: In those 25 1/3 innings, he absolved 10 batters. As for Miley, he survives on guile and groundballs and is no one’s abstraction of an ace or annihilation aing to it.
For Bold 1, though, Counsell is activity to let it ride absolutely with his bullpen, with an opener yet to be determined. That’s the aforementioned action the Athletics followed for the AL Wild-Card Game, and with Milwaukee’s accurate accidental of accomplished relievers, it’s a artifice that makes sense. Added on that abode and its agreement advancing in a little bit.
Slight Edge: Rockies
Milwaukee’s starting nine is a minefield for pitchers. Between Lorenzo Cain, Christian Yelich, Ryan Braun, Jesus Aguilar, Travis Shaw, Mike Moustakas and Jonathan Schoop, the Brewers accept several hitters who can aching you with a distinct swing. Yelich is the agent here: The NL MVP admired went supernova in the additional half, hitting .367/.449/.770 with 25 home runs. Cain was a agitating attendance aloft the lineup, announcement a .395 on-base percentage. Aguilar bankrupt out with 35 homers, while Shaw absurd 32. Neither Moustakas (a 104 OPS afterwards advancing over from Kansas City) nor Schoop (a bare 53 OPS afterwards actuality acquired from the Orioles) hit able-bodied bottomward the stretch, but both accept biggy ability if annihilation else.
The Brewers’ calendar is aloof apparent added than Colorado’s, too. Few teams accept a leash as able as the Rockies’ admixture of Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story and Charlie Blackmon, but things abatement off afterwards that. David Dahl was baking in September, but otherwise, Colorado is counting on turn-back-the-clock performances from crumbling veterans like Ian Desmond, Carlos Gonzalez and Gerardo Parra. You got a aftertaste of how all-a-quiver a action that was adjoin the Cubs, back the Rockies aching calm alone two runs over 13 innings.
One affair that should advice both abandon offensively is that Miller Park and Coors Field are both hitters’ paradises, with the closing a abeyant date for a run-scoring bonanza in Bold 3. Additionally account acquainted is that Colorado’s bank is abbreviate on righthanded hitters, which should advice Gonzalez and Miley and will be important for Counsell in arena matchups in the backward innings.
Here’s area Milwaukee absolutely shines. The Brewers’ abode ranked in the top six in the majors in ERA (3.47), strikeout amount (27.6%), swinging-strike amount (13.1%) and FanGraphs Wins Above Replacement (7.1) and was sixth in fiber amount (76.5%) and seventh in boilerplate fastball acceleration (93.9). Led by lefty strikeout baron Josh Hader (a amazing 143 in 81 1/3 innings, or 15.8 per nine) and a brace of closers in Corey Knebel (88 punchouts in 55 1/3 frames) and Jeremy Jeffress (89 in 76 2/3), this abatement band is adamantine to touch.
Counsell will use them heavily as well, with Hader acceptable to get six to eight outs in an Andrew Miller-type role. Behind him, Counsell will accept Knebel, Jeffress, southpaw Dan Jennings (against whom lefties had a .570 OPS this season), accomplished righty Joakim Soria, and multi-inning weapon Corbin Burnes, amid others. It’s a Swiss Army knife of a bullpen, with a apparatus for every job.
Rockies administrator Bud Black has no such luck. His abode careened through an active season, arising in October aged and shallow. Righty Adam Ottavino is Black’s go-to advantage in the backward innings, and afterpiece Wade Davis is a postseason-tested veteran. But the closing had a 4.13 ERA in 65 1/3 innings and was abhorrent in aftermost year’s playoffs for the Cubs, admitting he shone in the wild-card d adjoin Chicago on Tuesday, throwing 1 1/3 scoreless frames.
Beyond those two, Black has Korean righty Seunghwan Oh, who was solid afterwards advancing over midseason from Toronto, and Scott Oberg, a groundball-machine who bankrupt out the wild-card win. What will acceptable anguish him is that he lacks a abeyance lefty to adverse Yelich, Shaw and Moustakas: Chris Rusin is his top best there, but the 31-year-old southpaw is advancing off a barbarous 2018 (a 6.09 ERA and 26 walks in 54 2/3 innings).
Big Edge: Brewers
This will be Counsell’s aboriginal cruise to the postseason in three-plus years at Milwaukee’s helm. The above Brewer has accurate accomplished at managing his bullpen—arguably a manager’s best important assignment in this postseason era—and commonly deploys his bank to acceptable results: The Brewers’ 10 pinch-hit homers ranked aboriginal in the majors this season. Milwaukee doesn’t often, abandonment small-ball for power.
For Black, this is his additional beeline year demography the Rockies to the playoffs, admitting he and Colorado fell abbreviate in the wild-card d aftermost season. An 11-year veteran, Black is as old academy as it gets: His aggregation was angry for third in baseball in cede attempts this year, his relievers were rarely asked to get added than three outs at a time, and his starters frequently faced a calendar a third time.
Making up for a attenuate rotation, the Brewers’ abatement band is activity to be the chief agency in this series. They’ll be tasked with accepting bags of outs—only A’s relievers pitched added innings this year amid playoff teams than Milwaukee’s group—in every game. If they can do that, this will apparently be a quick series. But a bead in capability opens the aperture to a Rockies upset.
Milwaukee’s abode gives it a huge edge, and its calendar appearance both the best hitter of the alternation and added boxy outs. Without Freeland and Marquez early, Colorado is at a big disadvantage on the alley and will be hard-pressed to accomplish up for that.
Brewers in 4
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