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Brewers-Dodgers G3: Middle of order tweaked

Travel day gives pitchers rest after combined record for appearances
MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- The entertainment value of the National League Championship Series should remain high as the Brewers and Dodgers resume festivities at Dodger Stadium tonight for Game 3.

The last time the clubs met out west was a wild 21-5 Dodgers win over Brewers Game 3 starter Jhoulys Chacin on Aug. 2, when the Dodgers launched seven home runs. Joc Pederson and Yasiel Puig had two each, while Justin Turner, Cody Bellinger and Brian Dozier slugged one apiece.

View Full Game Coverage

MILWAUKEE -- The entertainment value of the National League Championship Series should remain high as the Brewers and Dodgers resume festivities at Dodger Stadium tonight for Game 3.

The last time the clubs met out west was a wild 21-5 Dodgers win over Brewers Game 3 starter Jhoulys Chacin on Aug. 2, when the Dodgers launched seven home runs. Joc Pederson and Yasiel Puig had two each, while Justin Turner, Cody Bellinger and Brian Dozier slugged one apiece.

View Full Game Coverage

:: NLCS schedule and results ::

Los Angeles scored a 10th-inning walk-off win the previous game, 6-4, on Yasmani Grandal's two-run homer. Milwaukee won the first two games of the series, with Wade Miley, Joakim Soria and Jeremy Jeffress combining on a two-hit 1-0 shutout on July 31.

Postseason gear: Brewers | Dodgers

In the history of best-of-seven series with the 2-3-2 format, teams that split the first two games on the road have gone on to take the series 36 of 80 times (45 percent).

Starting lineups
Brewers: With righty Walker Buehler on the mound for L.A., Milwaukee's lineup card is likely to look like so:

1. Lorenzo Cain, CF
2. Christian Yelich, RF
3. Ryan Braun, LF
4. Travis Shaw, 2B
5. Jesus Aguilar, 1B
6. Mike Moustakas, 3B
7. Erik Kratz, C
8. Orlando Arcia, SS
9. Jhoulys Chacin, P

Dodgers: Grandal returns, hitting seventh.

1. Joc Pederson, LF
2. Max Muncy, 1B
3. Justin Turner, 3B
4. Manny Machado, SS
5. Cody Bellinger, CF
6. Yasiel Puig, RF
7. Yasmani Grandal, C
8. Enrique Hernandez, 2B
9. Walker Buehler, P

Who are the starting pitchers?
Brewers: For Chacin (15-8, 3.50 ERA in the regular season), Game 3 of the NLCS will be an exercise in a player's uncanny ability to forget poor performances. On Aug. 2 at Dodger Stadium, a disputed walk helped load the bases for Bellinger's grand slam, part of a 4 1/3-inning outing in which Chacin was charged with nine runs (eight earned) on five hits and four walks.

"I know people might talk a lot about that," said Chacin, who rebounded to post a 2.67 ERA in his final 11 starts of the regular season before delivering five scoreless innings on short rest against the Rockies on Game 2 of the NL Division Series.

Video: NLCS Gm3: Chacin on his effective slider for Game 3

Dodgers: Buehler (8-5, 2.62 ERA) has looked like an ace-in-waiting for the past two months, except for the second inning of Game 3 of the NLDS against the Braves. Things sped up and he struggled through a five-run inning in a noisy ballpark in Atlanta. Los Angeles held Buehler back to make his next start in the more comfortable surroundings of Dodger Stadium. In his only start against the Brewers, he took a tough-luck loss on July 31, allowing one run in seven innings with seven strikeouts and no walks.

Video: NLCS Gm3: Buehler on secondary pitches before Game 3

How will the bullpens line up after the starter?
Brewers: Let's just say that Sunday's travel day was welcome. Jeffress and Corey Knebel have now pitched in all five of the Brewers' postseason games. Even though there was a nice layoff between rounds, Jeffress threw 39 pitches in Games 1 and 2, and Knebel 31. Josh Hader was off limits in Game 2 after throwing a season-high 46 pitches in Game 1. Soria was off in Game 2 after pitching each of Milwaukee's first four postseason games. The off-day should provide something of a reset.

Video: NLCS Gm3: Counsell on his bullpen strategy for Game 3

Dodgers: They showed the game plan if they have a lead after seven innings. Caleb Ferguson faces the lefties, Kenta Maeda sets up and Kenley Jansen is the closer.

Video: NLCS Gm2: Jansen retires Yelich for clutch save

Are there any relievers who are unavailable?
Brewers: Probably not, although manager Craig Counsell said he'd wait until today to make that determination.

Dodgers: L.A. used seven relievers in Game 2 (all but Julio Urias), but only Pedro Baez was used for more than three outs (four), and with a Sunday day off, everybody is probably available.

Any injuries of note?
Brewers: No.

Dodgers: No.

Who is hot and who is not?
Brewers: Yelich, who surged to the finish of the regular season and was an on-base machine in the NLDS against the Rockies, is 1-for-8 with two walks in the NLCS after his game-ending groundout with the tying runner in scoring position in Game 2. He credited the Dodgers for "making pitches when they have to." Moustakas went 0-for-3 Saturday to snap a 10-game postseason hitting streak.

Video: NLCS Gm2: Yelich on dropping Game 2 to the Dodgers

Dodgers: Turner, Taylor and Pederson each had two hits in Game 2. Taylor is 5-for-9 in the series. Bellinger got his first hit of the postseason. Baez has four strikeouts in 2 1/3 innings. Alex Wood has allowed homers in his past two postseason appearances.

Video: NLCS Gm2: Bellinger, Turner spark Game 2 rally

Anything else fans might want to know?
The Brewers and Dodgers set a record for most combined pitching appearances through two games of an LCS with 27. With 14, Los Angeles has the record for one team.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Dodgers, Walker Buehler, Jhoulys Chacin

Crew tabs Miley for Game 5; Game 4 still TBD

Lefty slated to pitch on short rest for 2nd time in his career
MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

LOS ANGELES -- The Brewers still weren't ready on Monday afternoon to name their initial out-getter for Tuesday's Game 4 of the National League Championship Series, but manager Craig Counsell did have a starter in mind for Game 5: Lefty Wade Miley on short rest.

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LOS ANGELES -- The Brewers still weren't ready on Monday afternoon to name their initial out-getter for Tuesday's Game 4 of the National League Championship Series, but manager Craig Counsell did have a starter in mind for Game 5: Lefty Wade Miley on short rest.

:: NLCS schedule and results ::

View Full Game Coverage

The unique plan was true to form for the Brewers, who have shed the traditional notion of a postseason pitching rotation in favor of a more flexible deployment of pitchers based on matchups. That included using essentially an "opener" in Game 1, when Gio Gonzalez pitched only two innings before a bullpen call, followed by Miley for 5 2/3 scoreless innings on 74 pitches in Game 2 on Saturday before Counsell again went to the 'pen.

"We're going to play [Monday's] game with everybody available, with the exception of Wade Miley, and then after the game we'll make a decision about what Game 4 looks like," Counsell said before Game 3. "I think Game 5 for us is looking like we're going to use Wade Miley on short rest. For me, it was a [74]-pitch appearance. It's something we did with [Jhoulys] Chacin [when he started Game 2 of the NL Division Series on three days' rest]. He is capable of doing that."

Gear up for the NLCS

Miley was terrific in Game 2, holding the Dodgers to just one hit through five innings before Chris Taylor's two-out single in the sixth prompted a change, with Justin Turner on deck waiting to bat for the third time.

As he exited, Miley said, the thought of being ready for one of the games at Dodger Stadium crossed his mind.

"I told myself that. We didn't discuss it at all," he said. "But I told myself if I get a couple of days off, I would be ready to go again. This is what you live for. It's no fun to sit in the dugout and watch when you can get an opportunity to go out there and pitch."

It was Miley's third start against the Dodgers this season without allowing an earned run. In those games, he allowed one unearned run on six hits in 18 2/3 innings, including seven scoreless, two-hit innings at Dodger Stadium in a 1-0 Brewers win July 31.

It will be Miley's second career start on short rest. He pitched on three days' rest for the D-backs as a rookie on April 23, 2012, but the previous outing in that case was 1 2/3 innings of relief.

Old stomping grounds
Much has been made about Angelenos Ryan Braun, Mike Moustakas and Christian Yelich playing NLCS games in their hometown, but Brewers infielder Travis Shaw has Dodger Stadium ties of his own. He served as a batboy when his dad, former Major League reliever Jeff Shaw, pitched for the Dodgers from 1998-2001.

Video: NLCS Gm3: Shaw talks connection to the Dodgers

Jeff Shaw was an All-Star for the Dodgers in '01, but he never made the postseason. He told his son to enjoy it.

"When he tells that story, he played in the big leagues for 10 full years and he never made it in ..." Travis Shaw said. "I've been there two out of my three full years. And he basically said, 'Don't take it for granted because you never know, this could be the last run you ever get.'

"It's pretty special when you think about it, even playing here where we played, too, in the playoffs. It's kind of a cool experience."

Friends in low places
Counsell was kicking himself for forgetting to tell a good story when someone asked him Monday about his own Dodgers ties. The Marlins traded Counsell to Los Angeles midway through the 1999 season, but he was released the following spring and picked up by Arizona.

It wound up being a fortuitous move, since Counsell, thanks to his new and unconventional batting stance, played a significant role for the 2001 World Series champion D-backs.

Counsell credits country music star Garth Brooks.

Counsell remembers starting that spring 0-for-15 with the Dodgers, including a line drive caught by a diving Brooks, who was in camp with the Mets. The Dodgers released Counsell the next day.

"That's a true story," Counsell said on MLB Network's Intentional Talk at the 2017 Winter Meetings. "I thought I was getting it going, first hit of the spring. Crowd goes crazy, Garth Brooks made a diving catch. Released the next day."

It was with Arizona, on a back field, that Counsell found the strange batting stance, starting with his hands high over his head, for which he's remembered today.

But his Dodgers experience wasn't entirely forgettable.

"I spent four months here and played with some very talented players. I enjoyed playing here," Counsell said. "It was a fun place -- it's fun to put on the Dodger uniform. It was an honor, certainly, to put on the Dodger uniform. … I lived with Mark Grudzielanek, stayed with him in Manhattan Beach. It was a beautiful place to live. We left early and got home late, but in the meantime we had the beach in the morning, so it was worth it."

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers, Wade Miley

Which mashup team is better: ALCS or NLCS?

Given the quality of the teams involved in each League Championship Series, the Fall Classic already looks like it will be chock full of talent. The Astros, Red Sox, Dodgers and Brewers all have plenty of All-Stars to go around, but what would happen if the two teams in each league decided to put away their LCS squabbles and combine, Voltron-style, for two absolutely loaded rosters?

We smushed the two teams together, selected the best from each league at every position and came up with the results.

Brewers' bullpen faces biggest test to date

Hader available for Game 3 as Crew preps for three straight gamedays
MLB.com @JoeTrezz

LOS ANGELES -- Five games into the postseason, the Brewers' innovative bullpen strategy is set to face its biggest test yet.

The scheduled off-days that allowed manager Craig Counsell's relievers the luxury of built-in rest, as he tasked them with getting through the bulk of Milwaukee's innings this month, have become more scarce. If the Brewers are to advance to their first World Series in 36 years, they're going to have to at least survive three games in three consecutive days at Dodger Stadium this week. And that'll mean finding ways to lean on their bullpen without pushing it to the brink.

LOS ANGELES -- Five games into the postseason, the Brewers' innovative bullpen strategy is set to face its biggest test yet.

The scheduled off-days that allowed manager Craig Counsell's relievers the luxury of built-in rest, as he tasked them with getting through the bulk of Milwaukee's innings this month, have become more scarce. If the Brewers are to advance to their first World Series in 36 years, they're going to have to at least survive three games in three consecutive days at Dodger Stadium this week. And that'll mean finding ways to lean on their bullpen without pushing it to the brink.

"We know we have three games in a row. We know we've got to have pitching for three days," Counsell said. "We think we have a way to map out [each] game no matter what we have to do the night before."

:: NLCS schedule and results ::

That's all Counsell will divulge at this point, and that's by design. But it's the particulars of that plan that will remain a central focus of the rest of this series. No decision will be made in a vacuum. When you rely as heavily on your bullpen as Counsell does, every move must strike a balance: between the moment at hand and another soon to come. At this point, each choice comes with ripple effects that could potentially swing the season.

Take Game 2, for example. Cradling a 3-0 lead, Counsell would've likely turned to Josh Hader if he could've in the seventh, after the Dodgers opened the inning with three consecutive baserunners against Corbin Burnes. But with Hader unavailable after throwing a season-high 46 pitches in Game 1, Counsell was forced to pivot. He and Hader both eventually watched as Jeremy Jeffress let the Dodgers inch within a run, then gave up the lead an inning later in what turned into a 4-3 loss.

Had Counsell not asked Hader for three innings in Game 1, the situation may have played out differently. But had Hader not held the Dodgers scoreless over those three innings, the Brewers may not have held on to their 6-5 win, which they barely did anyway.

Hader will be ready for Game 3, but how far he's pushed figures to dictate his availability for Games 4 and 5. The Brewers rarely used Hader on back-to-back days this season, citing his decreased effectiveness without at least one day of rest. He was more often deployed in multi-inning bursts, then given at least a day to recover before his next outing. That model could change given the situation and stakes.

"At this point, you think about tomorrow's game as important," Counsell said. "But if you've got wins kind of under your belt, you're going to go for it."

Hader did not pitch in three consecutive games at any point this season. The rest of the group the Brewers call their "A" relievers all have: Joakim Soria did so thrice, and twice after being acquired from the White Sox in July; Corey Knebel did three times, twice in September; Jeffress pitched three straight twice. He has appeared in all five games this postseason and is well past his career high in innings pitched.

"It's a team effort," Hader said. "I can't do anything to control the whole game. It takes all these guys to win a ballgame."

Video: NLCS Gm2: Hader discusses 4-3 loss to Dodgers

But to get through three, Counsell acknowledged Game 3 starter Jhoulys Chacin "is capable of going deep into the game, and that's ideal."

Chacin led the Brewers with 192 2/3 innings this season, and he could potentially provide the type of length Wade Miley (5 2/3 innings) did in Game 2. He could also be used more creatively, as Gio Gonzalez (two innings) was in Game 1.

Video: NLCS Gm3: Counsell on Chacin starting Game 3 of NLCS

Gonzalez, Junior Guerra, Freddy Peralta and Brandon Woodruff could all pitch multiple innings if Chacin struggles or is lifted early for tactical reasons. All are also in the mix to contribute in Game 4, in what could be another bullpen game for Milwaukee.

Who, how, in what order -- that all remains to be seen. And subject to change.

"The way we're going to use our pitching is that we gotta count on all these guys," Counsell said. "I think you also have to watch the game and see what's going on. We'll be fresh tomorrow and ready to go, so that's good."

Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.

Milwaukee Brewers, Josh Hader

What if Braun had been dealt to the Dodgers?

MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

LOS ANGELES -- What if Ryan Braun had become a Dodger?

It almost happened in the summer of 2016, when the Brewers had discussions with the Dodgers about a deal that might have sent Braun to L.A. for Yasiel Puig, Brandon McCarthy and prospects. Just how close those talks came to fruition depends on who you ask. Ditto whether that was the only time a Braun-to-L.A. deal had legs.

LOS ANGELES -- What if Ryan Braun had become a Dodger?

It almost happened in the summer of 2016, when the Brewers had discussions with the Dodgers about a deal that might have sent Braun to L.A. for Yasiel Puig, Brandon McCarthy and prospects. Just how close those talks came to fruition depends on who you ask. Ditto whether that was the only time a Braun-to-L.A. deal had legs.

"You know, I've thought about it," said Braun's dad, Joe, a fixture around Miller Park during his oldest son's 12 seasons with the Brewers. "On the other side, it's fantastic that he gets to experience this here with the team that drafted him.

"There's talk, conversation. I know there were conversations. How close was it? I'm not really even sure. I do know it's a blessing to be here with the Brewers."

:: NLCS schedule and results ::

Ryan has said the same, describing himself as rejuvenated by the Brewers' push to the postseason. He is the only player remaining from Milwaukee's last postseason entry in 2011.

Had he become a Dodger, Braun would not have had to wait as long to play October baseball.

***

Braun-to-L.A. rumors have popped up many times in recent years, but the most serious were during the run-up to Aug. 31, 2016, the annual deadline for teams to acquire players and have them eligible for postseason play. The Dodgers, better against right-handed pitchers than lefties, were looking for a bat to help. Braun has long mashed southpaws.

According to a source at the time, the Brewers had claimed Puig off revocable trade waivers and were working on a deal, one iteration of which would have netted Puig and two prospects along with McCarthy, whose departing contract would have helped offset the Dodgers' luxury tax hit for adding Braun. It was serious enough that Braun remained at Miller Park with some teammates after one of the Brewers' games leading up to the deadline, believing the talks were hot.

At the time, Puig was at a nadir in his Dodgers career, having been demoted to Triple-A that summer. But he would have fit Milwaukee's rebuilding mindset, since he was 25 and signed for the next two-plus seasons for an affordable $14 million. The Brewers were in their first full season under general manager David Stearns, who was in the process of turning over half of Milwaukee's 40-man roster, and Braun was a valuable chip, in the midst of his best season since he was runner-up in 2012 National League MVP Award balloting.

How close did it come? Again, it depends on who you ask. The consensus of several sources is that it was the Dodgers who balked within the final half hour before the deadline.

Officials from both teams declined to reveal details.

The Dodgers did get catcher Carlos Ruiz from the Phillies that August, but they went into the postseason with an outfield that included Howie Kendrick and Puig hitting from the right side and Joc Pederson, Josh Reddick and Andrew Toles from the left. They fell to the eventual World Series champion Cubs in six games in the NL Championship Series, including losses in both of Cubs southpaw Jon Lester's starts.

"We've got a lot of deals that we talk about that don't happen. That would be a full-time job, thinking through 'what ifs,'" Dodgers GM Farhan Zaidi said. "We're constantly talking. Sometimes deals happen. Sometimes they don't. We just turn the page."

Video: Yelich on Braun helping the team into postseason

The Brewers, meanwhile, proceeded with Braun, whose contract is guaranteed through 2020. He was limited to 380 at-bats and 17 home runs in 2017 by a series of nagging injuries, which were surely part of the equation when Stearns decided to trade for Christian Yelich and sign Lorenzo Cain last offseason.

At the time, outsiders said the Brewers had "too many outfielders," even with a plan to use Braun at first base. But as the 2018 season wore on, Braun's first base mitt gathered dust. Domingo Santana, the primary right fielder entering the year, regressed and spent most of the season in the Minors. Braun posted a .782 OPS in the regular season, the second-lowest mark of his career, but he surged late in the season to an .859 OPS after July 31, including the postseason.

"I feel really good," Braun said last week. "I feel fortunate and thankful that I'm in this position, health-wise. I'd never take it for granted. But for anybody, when you have the adrenaline that's added this time of the year, it helps you feel better physically.

"I feel like I'm going on 25, not 35 right now."

Video: Must C Clutch: Braun hits 2 HRs, go-ahead jack in 8th

Has Braun ever wondered what life might be like had he been traded to L.A.?

"I said that at the time, that it would be more meaningful for me to win here [in Milwaukee] than to go anywhere else and win maybe multiple championships," Braun said. "I meant it. I've been here for so long, I've been through so much, and I have such a special connection to the city, to the fans and to the organization. I honestly didn't think we'd be back in this position as quickly as we are."

***

For Braun, being traded to the Dodgers would have meant playing at home. He grew up in Granada Hills, and while he lives in Malibu now with his wife, Larisa, and their two young children, Joe Braun stayed put.

The Braun men -- Joe, Ryan and Ryan's younger brother, Steve, who played three seasons in Milwaukee's Minor League system from 2008-10 -- were avid baseball card collectors and spent many a Saturday morning perusing the bid board at The Baseball Card Company in Granada Hills, which sponsored the boys' PONY league teams and had Dodgers season tickets.

With that connection, the Brauns attended a dozen or so games per summer at Dodger Stadium, sitting on the third-base side during the Eric Karros-Mike Piazza era of Dodger baseball in the early-to-mid 1990s.

"They still have all of their cards," Joe said. "Ryan has always been very organized. Everything is placed just right. He's got thousands of cards. I think some of them still have the gum."

Tweet from @MLB: Return of the Prince. pic.twitter.com/pu6JRZw5Tk

When the Brewers and Dodgers were talking trades, Ryan shared what he knew with his dad. When Joe isn't with the team, they talk at least every other day, often after games. Seeing his son traded to his hometown team would have been "cool," Joe said, but he has also grown fond of Milwaukee and expressed the same sentiment as his son, that seeing the Brewers reach the World Series would carry extra meaning.

"This is as rejuvenated and excited as I've seen him in a long time," Joe said. "I think September came around and the team started to get on that roll. They were within striking distance. Then they started to play fantastic, and their roll in September just kept carrying on, and here we are in October."

Joe is along for the ride. Maybe a Dodger Stadium memory or two will pop in his head as he takes in batting practice before Game 3.

"You look around, and any one of these kids has a chance to be down there, doing what Ryan is doing," Joe said. "It's been such a long time now. You start thinking about eventually, it will be over."

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers, Ryan Braun

3 ways Brewers can bounce back in NLCS

MLB.com

LOS ANGELES -- The Brewers were six outs away from riding their bullpen to a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven National League Championship Series, only to see Justin Turner hammer a Jeremy Jeffress splitter into the seats to even the series at a game apiece.

Now comes the hard part for a Brewers team built on relief pitching: Three games in as many days at Dodger Stadium, which could require a different strategy than the one manager Craig Counsell has employed to this point.

LOS ANGELES -- The Brewers were six outs away from riding their bullpen to a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven National League Championship Series, only to see Justin Turner hammer a Jeremy Jeffress splitter into the seats to even the series at a game apiece.

Now comes the hard part for a Brewers team built on relief pitching: Three games in as many days at Dodger Stadium, which could require a different strategy than the one manager Craig Counsell has employed to this point.

:: NLCS schedule and results ::

"I wouldn't say we gave it away. They earned it," Christian Yelich said. "We'll regroup when we head to L.A. It's going to be a challenge, but we'll look forward to it. …

"We'll be alright. L.A. is a tough place to play. They're a great team. But like I've said many times, we were expecting a fight."

How do the Brewers bounce back? Here are three things that would help:

1. A return to form for Jeffress and the bullpen
Josh Hader will be available again for Game 3, but how he's pushed will go a long way toward determining how much he's used in Games 4 and 5. The Brewers' preference not to use Hader on back-to-back days could change, given the circumstances. But even if it does, they'll still rely heavily on the rest of their group of "A" relievers to get them through three games in three days in Los Angeles.

That'll be a challenge regardless, especially if Jeffress continues to struggle on the tail end of a career-high workload. Eight of the 11 runs the Brewers have allowed this postseason have come with Jeffress on the mound.

"He hasn't had the results so far, but he's going to get the ball again," Counsell said. "We're going to need him to get outs. I'll tell you that for this to work, we need to count on our guys. And we're going to continue to."

Counsell hinted at the possibility of another bullpen game for Game 4, with some combination of Brandon Woodruff, Freddy Peralta, Gio Gonzalez and/or Junior Guerra likely bridging the gap to Corey Knebel, Joakim Soria and Jeffress in the later innings. It's those late innings where the Brewers' bullpen has uncharacteristically struggled thus far. Outside of Hader and Woodruff, Milwaukee relievers have allowed eight runs over 5 1/3 innings (13.50 ERA) across the first two games of the NLCS. The Dodgers have hit .464 from the seventh inning on, compared to .100 over the first six innings of the two games.

Video: NLCS Gm3: Counsell on his bullpen strategy for Game 3

2. Get Yelich going again
The Brewers had four days off between clinching the NL Division Series in Denver and Game 1 of the NLCS at Miller Park, which was great news for those hard-worked relievers but perhaps not so much for a red-hot hitter like Yelich. After posting an OPS north of 1.000 in each of the final three months of the regular season and hitting 11 home runs in August followed by 10 in September, he was content to take his walks when the Rockies pitched him carefully in the NLDS. Yelich went 2-for-8, including a two-run homer in Game 1, and finished with a 1.196 OPS in the series by virtue of six walks in 14 plate appearances.

With lefties on the mound for the Dodgers to start Games 1 and 2 of the NLCS, however, Yelich was not a factor. He went 1-for-8 with a single and two walks, capped by a game-ending groundout on Saturday with the tying runner in scoring position.

"I've had chances, I just haven't been able to come through," Yelich said. "That's baseball. We had a chance there in the ninth inning [of Game 2] and we came close in the eighth as well. That's all you can do -- give yourself an opportunity. They made the pitches when they had to."

Video: NLCS Gm2: Jansen retires Yelich for clutch save

Counsell predicted a big hit in the coming games. He has proven prescient before; when Jesus Aguilar similarly struggled in Games 1 and 2 of the NLDS, Counsell predicted a big homer with men on base. Aguilar hit one with the bases empty in Game 3. Close enough.

"I think they've pitched [Yelich] well. I'm not seeing anything different," Counsell said. "If anything, I've seen just more foul balls. So I think the couple of pitches he may have got to hit he's fouled them off.

"Look, in games like this against pitchers like this, you don't expect to get a ton of pitches to hit. So sometimes the foul ball is the pitch you had to hit, and then you get into battle mode a little bit."

Video: NLCS Gm2: Yelich on dropping Game 2 to the Dodgers

3. Forget recent history at Dodger Stadium
When the Brewers last visited Chavez Ravine, they won the first two games of a four-game series only to lose the final two in excruciating fashion. On Aug. 1, Yasmani Grandal hit a pair of homers, including a walk-off, two-run shot in the 10th inning. The next night, the Dodgers bashed seven home runs against Jhoulys Chacin and a Brewers relief corps that included utility man Hernan Perez and catcher Erik Kratz on the way to a 21-5 thumping that set a Brewers record for runs allowed in a game.

Afterward, Counsell said the plan was simple: "We lost, and we move on to tomorrow."

Video: MIL@LAD: Grandal smashes walk-off 2-run homer in 10th

It's that simple?

"Yeah, it is. It is that simple," Counsell said.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook. Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.

Milwaukee Brewers

Counsell to keep pitching options open for G4

'We'll put together some way to get 27 outs,' Brewers manager says
MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers left-hander Rich Hill will have to wait to hear which of the Brewers' "initial out-getters" he'll match up against in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series.

Continuing their practice of a flexible pitching plan, Brewers manager Craig Counsell was not ready to reveal Sunday who would start Tuesday night's Game 4 at Dodger Stadium.

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers left-hander Rich Hill will have to wait to hear which of the Brewers' "initial out-getters" he'll match up against in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series.

Continuing their practice of a flexible pitching plan, Brewers manager Craig Counsell was not ready to reveal Sunday who would start Tuesday night's Game 4 at Dodger Stadium.

:: NLCS schedule and results ::

It will depend on how the team navigates Game 3, with Jhoulys Chacin getting the start, which leaves open the possibility of employing another "opener" like in Game 1 of the NL Division Series against the Rockies, when Brandon Woodruff started and pitched three innings, and Game 1 of the NLCS, when Gio Gonzalez pitched two innings.

Brewers-Dodgers G3: Lineups, matchups, FAQs

Woodruff and Gonzalez are among the Game 4 options in the wake of modest pitch counts in Game 1. So are right-handers Freddy Peralta, who has yet to pitch in the postseason, and Junior Guerra, who was sharp in an inning at the end of Game 2.

"We'll put together some way to get 27 outs," Counsell said. "I don't mean to be coy about it, that's how we're looking at it. And there's several candidates for it. But we're going to use all our resources in Game 3 and then move on to Game 4."

Good for a laugh
Game 2 didn't end the way the Brewers wanted, but it included a light moment along the way.

When Counsell went to the mound to replace starter Wade Miley with right-hander Corbin Burnes, he also brought Hernan Perez into the game in a double switch. The departing position player was first baseman Jesus Aguilar, who followed Miley to the dugout to a huge ovation for the left-hander, who'd delivered two hits and pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings.

Aguilar, acting as if the ovation was for him, doffed his cap to the crowd.

"I was not looking at Corbin Burnes coming in the game. All six of us on the mound were saying, 'Look at Aggie, man,'" Counsell said with a laugh. "Isn't that just like Aggie? We were laughing. We were all watching him. Corbin, I had to turn around and hand him the ball because we were watching Aggie ham it up -- as he's really good at doing."

Video: NLCS Gm2: Aguilar takes Miley's ovation as both exit

Last call
• To preserve their sleep cycles, the Brewers waited until midday Sunday to fly to Los Angeles, then took part in an optional workout at Dodger Stadium. Most of the position players took a day of rest, though veteran outfielder Curtis Granderson was on hand to take batting practice.

• Brewers pitching coach Derek Johnson has a fan in Dodgers Game 3 starter Walker Buehler, who committed to Vanderbilt University when Johnson was the pitching coach. Johnson subsequently got a job as Minor League pitching coordinator with the Cubs, and Buehler went on to be the Dodgers' first-round Draft pick in 2015, a few months before the Brewers hired Johnson to be Counsell's pitching coach.

"He was a big, big reason why I chose to go to Vanderbilt," said Buehler, who was impressed with "the way he did things, and treating guys similarly, and being able to put his approach on everyone. I'm not surprised that they've had success over there under him, just because he's a special mind."

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers

Confident Jeffress discusses 'lucky' comment

Right-hander takes loss, allows deciding HR in Game 2 defeat
MLB.com @JoeTrezz

MILWAUKEE -- Whatever is different about Jeremy Jeffress this October, it's not the right-hander's confidence.

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MILWAUKEE -- Whatever is different about Jeremy Jeffress this October, it's not the right-hander's confidence.

:: NLCS schedule and results ::

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That much was clear by Saturday night, when Jeffress' struggles continued in the Brewers' 4-3 loss to the Dodgers in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series. The curveball to Austin Barnes in the seventh, Jeffress said, was what Barnes "needed to see." The splitter under Justin Turner's hands an inning later was "what we wanted to throw him."

And then there was that one other word Jeffress used, the one that got a lot of people talking.

"Lucky."

Though the Dodgers used the three runs that resulted from those two at-bats to knot the series at a game apiece, Jeffress characterized the results as largely out of his hands.

"He just got lucky," Jeffress said of Barnes, who spit on a 3-2 curveball to draw a bases-loaded walk that pulled Los Angeles within a run of Milwaukee.

Of Turner, who pulled Jeffress' splitter 388 feet for a two-run homer down the left-field line that turned into the game-winner: "He just got lucky," the All-Star reliever said.

"It's a lucky hit, man," Jeffress said. "It just is. It is."

A day later, Jeffress clarified his comments, tweeting, "To set things straight. One lost doesn't define my ability. And a home run is never lucky. I was referring to the cheap hits before. Everyone are professionals here. Except the ones who criticize. Thanks have a blessed day."

Tweet from @JMontana41: To set things straight. One lost doesn���t define my ability. And a homerun is never lucky. I was referring to the cheap hits before. Everyone are professionals here. Except the ones who criticize. Thanks have a blessed day

The Brewers will certainly look to parts of Jeffress' performance this postseason and see his point. He had little control over the blooper Joc Pederson dunked into right field to load the bases for Barnes with Milwaukee clinging to a 3-1 lead at the time. The infield single Chris Taylor dribbled up the third-base line ahead of Turner's homer in the eighth was equally mishit. The string of soft contact that led to Jeffress' blown save in Game 1 of the NL Division Series against the Rockies only added to his frustration.

Video: NLCS Gm2: Taylor reaches first on a single

"Luck and pitchers, it's part of your life," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said Sunday, in light of Jeffress' comments. "There's times when you have to realize it's working for you. You don't want to acknowledge it when the line drive gets hit at somebody. But there's times when the slow roller, as Chris Taylor's ball, it's frustrating, you make a good pitch, the guy hits it 40 feet, it's frustrating. And when the next guy hits a homer, it's really frustrating.

Video: Must C Clutch: Turner blasts a go-ahead 2-run homer

"He's frustrated by that, understandably so. Pederson hit a popup that falls between the fielders. So a couple of frustrating balls. The postseason is more emotional. There's no getting around that. And we're not always going to hide from that. And nobody is going to say it's not, because it is."

Video: NLCS Gm2: Pederson lofts bloop single to load bases

But in the aggregate, the results are concerning for a Brewers team whose all-in bullpen strategy is heavily dependent on Jeffress extinguishing rallies like in the regular season, when he did so more effectively than any reliever in baseball. He led all MLB relievers in ERA (1.29) and strand rate (92.9 percent). Jeffress entered the postseason rolling, unscored upon over his past 11 appearances dating back to late August.

Jeffress hadn't allowed multiple runs in a single outing since June 23, a span of 37 games. But he's now done so twice this postseason, a five-game span over which Milwaukee has allowed 11 runs. Eight have scored with Jeffress on the mound, including six of nine the Brewers have allowed over the first two games of the NLCS.

Video: NLCS Gm2: Jeffress gets strikeout, Puig breaks bat

Jeffress was called on earlier than expected Saturday, with Josh Hader unavailable and Corbin Burnes ineffective in the seventh after replacing starter Wade Miley in the sixth. Miley dominated L.A. over 5 2/3 innings, scattering just two singles before Counsell called for Burnes, hoping for four outs. But the rookie only recorded one, then walked Max Muncy and allowed a single to Manny Machado to open the seventh.

"That led to them having a pretty good rally," Counsell said. "We knew that was going to be a tough inning."

Jeffress surrendered Pederson's bloop before striking out Yasiel Puig with the bases loaded to bring up Barnes. After walking Barnes to bring in another run, he coaxed an inning-ending double play from Yasmani Grandal to end the threat. But the lead evaporated two batters into the eighth when, working a second inning for the second time this postseason, Jeffress surrendered Turner's go-ahead shot. He allowed just five home runs over 76 2/3 innings during the regular season.

Video: NLCS Gm2: Jeffress, Perez get DP, escape jam in 7th

"I feel good," Jeffress said. "It's the nature of the game. I can't strike everybody out. I can't make everybody hit a ground ball. I am human. I feel great, but you have to make pitches. Better results will happen.

"It's my game. When the ball is in my hand, it's my game. I can do some tweaks here and there, but if I start to try to change stuff, it'll snowball, keep going downhill. There is nothing I need to change, honestly."

Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.

Milwaukee Brewers, Jeremy Jeffress

Every club's best individual playoff performance

From MadBum to Mr. October, these runs went down in franchise lore
MLB.com @williamfleitch

One of the many joys of baseball's postseason is how one player can make such an outsized difference. There's no better time for a player to go on a hot streak than in the playoffs, when he's able to carry his team for a whole series -- maybe even to a championship. Baseball is a game of ebbs and flows, of zeniths and nadirs, and everyone wants to break out and have a heater in October.

With that in mind, we look at the greatest postseason runs by a player on each of baseball's 30 teams. These are the sort of streaks that make legends in their hometowns ... the sort of runs we'll talk about forever.

One of the many joys of baseball's postseason is how one player can make such an outsized difference. There's no better time for a player to go on a hot streak than in the playoffs, when he's able to carry his team for a whole series -- maybe even to a championship. Baseball is a game of ebbs and flows, of zeniths and nadirs, and everyone wants to break out and have a heater in October.

With that in mind, we look at the greatest postseason runs by a player on each of baseball's 30 teams. These are the sort of streaks that make legends in their hometowns ... the sort of runs we'll talk about forever.

Note: We're sticking to the divisional era here, which goes back to 1969, and is the dawn of the modern postseason.

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

Blue Jays: Paul Molitor, 1993
.447/.527/.851, World Series MVP
Everyone remembers the Joe Carter homer, but Molitor was a monster that whole postseason for the Blue Jays at the age of 37. He was terrific back in 1982 for the Brewers, too.

Orioles: Brooks Robinson, 1970
.485/.471/.788, World Series MVP
This was, of course, the same World Series in which he made the ridiculous play at third base … though with Robinson, it's always a question of which ridiculous play.

Video: #WeKnowPostseason: Robinson's Play

Rays: James Shields, 2008
2-2, 25 IP, 2.88 ERA
This is where the "Big Game James" nickname came from, even if it maybe lasted a year or two longer than it should have.

Red Sox: David Ortiz, 2004
.400/.515/.764, ALCS MVP
It's rather difficult, all told, to figure out which Ortiz postseason to pick: He had an OPS over 1.204 in October for all three of the Red Sox championship teams he played for.

Video: 2004 ALCS Gm7: Ortiz's homer gives Red Sox early lead

Yankees: Reggie Jackson, 1978
.417/.511/.806
The highest qualified OPS by Yankees are, in fact, 2018 Aaron Judge and 2006 Derek Jeter ... but how do you not pick Mr. October?

AL CENTRAL

Indians: Orel Hershiser, 1995
4-1, 35 1/3 IP, 1.53 ERA, ALCS MVP
The season with the other Indians' World Series loss -- no, the other one -- featured vintage Hershiser ... and he split a couple of duels with Greg Maddux in the World Series, too.

Royals: Danny Jackson, 1985
2-1, 26 IP, 1.04 ERA
Bret Saberhagen is remembered as the hero of this Royals team -- along with Don Denkinger, of course -- but Jackson was actually the best pitcher for the Royals that postseason.

Tigers: Alan Trammell, 1984
.419/.500/.806, World Series MVP
Trammell put the perfect capper on the Tigers' dream season. This was a quiet argument for Trammell's Hall of Fame candidacy.

Twins: Jack Morris, 1991
4-0, 36 1/3 IP, 2.23 ERA, World Series MVP
Speaking of the Hall of Fame ... this postseason is almost certainly why Morris currently has a plaque in Cooperstown.

Video: 1991 WS Gm7: Morris' 10-inning shutout

White Sox: Jermaine Dye, 2005
.311/.415/.444, World Series MVP
Several White Sox players had a higher OPS than Dye that postseason -- including Joe Crede, Scott Podsednik and Paul Konerko -- but you've got to go with the World Series MVP.

AL WEST

Angels: Francisco Rodriguez, 2002
5-1, 18 2/3 IP, 1.93 ERA
Back when there were more rigid bullpen roles, K-Rod was deployed liberally and devastatingly in 2002, back when he was 20 years old.

Astros: Carlos Beltran, 2004
.435/.536/1.022
Cardinals fans will be having nightmares about 2004 Carlos Beltran for decades to come ... and they won that series.

Video: 2004 NLCS Gm4: Beltran hits eighth homer of playoffs

Athletics: Dave Stewart, 1989
4-0, 32 IP, 2.25 ERA, World Series MVP
Stewart had a career 2.77 postseason ERA in 133 innings ... he would actually win the ALCS MVP the very next season, too.

Mariners: Ken Griffey Jr., 1995
.364/.442/.818
Jay Buhner was just as good as The Kid in 1995 ... but Griffey is Griffey.

Rangers: Juan Gonzalez, 1996
.438/.526/1.375
The Rangers actually lost this Division Series in four games, but good heavens, was Juan Gone ever a monster, hitting five homers in four games.

Video: 1996 ALDS Gm4: Juan Gonzalez's fifth home run of ALDS

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

Braves: John Smoltz, 1996
4-1, 38 IP, 0.95 ERA
You could also go with Greg Maddux's 1995 run -- since the Braves won the World Series that year, after all -- and you wouldn't be wrong.

Marlins: Josh Beckett, 2003
2-2, 42 2/3 IP, 2.11 ERA, World Series MVP
After the Yankees and Red Sox had their first of two epic postseason battles, Beckett was happy to pick up the pieces in the World Series.

Video: WS Gm6: Beckett shuts out Yanks as Marlins win series

Mets: Bobby Ojeda, 1986
2-0, 27 IP, 2.33 ERA
Of all the great Mets starters on that team, it was Ojeda who had the best postseason.

Nationals: Stephen Strasburg, 2017
1-1, 14 IP, 0.00 ERA
Since we're excluding the Expos -- if we weren't, Steve Rogers in 1981 would be the obvious answer here -- we must dig into the gruesome land of the Nationals' postseason failures. Strasburg has the ultimate Nationals playoff line: 0 earned runs, 1 loss.

Video: WSH@CHC Gm4: Strasburg K's 12 over seven scoreless

Phillies: Cliff Lee, 2009
4-0, 40 1/3 IP, 1.56 ERA
Cole Hamels had the World Series MVP in '08, but Lee was actually better, in five more innings.

NL CENTRAL

Brewers: Ryan Braun, 2011
.405/.468/.714
This postseason performance feels like a lifetime ago, but it's one the Brewers sure would appreciate a repeat of.

Cardinals: David Freese, 2011
.397/.465/.794, NLCS MVP, World Series MVP
Freese actually struggled in the NLDS this season ... though he ended up making up for it.

Video: Must C Comeback: Freese's triple ties it up in ninth

Cubs: Jon Lester, 2016
3-1, 35 2/3 IP, 2.02 ERA, NLCS co-MVP
Lester still feels like the postseason starter Cubs fans trust most, and probably always will.

Pirates: Willie Stargell, 1979
.415/.435/.927, NLCS MVP, World Series MVP
He also shared the regular-season MVP Award this year, pulling off the rare trifecta.

Reds: Johnny Bench, 1976
.444/.464/.926, World Series MVP
Bench was as dominant as the Reds were in this matter-of-fact World Series sweep.

NL WEST

D-backs: Curt Schilling, 2001
4-0, 48 1/3 IP, 1.12 ERA, World Series co-MVP
Randy Johnson's line this exact 2001 postseason: 5-1, 41 1/3 IP, 1.52 ERA. That is ... difficult to beat.

Video: WS2001 Gm4: Schilling comes up clutch on short rest

Dodgers: Hershiser, 1988
3-0, 1 SV, 42 2/3 IP, 1.05 ERA, NLCS MVP, World Series MVP
Hershiser is the only pitcher to be on this list twice ... and how could he not be?

Giants: Madison Bumgarner, 2014
4-1, 1 SV, 52 2/3 IP, 1.03 ERA, NLCS MVP, World Series MVP
This is an obvious pick, but at this point I'd like to remind you that Barry Bonds put up a .356/.581/.978 in 2002.

Video: WS2014 Gm7: Bumgarner sets postseason innings record

Padres: Sterling Hitchcock, 1998
3-0, 22 IP, 1.23 ERA, NLCS MVP
He gave up only one earned run in six innings in his lone World Series start ... not that it did the Padres much good.

Rockies: Kaz Matsui, 2007
.304/.347/.500
It was a strange postseason for the Rockies in 2007, but if you forget the World Series happened altogether, it was a glorious one.

Will Leitch is a columnist for MLB.com.

NLCS tied 1-1 after Crew's win streak ends

Leads slips away after two HRs, Cain's leaping catch, Miley's gem
MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

MILWAUKEE -- Miller Park was rocking when Wade Miley breezed into the sixth inning of Game 2 of the National League Championship Series on Saturday. Orlando Arcia had homered. Travis Shaw was about to go deep, too. The Brewers would have a three-run lead when the inning was over, and looked ready to cruise to a commanding 2-0 advantage in the best-of-seven series.

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MILWAUKEE -- Miller Park was rocking when Wade Miley breezed into the sixth inning of Game 2 of the National League Championship Series on Saturday. Orlando Arcia had homered. Travis Shaw was about to go deep, too. The Brewers would have a three-run lead when the inning was over, and looked ready to cruise to a commanding 2-0 advantage in the best-of-seven series.

:: NLCS schedule and results ::

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But just like Game 1 the night before, the Dodgers didn't make it make it easy. And unlike the night before, the Brewers' hard-worked bullpen couldn't claw its way to a 27th out before yielding the lead.

In a 4-3 loss to Los Angeles that snapped Milwaukee's 12-game winning streak, Corbin Burnes and Jeremy Jeffress combined to surrender four runs between the seventh and eighth innings of a defeat that evened the series as it heads to Dodger Stadium for Games 3-5. Jeffress avoided a bases-loaded disaster in the seventh inning only to see Justin Turner send one into the left-field bleachers in the eighth, dealing the Brewers their first loss in three weeks.

Fielder returns to Miller Park for G2 first pitch

"Intense baseball games, man. They're going to be like this for the rest of the postseason," said Jeffress. "They're going to battle, we're going to battle. Just be ready."

Jeffress remains confident, says LA got 'lucky'

Milwaukee had not lost a baseball game in 21 days, since a shutout in Pittsburgh on Sept. 22 that preceded the second-longest winning streak in franchise history. The run spanned three champagne celebrations -- a postseason clinch in St. Louis on Sept. 26, an NL Central clinch in Chicago on Oct. 1 in the tiebreaker game and an NL Division Series sweep of the Rockies in Denver.

On Saturday, there was only silence in the Brewers' clubhouse.

"Nobody in here really ever talked about the win streak. It means nothing," said Christian Yelich, who fell to 1-for-8 in the NLCS when he grounded out to end the game with the potential tying run in scoring position. "It's all about today, the present, the game you have in front of you. It's cool we won all those games in the past, but they honestly mean nothing to us [now]. We need to regroup."

Video: NLCS Gm2: Yelich on dropping Game 2 to the Dodgers

The Dodgers' late-inning comeback spoiled what had been a magical day for Miley, who looked every bit the postseason ace while breaking enough bats over 5 2/3 innings to start a campfire outside Miller Park. It was the veteran left-hander's second scoreless start of the postseason.

Miley chipped in as many hits -- two, including a single in the fifth inning that led to a run and a 2-0 lead -- as he allowed, and according to Baseball-Reference, he became the first pitcher to allow four baserunners or fewer in consecutive scoreless starts in the postseason since Roger Clemens for the Yankees in 2000.

Video: NLCS Gm2: Miley tosses 5 2/3 scoreless, rips 2 hits

Clemens delivered nine and eight innings in those outings, compared with Miley's 4 2/3 in Game 3 of the NLDS against the Rockies and 5 2/3 on Saturday. But that's no fault of Miley's, rather a reflection of a different team in a different time. Miley threw 64 pitches for his 14 outs at Coors Field and 74 pitches for 17 outs on Saturday before manager Craig Counsell opted to once again tap his bullpen to finish the game.

Video: NLCS Gm 2: Counsell on Miley's efforts in Game 2 loss

"You want to stay out there, but all year long, that's the route we've taken, and it's worked," said Miley. "If we [played that game] again, we would probably do it again. Those guys have been so good down there, and they're going to be fine the rest of the way. It's one of those things -- the Dodgers, they're a pretty good squad over there."

Video: NLCS Game 2: Miley on his outing in 4-3 Game 2 loss

The key to the puzzle was the rookie Burnes, who delivered a pair of scoreless multi-inning outings in the NLDS and was going to be counted on for the same on Saturday. But after finishing the sixth inning and getting an extra run of support on Shaw's home run, Burnes couldn't get an out in the seventh, forcing Counsell to dig deeper into his bullpen earlier than he would have liked.

Video: NLCS Gm2: Counsell on what went wrong for the bullpen

Cody Bellinger singled home a run off Burnes in the seventh and Jeffress walked in a run later in the inning before preserving the lead with a huge pitch to induce Yasmani Grandal's double play. That pushed a 3-2 Milwaukee lead to the eighth. Entering the game, the Brewers were 84-3 -- including 4-0 in the postseason -- when leading after seven innings.

"I still thought we were set up pretty good," Counsell said.

Video: NLCS Gm2: Jeffress, Perez get DP, escape jam in 7th

That didn't last. Chris Taylor legged out an infield hit to open the eighth inning, and Turner turned on a splitter that stayed up and in to give the Dodgers the lead.

Of the 11 runs Milwaukee's opponents have scored so far in the postseason, eight came with Jeffress on the mound, including six of L.A.'s nine runs in Games 1 and 2.

"I can't strike everybody out. I can't make everybody hit a ground ball. I am human," Jeffress said. "I feel great, but you have to make pitches. Better results will happen."

Video: NLCS Gm2: Counsell on bullpen, Miley in Game 2 loss

Did Counsell second-guess the timing of his move away from Miley?

"Look, you're either too early or too late," Counsell said. "At some point, you've got to make a decision, and I thought he was going through the heart of the lineup for the third time, and I thought we had a fresh Corbin Burnes, who's been wonderful for us this year. ... Wade pitched great, man. He did his job, certainly. He did more than we expected, for sure."

In the history of best-of-seven series with the 2-3-2 format, teams that split the first two games at home have gone on to take the series 44 of 80 times (55 percent).

Video: NLCS Gm2: Brewers discuss 4-3 loss to Dodgers

"I think we're fine," Miley said. "I think we know we need to go into L.A. and play good baseball. We played good baseball today, we just got beat."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Takeaway: On July 31 at Dodger Stadium, Lorenzo Cain leaped to rob Bellinger of a home run in Miley's 1-0 win. In the first inning on Saturday, Cain leaped to rob David Freese of a home run in another low-scoring game started by Miley. It wasn't exactly redemption, but it felt good, Cain said, after he expressed frustration about his inability to catch a Taylor triple to a similar spot in the ninth inning of Game 1.

"That's what I pride myself on doing, making plays out there," Cain said. "As a team, that's what we have to do. We have to swing the bats, we have to play solid defense and we have to pitch. Especially against the Dodgers, they are a really good team." More >

Video: Must C Catch: Cain leaps for incredible HR robbery

On the board: Typically known for his glove, Arcia continues to make a name for himself this postseason in another way -- with his bat. Saturday provided the latest example, when Arcia clocked a home run off Hyun-Jin Ryu for a 1-0 lead in what became a two-run fifth. Arcia pounced on a first-pitch cutter from Ryu, sending it 407 feet and just over the wall in center field to break a scoreless tie.

A .236 hitter who was demoted this spring after struggling offensively, Arcia hit just three home runs across 119 regular-season games after hitting 15 in 2017. He now has two this October, having homered in the Brewers' NLDS-clinching Game 3 win over the Rockies. Saturday marked his first homer all year against a starting pitcher.

Video: NLCS Gm2: Arcia opens scoring with solo HR

SOUND SMART
Ryan Braun's run-scoring groundout in the fifth inning gave him 14 career postseason RBI, passing Cecil Cooper for the Brewers' all-time lead.

Video: NLCS Gm2: Machado makes nice play on Braun's RBI out

SOUND REALLY SMART
These teams set a record for pitching changes for the first two games of an LCS. They combined for 27 pitching appearances in Games 1 and 2 -- 14 for the Dodgers and 13 for the Brewers -- to surpass the 24 appearances for the Indians and Red Sox in the first two games of the 2007 American League Championship Series.

HE SAID IT
"It feels weird. It's definitely something we don't like." -- Cain, on losing for the first time in three weeks

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Milwaukee Brewers

Cain atones for G1 drop with HR robbery

Brewers center fielder takes 2-run shot away from Freese
MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- Lorenzo Cain was displeased with himself on Friday night after coming up short on what would've been an exceptional play in right-center field. He didn't miss his next chance to rob Los Angeles of an extra-base hit.

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MILWAUKEE -- Lorenzo Cain was displeased with himself on Friday night after coming up short on what would've been an exceptional play in right-center field. He didn't miss his next chance to rob Los Angeles of an extra-base hit.

:: NLCS schedule and results ::

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That chance came in the first inning of the Brewers' 4-3 loss to the Dodgers on Saturday, when Cain took a two-run home run away from David Freese in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series. Cain ranged deep into the right-center-field gap and leapt against the wall to help Milwaukee starter Wade Miley through a scoreless first.

"That's what I pride myself on doing, making plays out there," Cain said. "As a team, that's what we have to do. We have to swing the bats, we have to play solid defense and we have to pitch. Especially against the Dodgers. They are a really good team."

Said his neighbor in right field, Christian Yelich: "That's a momentum-changer at that time. It goes from 2-0 in the first inning to 0-0 and we're coming up to hit."

The catch marked the second time Cain robbed a home run from L.A. with Miley on the mound this season. He also pulled the trick against Cody Bellinger in Miley's 1-0 win at Dodger Stadium on July 31. Cain ranked among the best defensive players in baseball by nearly every metric this season, placing first among NL outfielders in Ultimate Zone Rating, Defensive Runs Saved (20) and third in the Statcast™ metric Outs Above Average (18).

The secret to making plays like that?

"Catch the ball," Cain said. "I dropped my last one, and I was definitely upset about that. Make a play. That's what I pride myself on doing."

Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers, Lorenzo Cain

Fielder returns to Miller Park for G2 first pitch

Former Brewers slugger praises Counsell as teammate, manager
MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

MILWAUKEE -- It seems Craig Counsell's managerial philosophy was cemented long before he ever managed. Prince Fielder, a teammate of Counsell's the last time the Brewers made the National League Championship Series in 2011, returned to throw a ceremonial first pitch before Saturday afternoon's Game 2 against the Dodgers, and he was asked how Counsell influenced his career.

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MILWAUKEE -- It seems Craig Counsell's managerial philosophy was cemented long before he ever managed. Prince Fielder, a teammate of Counsell's the last time the Brewers made the National League Championship Series in 2011, returned to throw a ceremonial first pitch before Saturday afternoon's Game 2 against the Dodgers, and he was asked how Counsell influenced his career.

:: NLCS schedule and results ::

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Before he could get the words out, Fielder chuckled.

"There was one time that I was thinking about bunting," Fielder said. "He told me if I bunt, he'll punch me in the face."

But seriously…

"He helped me out a lot when I was playing with him, so I could imagine him being a coach," Fielder said. "His attitude was always good for these situations, especially tense situations. He was always calm. I think he's doing a great job."

Fielder, whose career ended prematurely in 2016 because of a serious neck injury, said he is physically well, as long as he sticks to "anything that doesn't involve running into anything. As long as my neck doesn't go hard back and forth, we're good. Safe stuff, I guess."

Like ceremonial first pitches.

Saturday was Fielder's second pitch Milller Park this season. He threw one alongside former Brewers general manager Doug Melvin and outfielder Geoff Jenkins in July, when Fielder, Melvin and the late Harry Dalton were added to the Brewers' Wall of Honor outside Miller Park, and Jenkins was inducted to the Brewers' Walk of Fame.

Prince returns to Miller Park, honored by Crew

But that time, Fielder stood off the mound. He was planning to go the full 60 feet, six inches on Saturday.

Video: Prince Fielder discusses returning to Milwaukee

That was Fielder's first visit back to Miller Park since the Brewers' 2011 playoff run ended with a loss to the Cardinals in Game 6 of the NLCS. The enduring image from that day was his 6-year-old son, Jadyn, crying in the clubhouse. Fielder sent him to Uncle Rickie (Weeks) for consolation while addressing reporters about the imminent end of a Brewers career that began when Milwaukee made him the seventh overall pick in the 2002 Draft.

Fielder signed a $214 million contract with the Tigers during the following offseason.

"It was a fun year, but obviously any time the year ends before you want it to, it hurts a little bit," Fielder said. "I just remember it as a good year. My family was here. Everybody was having a good time. We had T-Plush [energetic outfielder Nyjer Morgan]. It was sad when it ended."

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers