MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers navigated a three-game sweep of the Rockies in the best-of-five National League Division Series with 11 pitchers, three of whom never made it to the mound. The best-of-seven NL Championship Series requires a different approach.That meant one roster change before Game 1 on Friday. Milwaukee added
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers navigated a three-game sweep of the Rockies in the best-of-five National League Division Series with 11 pitchers, three of whom never made it to the mound. The best-of-seven NL Championship Series requires a different approach.
That meant one roster change before Game 1 on Friday. Milwaukee added left-hander Xavier Cedeno and removed outfielder Keon Broxton.
"We recognize that a seven-game series is a little different, when you're playing three games in a row," general manager David Stearns said. "I do think it's possible to go with 11 pitchers. Teams have done it in the past. But the norm is to go up one."
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And that's what they did.
Here's the group the Brewers are carrying into the series:
Milwaukee will continue to blur the lines between starters and relievers, but a best-of-seven series does require a more traditional pitching plan. If Game 1 starter Giovany Gonzalez is indeed used as an "opener," as some have guessed he may be, then it will be more important for Game 2 starter Wade Miley and probable Game 3 starter Jhoulys Chacin to deliver innings. They combined for 9 2/3 scoreless innings in the NLDS, though Miley, in particular, could have gone longer if required.
The Brewers will again get innings from other pitchers on the roster who served as starters during the regular season and remain relatively stretched out. Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes combined for five scoreless innings to begin NLDS Game 1, and Burnes worked two more scoreless frames in Game 3. They are young, but they have earned manager Craig Counsell's trust. Junior Guerra didn't pitch in the NLDS but looked good in September and threw to hitters earlier this week to stay sharp.
"There's a lot of starters in that group, and they have the ability to [start or come out of the bullpen] -- I think they've done both, I guess, is what I'd say," Counsell said going into the postseason. "They've pitched [well], and they have length kind of attached to them, which we think is valuable."
Burnes is now clearly in the high-leverage relief category with Josh Hader, Jeremy Jeffress, Corey Knebel and Joakim Soria. The latter quartet appeared in all four games of the NLDS and will be relied upon again, though Counsell will continue to get Hader the rest he needs to remain effective. Adding Cedeno will help.
Still out of the pitching mix were Milwaukee's top two starting pitchers entering the season: Chase Anderson, who started Opening Day in San Diego, and Zach Davies, who was held back to start the home opener. They had each hoped to play a part once the Brewers got to a best-of-seven stage but were left off the roster.
"We're going to share the innings," Counsell said. "I think you saw in the Division Series kind of how the final tally of innings were divided. I think it'll look very similar at the end of this series, and you'll have to add Junior and Freddy Peralta into that mix of guys and Xavier and the guys that are adding outs. But I think you won't see a player that's kind of way ahead in terms of how many outs he got for us in the series. We think [the best way] we cover the 27 outs a day is to share them … and we have to trust all of them to pitch in big situations. And we do."
Erik Kratz, acquired from the Yankees' Triple-A team in late May, actually made the majority of starts in September because he was paired with Chacin and Miley, and was arguably the MVP of the NLDS, with five hits including a critical, two-run single in Game 2 and a prominent role in a sixth-inning rally against Rockies reliever Scott Oberg in Game 3 that helped break the game open. Manny Pina worked with Gonzalez in the regular season.
No changes from the NLDS. The Dodgers' lefty-heavy starting rotation will mean some daily decisions for the mix of left-handed hitters Mike Moustakas and Travis Shaw and right-handed hitters Orlando Arcia, Hernan Perez and Jonathan Schoop on the infield.
"We'll have some different lineups this series," Counsell said. "I don't think we'll see one lineup. You'll see a bunch of different lineups. Look, it's our right-handed hitters with three pretty solid left-handed starters. The series, for our right-handed hitters if you're playing the platoon matchups, it's a good chance for them to do some damage."
Left fielder Ryan Braun, center fielder Lorenzo Cain and right fielder Christian Yelich are the primary players here, with Aug. 31 acquisition Curtis Granderson giving Counsell a left-handed option to mix in. Broxton homered in Game 3 of the NLDS and provided a pinch-run option and late-game defense, but the Brewers opted to stick with Domingo Santana, who was productive as a pinch-hitter in September.
"The sacrifice is we're losing a baserunner, a defender, and we're losing a hitter," said Counsell. "We're going to use a lot of pitching this series, and we're going to make a lot of pitching changes most likely. You know, it probably will cost us [subbing in a hitter for] a pitcher at-bat somewhere along the line more than it would have having that extra guy. So that's one of the sacrifices we're making, too."
Here is the complete roster:
Postseason roster rules
Teams submit a 25-man roster prior to each round of the postseason comprised of postseason-eligible players. A club may request permission from the Commissioner's Office to replace a player injured during the course of a series, but the injured player is then ineligible for the rest of that round and the subsequent round, if there is one. A pitcher may only be replaced by another pitcher, and a position player by a position player.
Teams carry extra players throughout the postseason in the event of injuries, and those players, as well as players on the disabled list, can be in the dugout during games, within reason.
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.