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Cain, Yelich look to get timing right in NLCS

Top hitters in Brewers' lineup held in check by Dodgers
October 17, 2018

LOS ANGELES -- Lorenzo Cain's heart sank with the baseball. It died like a dream into the glove of a diving Cody Bellinger. The line drive Cain punched the other way off Kenley Jansen lands for a hit 97 percent of the time, per Statcast™, but not on Tuesday night

LOS ANGELES -- Lorenzo Cain's heart sank with the baseball. It died like a dream into the glove of a diving Cody Bellinger. The line drive Cain punched the other way off Kenley Jansen lands for a hit 97 percent of the time, per Statcast™, but not on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium, not in the 10th inning of the Brewers' 2-1, 13-inning loss to the Dodgers in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series.
"I thought for sure that was falling," Cain said.
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Heading back to the dugout, Cain rolled his eyes. In the clubhouse afterward, he shook his head, two weeks of frustration frothing to the surface. Cain was far from the only culprit Tuesday, when nine Dodgers pitchers limited Milwaukee to eight hits (seven singles). But the struggles of Cain and Christian Yelich went a long way toward why the Brewers' lineup stalled for 13 innings, and continue to emerge now that this best-of-seven series is tied at two games apiece.
"For our offense in general, there is a bunch of guys we need offense from," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "We've got some good contributions from guys at the bottom. But I think a bunch of guys are not really on it right now offensively."
That starts at the top of the lineup with Cain and Yelich, who powered the Brewers to the postseason behind MVP-caliber first seasons in Milwaukee. Both have shown flashes of that production this October, Yelich homering in the NL Division Series opener and Cain spraying three hits in Game 1 of the NLCS.
Still, the line drive Bellinger robbed Cain of led to Cain finishing hitless in six at-bats. He is now 5-for-32 (.156) in the playoffs, when he's reached base at a .229 clip. Cain's .395 regular-season OBP ranked fourth among NL hitters.
"Oh, man. I've been struggling big-time, I can tell you that. I've been pretty bad the last few games," Cain said. "I'm usually on base. I've been scuffling. It's definitely frustrating, because I know I'm better than that. To not go out there and get it done, I take it to heart. I have to find a way to get in that cage, work on something and get going tomorrow. We'll see what happens."

Yelich is 3-for-16 in the NLCS, with zero extra-base hits but four walks for a respectable .350 OBP.
"These guys are very offensive players," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "Very good players. All the credit goes to the advance scouts, the catchers, the pitchers, executing. Those guys are very good hitters, and they came in very hot. To keep those guys off base or keep them somewhat at bay and keep them struggling, keeps us in ballgames.
The Dodgers were able to do that by holding Cain in check in Game 4, when he twice strode to the place with runners in scoring position. Cain's first chance came against Rich Hill in the fifth, when he grounded to short with Domingo Santana at second. He also bounced out to second to end the seventh against Ryan Madson, stranding Manny Pina at second. The Brewers finished 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position, and left 10 men on base.
"We had opportunities and we didn't take advantage of them," Yelich said. "Eventually they're going to catch up to you."

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