The NLCS is knotted up 1-1 as the Brewers and Dodgers split the first two games at Miller Park. The venue switches to Dodger Stadium on Monday night (7:30 p.m., FS1) for the first of three consecutive games. Los Angeles is a considerable favorite at -180, while Milwaukee is a +160 underdog. The betting total is 7.0 runs.
Brewers manager Craig Counsell has opted for Jhoulys Chacin (15-8, 3.50 ERA in the regular season) as the Game 3 starter, while Dave Roberts and the Dodgers counter with phenomenal rookie Walker Buehler (8-5, 2.62 ERA). Chacin allowed three walks but just three hits in five scoreless innings in a win over the Rockies in the NLDS when last seen. Buehler was the victim of some good situational hitting in an NLDS loss to the Braves. His WHIP was 1.000 yet he gave up five runs in five innings of work.
But both managers will likely turn to their bullpen early once more. The Brewers and Dodgers set the record for the most combined pitching appearances through two games of an LCS (27), with L.A. setting the single-team record (14) in the process. The off-day will only help the relief pitchers on both sides, particularly the Brewers’ Josh Hader, who was tasked with three innings of work in Game 1 and threw 46 pitches.
Chacin had a start to forget when he last faced Los Angeles, as he was knocked around for nine runs (eight earned) on five hits and four walks in 4.1 innings in Dodger Stadium. Justin Turner, the hero of Game 2 with his late go-ahead home run, has a .316 average against Chacin in 19 career ABs. Manny Machado is just 1-for-7 against Chacin all-time but has been very dangerous in the postseason, hitting three home runs and accounting for nine RBI. It’s a good bet that the Dodgers’ offense will do their share early before Counsell gets his relievers in.
Buehler tossed a gem in his lone start against Milwaukee on July 31, posting seven innings of one-run ball on five hits. He took the loss at home that day but it certainly wasn’t his fault. Buehler has a solid bridge behind him if he can go six innings in this one with Pedro Baez and Kenta Maeda most likely to be called upon before All-Star closer Kenley Jansen takes over. Caleb Ferguson, the lefty specialist, has been spotless in three postseason appearances to date. If Travis Shaw, the Brewers hottest hitter in these playoffs so far (.353/.450/1.038 in 17 ABs), gets an RBI chance late, you can count on Roberts calling in Ferguson.
Look for the Dodgers to go wire-to-wire in this one and take a 2-1 lead in the series.
Prediction: Dodgers win, 5-3
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The play: Dodgers -125, first five innings (three-way line)