For only the third time in franchise history, the Milwaukee Brewers are going to the League Championship Series.
The Brewers completed the three-game National League Division Series sweep of the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on Sunday afternoon. The final score was 6-0 (box score). Colorado was outscored 13-2 in the three games.
The Rockies scored in one inning in the series
In the ninth inning of Game 1, specifically. The Rockies pushed across two runs in that inning to tie the game against Brewers closer Jeremy Jeffress. The Brewers went on to win that game in 10 innings anyway.
The Rockies batted in 28 innings in the NLDS and were held scoreless in 27 of them. (Including the Wild Card Game, the Rockies scored in three of 41 innings this postseason.) Credit the Brewers, of course. Their pitching was marvelous. But gosh, score in only one inning in an entire three-game series? That is brutal. Several key Rockies players had a poor series:
- Nolan Arenado: 2 for 11 with five strikeouts
- Charlie Blackmon: 1 for 12 with one strikeout
- Trevor Story: 2 for 12 with six strikeouts
Arenado, Blackmon, and Story combined to hit 104 home runs and score 311 runs during the regular season. They then had five hits total in the three-game NLDS. Tough to win when your top hitters do that.
Aguilar interrupted an interview
A pre-taped interview, but still an interview. MLB Network was showing a pre-taped interview with Rockies manager Bud Black when Jesus Aguilar rudely launched a German Marquez pitch into the left field sets for a solo home run and a 2-0 lead.
The Brewers took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a Travis Shaw fielder's choice. A walk and a single put runners on the corners with one out, and Shaw's grounder was too far in the second base hole for the Rockies to turn the inning-ending double play. Aguilar then socked the homer for a 2-0 lead.
Kratz had another big game
In Game 2 on Friday, 38-year-old Erik Kratz became the oldest position player to start in his postseason debut since third baseman Lave Cross of the 1905 Philadelphia A's. Kratz went 2 for 4 with a two-run single in Game 2. It was quite the postseason debut.
Kratz had another big game in Game 3 on Sunday, going 3 for 4 with a double that contributed to the club's two-run sixth inning. He also scored on a wild pitch.
The Brewers acquired Kratz from the Yankees in May after Stephen Vogt went down with season-ending shoulder surgery. The veteran journeyman hit .236/.280/.355 in a career-high 219 plate appearances with Milwaukee during the regular season, and now he's become an unexpected contributor in the postseason.
Rocky Mountain meltdown
Good gravy, what a meltdown in the sixth inning. The Brewers had runners on second and third with two outs when Scott Oberg dropped the ball on the mound. Dropping the ball while engaged with the rubber is an automatic balk, even if it was accidental. That allowed the runner at third to score and the runner on second to advance to third.
Then, right after balk, catcher Tony Wolters allowed a pitch to get through his legs and go to the backstop. That allowed the runner on third to score, giving the Brewers a 4-0 lead. Blocking pitches in the dirt is never easy, but letting one go through the wickets like that is always a bad look.
The Rockies and Oberg had a chance to escape that inning and strand the two runners to keep the deficit at 2-0, but two unforced errors (balk, pitch through the legs) gave the Brewers a pair of insurance runs.
Milwaukee's bullpen was nails again
We all knew the Brewers bullpen would be a factor in the series and wow was it ever. The Brewers are so confident in their relief crew that they went with a bullpen game in Game 1. Here are the combined numbers for the Brew Crew bullpen in the NLDS:
Keep in mind those numbers include Jeffress' blown save in Game 1. Aside from that one inning, it was shutdown inning after shutdown inning for the Brewers bullpen. And their starters too, really, but the bullpen was especially good.
Yelich was on base all series
NL MVP front runner Christian Yelich went hitless in Game 3 but still had a whale of an NLDS. He went 2 for 8 with a home run, two stolen bases, and six walks. He reached base eight times in the three-game series and you know what else? Yelich struck out zero times. Not once. The Brewers scored 17 runs in the three-game series and Yelich either scored or drove in five of them.
Mike Moustakas also had a great series (4 for 11 with 2 RBI). There is no such thing as the NLDS MVP, but, if it existed, I think I'd go Yelich over Moustakas. Couldn't go wrong with pretty much anyone on the pitching staff either.
The Rockies lost without Freeland throwing a pitch
This one stings. The Rockies were swept in the NLDS without staff ace Kyle Freeland throwing a single pitch. He started the NL Wild Card Game against the Cubs on Tuesday, so he was unavailable in NLDS Games 1 and 2, but he could've started Game 3 on normal rest. Colorado opted to go with Marquez instead.
The Denver born-and-raised Freeland threw 202 1/3 innings with a 2.85 ERA this season. That's the second lowest ERA by a qualified pitcher in franchise history (Marvin Freeman had a 2.80 ERA in 1994). The Wild Card Game threw a wrench into things, undoubtedly, but the Rockies had a chance to use Freeland on normal rest in Game 3 and passed. Losing a postseason series with your ace throwing zero pitches is rough.
The Brewers are going to their third LCS
For the first time since 2011 and only the third time in franchise history, the Brewers have advanced to the League Championship Series. Here are their previous two LCS trips:
- 2011 NLCS: Lost to Cardinals in six games.
- 1982 ALCS: Beat Angels in five games (lost World Series to Cardinals in seven games).
The Brewers were, of course, an American League franchise from 1970-97. They moved into the National League when MLB realigned during the 1998 expansion season. Milwaukee will host the winner of the Dodgers vs. Braves series in the NLCS. That series won't begin until Friday, Oct. 12.
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