The lone survivor of the Brewers’ Opening Day rotation is coming up big for them in the postseason.
Jhoulys Chacin fired 5 1/3 scoreless innings Monday against the Dodgers as the Brew Crew took Game 3 of the NLCS at Dodger Stadium by a score of 4-0. The veteran right-hander yielded only three hits and two walks (one intentional) on the night, fanning six batters along the way.
Milwaukee’s bullpen came through again with 4 2/3 scoreless frames on the strength of dominant appearances by Corey Knebel and Josh Hader in particular. Jeremy Jeffress loaded the bases in the ninth inning but managed to escape and preserve the shutout. The Dodgers had just five hits and three walks on the night.
The Brewers’ offense managed only seven hits of their own, but they scratched together a run on a Ryan Braun double in the first and added another in the sixth after Travis Shaw scored on a wild pitch following a triple (with the help of a misplay in center field by Cody Bellinger). Orlando Arcia then provided a couple big insurance runs with an opposite-field, two-run blast in the seventh off of Walker Buehler, who was dominant for most of the night but wound up allowing four runs.
The Dodgers’ offense was listless for most of the night, but they had the tying run at the plate in the ninth only to strike out twice in a row. One of those strikeouts was by Yasmani Grandal, who had another brutal night defensively, as well. Manager Dave Roberts said shortly after the loss that Grandal will be benched in favor of Austin Barnes for Game 4.
Between Monday’s gem and his five sharp innings against the Rockies in the NLDS, Chacin has now thrown 11 1/3 scoreless frames so far this postseason. That doesn’t include his start against the Cubs in Game 163 – which was essentially a playoff game – when he allowed just one hit and one run over 5 2/3 innings. He and Wade Miley – 10 1/3 scoreless innings this postseason – have been huge assets.
Speaking of Miley, he will start Game 5 Wednesday on short rest after throwing 74 pitches across 5 2/3 scoreless frames in Game 2. Gio Gonzalez will take the ball in Game 4 and will also be on three days’ rest, although he threw only 32 pitches in Game 1 and the Brewers will no doubt rely heavily on their bullpen again Tuesday. The Dodgers will counter with Rich Hill in Game 4 and Clayton Kershaw in Game 5.
Sore Knee Could Mean Altuve at DH
Back in late July, Jose Altuve landed on the disabled list for the first time in his career due to a right knee injury. Nearly three months later, the knee is still an issue.
After the knee acted up on Altuve again in Game 2 of the ALDS, manager A.J. Hinch admitted afterward that the reigning AL MVP has “been battling this for most of the second half.” While the injury is not expected to keep Altuve out of the lineup, Hinch revealed Monday that he’s leaning toward putting Altuve in the designated hitter spot for Game 3 on Tuesday due to nagging soreness.
"I started talking to him about how he's feeling, and my thought that I might want to just take him off half the game on the defensive side," Hinch said. "His first reaction was, 'Whatever you think is best for our guys.'"
Is the knee affecting Altuve’s production at the plate? The numbers say “yes,” as the three-time batting champ hit an un-Altuve-like .276/.366/.409 with four homers over 33 games down the stretch of the regular season after returning from DL and is just 5-for-22 (.227) with one dinger in five postseason contests.
Hinch added that Tony Kemp is going to start Game 3 versus Nathan Eovaldi, it’s just a matter of whether it will be in left field (if Altuve is the DH) or in the DH spot (if Altuve plays second base). The versatile Marwin Gonzalez – assuming he’s not too sore after banging into the Green Monster in Game 2 – will either be in left field or at second base and Tyler White – who is hitless in the series in two starts out of the DH spot – will be on the bench. Houston will also have Brian McCann catch Dallas Keuchel again after he did so in the ALDS.
Quick Hits: Chris Sale (illness) has been released from Massachusetts General Hospital and will rejoin the Red Sox on Tuesday in Houston. He’s lined up to start Game 5 of the ALCS … Wade Miley will start for the Brewers in NLCS Game 5 on Wednesday on short rest … Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos said Monday that the club has interest in retaining impending free agents Nick Markakis and Kurt Suzuki … The Cubs have hired former Rangers hitting coach Anthony Iapoce for the same position … Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos confirmed Monday that Chuck Hernandez will not return as the team's pitching coach in 2019 …