The Milwaukee Dodgers are officially in control of the NLCS after winning Monday’s Game 3 4-0 to take a 2-1 series lead. They will now try to make sure they remain in control when they face the Dodgers again in Tuesday’s Game 4. Milwaukee is -125 favorites to beat the Dodgers on Tuesday.
A Dodgers win in Game 2 broke up what had been a 12-game winning streak for the Brewers dating back to the end of the regular season. However, the Brewers quickly got back on the winning side of things in Game 3. After getting 5.1 shutout innings from Jhoulys Chacin, the bullpen completed the shutout for the final 3.2 innings. Perhaps most importantly, the Brewers didn’t wear out their bullpen with two more games to play before the next off day.
The Dodgers, on the other hand, have to be feeling some pressure after losing Game 3 at home. They scored nine runs over the first two games of the series, even doing some damage against the Milwaukee bullpen. However, being shutout and held to just five hits in Game 3 is no doubt a confidence killer, something they’ll have to overcome quickly. If the Dodgers can’t win the next two games to get a series lead heading back to Milwaukee, it’ll be difficult to win the series.
King of the Hill
The Dodgers will send Rich Hill to the mound in Game 4 to help them get back in the series. Hill can be a dominant pitcher at times, but Dave Roberts has tended to have a short leash on him during the postseason. During the NLDS against the Braves, Hill was pulled after 4.1 innings, allowing two runs on four hits but also dishing out five walks. If those control issues continue, it could be another short outing.
Hill has also had some problems with a few of Milwaukee’s best hitters. Lorenzo Cain, Christian Yelich, and Ryan Braun have all hit him well, albeit in limited at-bats. Curtis Granderson is also 3 for 6 with two home runs in his career against Hill, although he’s unlikely to get a start. However, it’s not impossible for the Brewers to use a pinch-hitter before Hill is out of the game.
Back to Gio
The Brewers, meanwhile, will send Gio Gonzalez to the mound in Game 4. Technically, Gonzalez is pitching on short rest after starting Game 1 on Friday. However, he only threw 32 pitches over two innings in that game, so he should be good to go. The Brewers probably won’t ask Gonzalez to go deep in the game. However, much like Game 1, they’ll surely take two or three good innings before turning things over to a bullpen that should have everybody available.
Gonzalez actually has good numbers against most Dodgers hitters outside of Matt Kemp and Manny Machado. Outside of giving up a homer to Machado, Gonzalez pitched well in Game 1. Even right-handed hitters like Justin Turner, Chris Taylor, and Yasiel Puig have poor career numbers against Gonzalez. If he can keep Machado and Kemp from doing damage, he should be in good shape.
At this point, it’s getting harder and harder to doubt Milwaukee’s momentum, with wins in 13 of their last 14 games. Given the freshness of Milwaukee’s bullpen and Hill’s control issues last time out, the Brewers should like their chances in Game 4. Bet on Milwaukee -125 to beat the Dodgers on Tuesday.