Brew­ers’ bullpen show­ing cracks

The News-Times (Sunday) - - Sports -

MIL­WAU­KEE — Told he had the day off af­ter pitch­ing three shutout in­nings in the NL Cham­pi­onship Se­ries opener, hard-throw­ing Mil­wau­kee left-han­der Josh Hader wasn’t ex­pect­ing a call to the bullpen.

Af­ter watch­ing Brew­ers re­liev­ers blow a late three­run lead in Game 2, Hader would have em­braced backto-back out­ings, high pitch count and all.

“Adren­a­line can do a lot things,” he said when asked if he could have pitched.

The best-of-seven se­ries is tied at a game apiece af­ter the Dodgers dented the rest of the Brew­ers’ hard-throw­ing re­liev­ers in the late in­nings for a sec­ond straight day and won 4-3 on Satur­day.

While Wade Mi­ley pitched 52⁄ shutout in­nings 3 and be­came Mil­wau­kee’s first pitcher to get an out in the sixth in­ning in the post­sea­son, the Dodgers ral­lied from a three-run, sev­en­thin­ning deficit for the win.

Mi­ley had thrown 74 pitches when he was re­moved.

“Look you’re ei­ther too early or too late,” man­ager Craig Coun­sell said. “At some point, you’ve got to make a de­ci­sion, and I thought he was go­ing through the heart of the lineup for the third time.”

Mil­wau­kee had the fifthbest bullpen ERA dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son at 3.47, in­clud­ing a best-in-the-ma­jors 1.98 in Septem­ber.

But the bullpen has been show­ing cracks. Mil­wau­kee pitch­ers made 72 ap­pear­ances dur­ing the Brew­ers’ 12game win­ning streak, in­clud­ing 24 in the first four games of the play­offs. It’s a heavy work­load.

Other than Hader, the Brew­ers’ bullpen has al­lowed eight runs in 71⁄ in3 nings against Los An­ge­les, a 9.82 ERA.

Mil­wau­kee nearly wasted a five-run lead in Game 1 be­fore hold­ing on for a 6-5 win Fri­day night when Corey Knebel struck out Justin Turner to strand the po­ten­tial ty­ing run on third. Four re­liev­ers gave up four runs and five hits in the last two in­nings

With the Brew­ers ahead 3-0 in the sev­enth in Game 2, Corbin Burnes walked Max Muncy lead­ing off the sev­enth, gave up a sin­gle to Manny Machado and an RBI sin­gle to Cody Bellinger. Jeremy Jef­fress came in and forced in a run with a one­out, bases-loaded walk to Austin Barnes be­fore get­ting Yas­mani Gran­dal to ground into a dou­ble play.

But Chris Tay­lor sin­gled lead­ing off the eighth and Turner fol­lowed with a goa­head, two-run homer.

Jef­fress sat by him­self qui­etly in the dugout af­ter leav­ing the game, blow­ing bub­ble gum.

“It’s just, you know, the na­ture of the game. I can’t strike ev­ery­body out. I can’t make ev­ery­body hit a ground ball. I am hu­man,” Jef­fress said when asked how he felt men­tally and phys­i­cally.

Robert Gau­thier / TNS

Brew­ers man­ager Craig Coun­sell takes the ball from re­liever Corey Knebel in the ninth in­ning dur­ing Satur­day’s 4-3 loss to the Dodgers in Game 2 of the NLCS in Mil­wau­kee.

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