The Milwaukee Brewers are back in control of the National League Championship Series thanks to a 4-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Monday's Game 3 at Dodger Stadium.Starting pitcher Jhoulys Chacin set the tone by allowing just three hits in 5.1 scoreless innings http://www.giantsfanproshop.com/authentic-evan-longoria-jersey , and the bullpen combination of Corey Knebel, Joakim Soria, Josh Hader and Jeremy Jeffress shut the door to give Milwaukee a 2-1 series lead over the defending National League champions.Orlando Arcia and Ryan Braun provided much of the offense with a two-run homer and RBI double, respectively, as the Brewers chased Walker Buehler much like they did Clayton Kershaw in Game 1. Dodgers Aces Folding at Worst Possible TimeKershaw is a generational pitcher with three Cy Youngs, an MVP and five ERA titles on his illustrious resume, but it is no longer a controversial take to say he is inconsistent and unreliable in the playoffs.He allowed five runs (four earned) in a Game 1 loss to the Brewers and gave up a homer to relief pitcher Brandon Woodruff. The poor showing brought his career postseason ERA to 4.26 in 26 appearances compared to an astounding 2.39 mark in the regular season.Los Angeles needs someone without that up-and-down October track record to anchor its staff in the face of World Series-or-bust expectations.That was supposed to be Buehler, who was brilliant in his first full season with a 2.62 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 151 strikeouts in 137.1 innings and looked up for the October pressure with 6.2 shutout innings in the National League West tiebreaker win over the Colorado Rockies.MLB MLBThe Brewers aren鈥檛 messing around in the 1st. 馃憖 #NLCS aUiYjpucrYMLB MLBORLANDO MAGIC. #NLCS jBRawTRq79Liz Habib LizHabibDodgers crowd grows restless .... boo-ing Walker Buehler after that HR in 7I.#NLCS 4kWeJQglbVHowever Barry Bonds Jersey , the notion of Buehler as the answer to the "who will be the playoff ace" question mark given Kershaw's struggles has come undone. Buehler allowed four earned runs and five hits in seven innings, with the Aricia homer in the seventh serving as the dagger after he flashed his normal effectiveness early in the game.It was more of the same after the right-hander gave up five runs in five innings in his division series start against the Atlanta Braves.The last thing the Dodgers needed was another concern atop their rotation, but it appears they have one after two straight lackluster showings from Buehler. The only way they are going to outlast Milwaukee's bullpen and match the likes of Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole or Chris Sale in a potential World Series is if one or both of their aces figure things out in their next start.If they don't, the Dodgers will fail to lift the Commissioner's Trophy for the 30th straight season.Orlando Arcia Emerging as Postseason Legend for BrewersThere are unlikely playoff heroes in every postseason, and Arcia is emerging as one of the most unlikely in 2018.The Brewers shortstop slashed just .236/.268/.307 with three home runs and 30 RBI in 119 games during the regular season and was sent down to the minor leagues multiple times. He was a weak spot in a lineup otherwise featuring Yelich, Lorenzo Cain and Jesus Aguilar and figured to be someone pitchers would attack in October.So much for that.Zachary quot;Doomquot; Rymer zachrymerOrlando Arcia has as many homers in 6 postseason games as he had in 119 regular season games.Sarah Langs SlangsOnSportsOrlando Arcia in 2018 regular season: 3 HR in 119 gamesOrlando Arcia in 2018 postseason: 3 HR in 6 gamesTom HaudricourtYes, thats the same Orlando Arcia who was sent down twice this year by #Brewers for not hitting. His third postseason HR gives #Brewers 4-0 lead in the seventh.He delivered with four hits and two runs in the National League Central tiebreaker win over the Chicago Cubs, homered in Game 3 of the division series against the Rockies and homered in Game 2 of this series. His long ball in the seventh inning Monday provided much-needed breathing room and alleviated the pressure for a dominant bullpen pitching on the road for the first time in the series.What makes Arcia even more of a legend is the fact that he delivered in close to a must-win game.Bob Nightengale BNightengaleTonight is a game the #Brewers must have if theyre going to knock off the #Dodgers for the #NLCS title. The Brewers have their ace Madison Bumgarner Jersey , Jhoulys Chacin, and a rested Josh Hader.Milwaukee lost a 3-0 lead in Game 2 in part because Hader wasn't available after throwing three shutout innings in Game 1. However, the bullpen ace was fresh after Sunday's off day, which is critical since the Brewers haven't received more than 5.2 innings from a starting pitcher in these playoffs.The combination of Hader's availability and Chacin鈥攖he closest thing Milwaukee has to an ace鈥攕tarting made this a monumental swing game for the Brewers with more of Kershaw and Buehler looming later in the series.It is rare Milwaukee's oft-used bullpen is fresh given its approach, and Game 3 was the team's most winnable contest in Los Angeles as a result.The Brewers needed this to ensure their worst-case scenario was going back home facing a 3-2 deficit, and Arcia continued building his blossoming postseason legacy in the face of that pressure.Dodgers Must Bench Grandal in Game 4Ken Gurnick of MLB.com pointed to catcher Yasmani Grandal's defense when describing why he would be the starter in the NLCS:"Unlike last October, when Austin Barnes displaced a slumping Yasmani Grandal behind the plate, Grandal won back the starting job as Barnes struggled offensively all year. Defensively, Grandal's strengths are strike framing and throwing out potential basestealers Juan Marichal Jersey , and he's cut down on passed balls from last year's league-leading 16 to nine this year."That defense was nowhere to be found Monday when he couldn't block a ball in the dirt and allowed Travis Shaw to score after his sixth-inning triple. He also had a passed ball in the eighth, much to the dismay of the crowd:Molly Knight mCINCINNATI (AP) — Hunter Dozier’s quiet night turned into a clutch http://www.giantsfanproshop.com/authentic-evan-longoria-jersey , game-winning effort for the Kansas City Royals.Dozier led off the ninth inning with a tie-breaking home run, then teamed with shortstop Adalberto Mondesi for a key out in the bottom of the inning as the Royals beat the slumping Cincinnati Reds 4-3 Tuesday night.“It felt like a quiet night until the ninth,” said Dozier, who snapped a 0-for-17 skid with his homer to left field. “A lot happened in a short amount of time.”Dozier’s 11th homer of the season, off Raisel Iglesias (2-5), left Kansas City needing two wins in its last five games to avoid tying the franchise record of 106 losses in a season, set in 2005. The Royals (55-102) have won three of their last four games, after a five-game losing streak.The Reds had runners on first and second with one out in the ninth against closer Wily Peralta, but Mondesi fielded Scott Schebler’s grounder and threw to Dozier at third, forcing Brandon Dixon. Jose Peraza followed with a hard grounder that Dozier was able to knock down with a diving backhand stop, leaving the bases loaded. Joey Votto grounded out harmlessly, and Peralta earned his 14th save.“They made some good plays,” Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said. “I was shocked that Dozier got to that ball. I thought it was down the line and would at least tie the game.”Kansas City manager Ned Yost felt Dozier’s play on Schebler’s grounder to Mondesi was more difficult than it looked.“He went for the ball at first,” Yost said. “He had to peel back to get to the bag. His athleticism allowed him to do that.”Kevin McCarthy (5-4) walked the first batter he faced to lead off the eighth and the Reds ended up loading the bases with no outs on Votto’s checked-swing dribbler up the third base line. But Eugenio Suarez grounded into a force out at the plate, Scooter Gennett struck out and Phillip Ervin hit a fielder’s-choice grounder to Dozier, ending the threat.Cincinnati went 3-for-10 with runners in scoring position and now are 8-for-75 (.107) in that situation over their last 13 games. The slumping Reds (66-92) have lost four straight, all against teams with worse records than their own. The Reds have also lost five of six, and their interleague losing streak reached seven games.Ryan O’Hearn hit his 12th homer of the season Mark Melancon Jersey , a two-run shot off Matt Harvey, in the fourth inning, to give the Royals a 3-0 lead. The Reds’ Dilson Herrera delivered a pinch-hit, two-run homer in the fifth before Gennett tripled and Ervin drove him in with the game-tying run in the seventhHarvey overcame a 51-minute rain delay with one out in the bottom of the third inning. He lasted five innings and gave up six hits and three runs with six strikeouts. The former Mets’ right-hander didn’t allow a walk. He has a 7-7 record and 4.46 ERA in 23 games with the Reds, and a 4.92 ERA overall in 2018.“It was frustrating,” Harvey said. “I was pretty sharp in the first three innings. After the delay, I wasn’t as sharp.The delay cost Eric Skoglund a shot at his second win of the season and first since April 28 against the White Sox. The Royals rookie, making his 12th start of 2018 and fourth since missing three months with a strained ulnar collateral ligament, didn’t return when play resumed.ROCKY TOPThe Reds announced that they were resuming an affiliation with Double-A Chattanooga. The Reds and Lookouts were affiliated from 1988 through 2008.IT’S LORENZENRHP Michael Lorenzen (3-2), trying to convince the Reds that he can make the conversion from reliever to starter, will get his third and final chance this season against the Pirates in Sunday’s series finale.NEW HIGHWhit Merrifield singled with one out in the fifth inning to extend his hitting streak to a season-high 15 games. The streak is the fourth of at least 12 games this season for Merrifield, the AL’s hits and stolen base leader going into Tuesday.UP NEXTRoyals: RHP Heath Fillmyer (3-2) will make his first career start against the Reds in his final 2018 start.Reds: LHP Cody Reed (1-2) makes his first career start against the Royals, who made him their second-round pick in the June 2013 draft. Traditional baseball card statistics don't do Lorenzo Cain any favors. He's hit .300 a few times, but he's peaked at 16 home runs and 72 runs batted in, and he's yet to steal 30 bases in a season.And yet, he's more than justifying an $80 million contract by playing like an MVP in his first season with the Milwaukee Brewers.It's par for the course for Cain in the traditional categories in 2018. He has only 10 homers and 35 RBI, and his 26 steals are two off his career high of 28. There's no frowning at his .311/.403/.432 triple-slash line, though. Nor at his 6.1 wins above replacement Deion Sanders Jersey , according to Baseball Reference. Those lead all National League position players:1.Lorenzo Cain: 6.12.Paul Goldschmidt: 5.6T3.Christian Yelich: 5.4T3.Javier Baez: 5.4T3:Freddie Freeman: 5.4Thanks in part to their 32-year-old center fielder's efforts, the Brewers hold the NL's top wild-card spot. They're also only one game off the Chicago Cubs' pace in the NL Central race.This doesn't mean Cain has the inside track at the NL MVP award. If there's a takeaway from an August 30 MLB Network discussion on the topic, it's that he's worthy of acknowledgment in the crowded race for the award but difficult to elevate in it:MLB Network MLBNetworkWhere do you think ChristianYelich should rank as an NL MVP candidate? How about his Brewers teammate Lorenzo Cain? #MLBNow 8Ifoa03f9iHowever, former Colorado Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd hit the proverbial nail on the head: That Cain is in the MVP discussion at all reflects how much baseball has changed in recent years.A few exceptions aside, the MVP has typically honored guys with the biggest sticks. But as WAR has become a bigger part of the conversation, appreciation has grown for players who can do it all.Hence Cain's impossible-to-ignore candidacy. He's one of the National League's most valuable baserunners and defenders. And despite his 10 dingers and 35 RBI, he qualifies as a well-above-average hitter by way of his 122 OPS+.Whether going over all of this is still necessary in the year 2018 is a good question. The battle for the future of baseball was won by the number-crunchers many years ago, and there are many W-based statistics with which their victory is honored. Every time somebody mentions WAR, wOBA, wRC+ or WPA, a sabermetrician gets his/her wings.Still, the special place that Cain has found himself in feels like a singular achievement.Consider Cain's contract. He's one of only 32 free-agent hitters who've signed a contract worth at least $80 million, and he got his despite being relatively old, inexperienced, unproductive and undecorated.Cain didn't become an everyday player with the Kansas City Royals鈥攚ho acquired him from the Brewers as part of the 2010 Zack Greinke trade鈥攗ntil his age-28 season in 2014. By the time he entered free agency, he was 31 and his record included just 756 career games, a 106 OPS+ and 57 homers.Among other $80 million free-agent hitters, those figures rank 29th Alen Hanson Jersey , tied for 29th and 32nd. To boot, Cain had made only one All-Star team, and his defensive reputation wasn't underscored by any Gold Glove awards. To these extents, he entered the open market as less of a Torii Hunter and more of a Gary Matthews Jr.But Cain had racked up more WAR from 2014 to 2017 than every outfielder except Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, Kevin Kiermaier and Giancarlo Stanton. Despite his age, that enabled strong projections for his contract. For example, MLB Trade Rumors and FanGraphs predicted something in the four-year, $70 million range.That the Brewers were willing to beat those projections with their five-year, $80 million offer speaks to how optimistic they were about Cain."As we examined Lorenzo's career arc this offseason, we thought that he was still improving as a player," GM David Stearns told Ben Lindbergh of The Ringer. "It's odd to say that about someone on this side of 30, but we thought that was the case."The readings on Cain's athleticism must have helped Milwaukee reach that conclusion. His average sprint speed was holding steady. While metrics like defensive runs saved and ultimate zone rating cast some doubt on his defense, Statcast was over the moon with it. He had recorded 18 outs above average in 2017, more than even Betts could muster.As for Cain's bat, what it lacked in power, it made up for in gradual advancement. He had established himself as an above-average contact hitter, and his walk rate was on the way up.Even if the latter trend abated Edgar Martinez Jersey , the former promised to bring a welcome dynamic to a Brewers offense that undercut 224 home runs (tied for tops in the NL) with MLB's highest strikeout rate in 2017. Sure enough, Cain has kept hitting for contact and helped the Brewers lower their K% from 25.6 to 23.7.But the real revelation has been his increased patience. He's working on a career-best 11.9 BB%, and it's rooted in a dramatic plate-discipline improvement. According to the most advanced strike zone available at Baseball Savant, his out-of-zone swing rate has cratered:Some of this is circumstantial. After bouncing all around Kansas City's lineups, Cain now mostly bats out of the leadoff spot in Milwaukee. There's a greater emphasis on putting up quality at-bats.But it's no small feat that he's played his part as well as he has. Likewise, it's been no small boon to the Brewers.Their on-base percentage in the leadoff spot has increased from .320 to .357. Meanwhile, Cain's elite .471 OBP with runners in scoring position has helped them raise their collective OBP in those spots from .326 to .336. Thus, they're keeping the line moving a lot better than they did a year ago.The Brewers have also benefited from Cain's baserunning and defense. His aggression has helped raise their rate of extra bases taken on hits from 35 percent to 40 percent. They've also gone from the middle of the pack in defensive efficiency to fourth-best.Maybe Cain won't be named the NL MVP in November, but his 2018 season is about as complete a success story as he or the Brewers could have hoped for. He's a late bloomer who's still blooming, and they're all the better for it.In a bygone era, it might have been hard to notice as much. But in this era, there's no excuse not to. Stats courtesy of Baseball Reference, FanGraphs, Baseball Savant and Baseball Prospectus.
lly_knightDodger crowd now chanting 鈥淲e want Austin!鈥?As in Barnes, Grandal鈥檚 backup. Holy smokes.Molly Knight molly_knightIf Austin Barnes doesn鈥檛 start tomorrow...I don鈥檛 know, man.Alanna Rizzo alannarizzoThe #Dodgers were 0-for-10 with RISP and left 8 on base.It would be one thing if he were struggling in the field but still hitting, but Grandal was the worst Dodger hitter with runners in scoring position in a game full of issues. He struck out in the second inning with runners on second and third and one out and then again in the ninth inning with the bases loaded and one out and Jeffress struggling.Grandal slammed his bat after the final strikeout, and it was clear the struggles are taking their toll now that he's an ugly 3-of-22 in the playoffs.A day off in Game 4 will allow him to rest and reset before the latter portion of this series. It is a strategy the Dodgers must take because the Grandal on display Monday and throughout the playoffs is helping the opposition more than the defending National League champions.What's Next?Milwaukee has an opportunity to build a commanding 3-1 lead during Tuesday's Game 4 in Dodger Stadium. Justin Edmonds/Getty ImagesColorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story put on a serious power display at Coors Field against the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday night.In the bottom of the first inning, Story gave the Rockies a 2-1 lead by taking Giants southpaw Andrew Suarez deep...while falling down.Colorado Rockies RockiesThats a loooooong story. Volume 3, Chapter 29 #StoryTime 馃摎 Ls32WlhHo9That was nothing compared to what he did a few innings later.Story got Suarez again in the bottom of the fourth, this time to the tune of 505 feet.Colorado Rockies RockiesWe KNOW you havent heard this Story before!!505 FEET!!!!!Volume 3 http://www.giantsfanproshop.com/authentic-evan-longoria-jersey , Chapter 30 #StoryTime 馃摎 h6tzC5B2QtAccording to The Athletic's Andrew Baggarly, that was the longest home run in the Statcast era:Andrew Baggarly extrabaggsTrevor Storys home run tonight is the longest in the Statcast Era 鈩笍. Giancarlo Stanton held the previous mark with a 504-footer in 2016. Those are the only home runs measured at 500+ feet.It doesn't matter where that ball was hit. Coors Field, the Grand Canyon; either way, it was long gone.Story wasn't done though. He got Suarezagainin the sixth to put his team ahead for good:MLB MLBA Story so good, we needed a trilogy. 馃槺 udkCdizdP9What a night.
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