Following a pair of playoff tiebreakers and the Rockies wild card win over the Cubs, Colorado travels to Milwaukee to open the National League Division Series (NLDS) on Thursday. The Brewers won the season series 5-2, and if the May 11th game is any indication, this should be an exciting and entertaining playoff series. The Brewers trailed 9-3 in that contest at Coors Field, and rallied to win 11-10 in 10 innings after a 2-out, 2-run game-tying home run in the top of the 9th inning.
Both Miller Park in Milwaukee and Coors Field in Denver are top hitters parks, and with some of the firepower on these two teams combined with less than elite pitching, we should see more runs than expected in playoff baseball. The Brewers (218) and Rockies (210) finished 2nd and 3rd in the National League in home runs, trailing only the LA Dodgers. The Rockies (.432) and Brewers (.424) were also No.2 and No. 3 in the league in slugging percentage and top-4 in OPS.
Brewers pitching was No. 4 in the NL with a 3.37 ERA, and held opposing hitters to a .233 average (BAA) to rank No. 3 in the National League. The Rockies were No. 12 with a 4.33 ERA and No. 10 in BAA at .250. The Brewers bullpen was No. 2 in the NL at 3.47 ERA while the Rockies relievers combined for a 4.62 ERA. Coors field is an extreme hitter’s park in the thin air, and the Rockies showed four solid relievers can do the job in their wild card win over the Cubs. Both team’s bullpens have been solid more recently.
Milwaukee (95-67) won the NL Central in a tiebreaker over Chicago after beating the Cubs 3-1 in the 1-game playoff for the division title. Colorado (91-71) lost the NL West tiebreaker 5-1 at Los Angeles in a 1-game playoff, and then went to Chicago and beat the Cubs 2-1 in 13 innings Tuesday to win the wild card game.
2018 NLDS Series Schedule – Milwaukee Brewers vs. Colorado Rockies (5 Games)
Game 1: Thursday, Oct. 4 – Colorado at Milwaukee 3:07pm ET
Game 2: Friday, Oct. 5 – Colorado at Milwaukee 2:15pm ET
Game 3: Sunday, Oct. 7 – Milwaukee at Colorado 2:37pm ET
Game 4: Monday, Oct. 8 – Milwaukee at Colorado TBD
Game 5: Wednesday, Oct. 19 – Colorado at Milwaukee TBD
NLDS (MIL-COL) – Top Hitters
Noland Aranado – MVP candidate hitting .297 with 38 HRs and 110 RBI
Trevor Story – MVP candidate with 37 HRs and 108 RBI hitting .291. Story can also run with 27 stolen bases. Destroyed Brewers with 9 hits in 27 at bats including 7 HRs & 18 RBI.
Charlie Blackmon – .291 average with 29 HR and 119 runs
David Dahl – .273 average with 16 HR and 48 RBI in just 249 at bats
Christian Yellich – MVP candidate with .326 batting average, 36 HR, 110 RBI, 118 runs, .598 SLG, 22 stolen bases
Travis Shaw – 32 HR and 86 RBI, and Shaw had 10 hits in 28 at bats vs Rockies including 4 HR and 9 RBI.
Jesus Aguilar – .274 batting average, 35 HR, 108 RBI
Others: Lorenzo Cain – .308 batting average, 30 stolen bases
Ryan Braun, 20 HR in 205 at bats, .469 SLG, best in Aug and Sept.
NLDS (MIL-COL) – Pitching Strategy
Brewers manager Craig Counsel is going to start a to-be-announced relief pitcher in Game 1 of the NLDS, and has indicated there will be no hard and fast rule on how he’ll use his pitchers in the playoff series. He’ll use match-ups and pitchers to his advantage. Brandon Woodruff is the expected starter, a reliever with 4 starts this season and a 3.61 ERA. In Game 2, the Brewers will feature Jhoulys Chacin going on 3-days rest after starting the division tiebreaker Monday against the Cubs.
Rockies manager Bud Black hopes his team can get one win at Milwaukee, as his two best starters Kyle Freeland and German Marquez won’t pitch until Friday and hopefully Sunday back in Colorado. Thursday’s Game 1 starter Antonio Senzatela looks pretty ripe to get rocked, and Game 2 starter Tyler Anderson allowed a team high 30 home runs.
NLDS (MIL-COL) – Odds & Picks
The Brewers have won 8 straight games entering the division series. No series price posted yet, but Milwaukee will be a pretty solid favorite. But we won’t lay big prices in the individual games, so Milwaukee on the run line in Game 1 and 2 at a plus price would be the sides to support if you prefer the Brewers.
On September 17, the Brewers were +1400 to win the World Series and +700 to win the NL Pennant. The Rockies were even longer odds at +1600 to win the World Series and +800 for the NL Pennant.
On October 3, the Brewers are down to +600 to win the World Series and just +200 to win the NL Pennant. The Rockies are +750 for the World Series and +280 to win the NL Pennant.
The Milwaukee Brewers are strong favorites at -175 to win this NLDS series against Colorado who is boasting +150 odds to upset. Like the oddsmakers, I prefer the Brewers but I think the Rockies are more than skilled enough to steal a game.
NLDS Preview & Pick – Brewers in 4 games
Both NLDS series go off tonight! Milwaukee and Colorado is Thursday, October 4th at 5:07pm ET while the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers begin play at 8:37pm ET!