The Milwaukee Brewers and Colorado Rockies each required a circuitous route to reach the National League Division Series. Now that they're here, we should have an entertaining best-of-five set between two of the league's most high-powered offenses.
Milwaukee beat the Chicago Cubs on Monday in the NL Central tiebreaker, while the Rockies knocked off the Cubs in the wild-card game on Tuesday after losing the division tiebreaker game against the Los Angeles Dodgers the day before.
MVP front-runner Christian Yelich leads the Brewers in their first postseason appearance since 2011, winning the batting title (.326) in his first year with the club to go with 36 homers and 110 RBI.
Here's what each team needs to do to win this series:
Brewers can't let Rockies steal home field
It's a bit taboo to discuss the Coors Field effect these days, but the Rockies' splits are insane. Their .852 OPS at home was the best in the majors, while a .665 mark on the road ranked 27th. It's imperative that the Brewers take advantage of their opponents' struggles away from home and win the first two games in Milwaukee.
Rockies must get on the board early
Milwaukee's vaunted bullpen is what makes it such a scary opponent, with weapons like Josh Hader and Jeremy Jeffress turning in dominant campaigns. With the Rockies' bullpen a bit of a liability, they can't afford to get into games close and late – that's a battle they aren't going to win.
Brewers need to run
The Rockies ranked near the bottom of baseball, allowing opponents to steal on 78.6% of attempts. Lorenzo Cain, who just had arguably the best season of his career, is always a threat to go and should be forcing the issue when he gets on base out of the leadoff spot.
Rockies pitchers have to play to their strength
Colorado pitchers had the third-highest ground ball rate in the majors, with starters Jon Gray, German Marquez and Kyle Freeland all ranking in the top 20. Keeping the Brewers in the park is going to be a challenge, but the Rockies need to stick to what they've done well all season instead of trying to reinvent the wheel.
- Game 1: Thursday at Milwaukee, FS1, 5:07
- Game 2: Friday at Milwaukee, FS1, 4:15
- Game 3: Sunday, at Colorado, FS1, 4:37
- Game 4 (if necessary): Monday, at Colorado, FS1
- Game 5 (if necessary): Wednesday, at Milwaukee, FS1
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