Updated: Jan 10, 2019
Game one is in the books, and Milwaukee didn't want anyone going home without a few heart problems.
Things kicked off with a bang early, when Dodgers shortstop Manny Machado laced a line drive over the left field wall to lead off the top of the second inning. The ball was about as close as you can get to not leaving the yard, just barely clearing the eight foot fence.
That home run, along with a couple more hard hit balls from LA, essentially ended the night for Brewers starter Gio Gonzalez. The lefty was pulled after just two innings, giving up just the one run, on one hit and one walk. His replacement, Brandon Woodruff, became a playoff hero pretty quickly. Yes, his pitching stats were fantastic (no hits, no runs, four Ks over two innings), but the biggest moment for him came in his only at bat of the game.
Woodruff stepped up to the plate, down 1-0, after coming in in the top of the same inning. He would step into the box for his first career postseason at bat to lead off the inning. What happened next was a surprise to everyone in attendance at Miller Park. Clayton Kershaw sent Woodruff a 2-2 fastball, that Woodruff demolished for his second career home run.
The blast seemed to spark the Brewers offence., as they followed that with three straight base runners, loading the bases for Hernan Perez, who proceeded to hit a sac fly to center to give Milwaukee the lead.
Woodruff brought that adrenaline into the top of the fourth, getting the Brewers back in the dugout quickly by striking out the side. In the bottom of the inning, the Brewers offence exploded for three runs, giving them a 5-1 lead.
The Dodgers defence really but the team, along with Kershaw, in a real tough spot early and often. In the third inning alone, Grandal made a fielding error, had a passed ball, and had a catchers interference, all of which contributed to the Brewers second run. Then, in the fourth, a Chris Taylor error allowed the runners on first and second to move to second and third. Both runners were scored on a single by Domingo Santana. Santana then stole second when Manny Machado failed to hold the tag on. That was followed by a Ryan Braun single that scored Santana.
The Brewers big guns in the bullpen continued to shine through Josh Hader. Hader went three scoreless innings, giving up only two hits, while striking out four. Hader has yet to give up a run in 5.1 innings of work, striking out eight and only giving up the two hits in this game. Couple that with the success of Jeremy Jeffress, Brandon Woodruff, and Corey Knebel, and things look really good for the Milwaukee bullpen.
One inning after Jesus Aguilar extended the lead to 6-1 with a home run in the seventh, the Dodgers started to mount an unlikely comeback. Four singles and a walk lead to the Dodgers cutting the lead to 6-4 with one inning to play.
Things got real interesting in the top of the ninth when Chris Taylor roped an RBI triple to the right center field wall that was nearly caught by center fielder Lorenzo Cain. With the lead down to one, and a runner on third, Corey Knebel struck out Justin Turner to end the threat and the game.
Clayton Kershaw was pulled early in this game and did not look like his dominant self. Of course, the defence didn't do him any favours, but the Dodgers will need him to lock it down if they are going to win a World Series crown.
This Brewers bullpen is really making me regret picking the Dodgers in this series. Who needs a rotation when your bullpen is this hot?
The Brewers scored six runs despite an 0-4 night from potential MVP Christian Yelich. I'm excited to see what they can do when he's on.
Game two of the series goes tonight in Milwaukee at 4:09. The Dodgers will throw Hyun-Jin Ryu, while the Brewers will counter with Wade Miley.