After two one-run thrillers in Milwaukee, a tied National League Championship Series heads west for the sunshine of Southern California. Will the two teams sustain the drama they delivered in the first two games?
The most important thing of the day: Whether or not Brewers manager Craig Counsell has an opportunity to use his best bullpen weapon, lefty Josh Hader, to good effect Monday, and how long he can afford to leave him in with Games 4 and 5 on tap without any intervening days off.
National League Championship Series Game 3: Milwaukee Brewers at Los Angeles Dodgers
The stakes: Since the LCS went to seven games, home teams have closed out the series by Game 5 in 17 of 27 opportunities. Can the Dodgers add to that number and keep the series from going back to Milwaukee?
If the Brewers win: Regaining the series lead will be a positive by itself, but given the Brewers' heavy reliance on their bullpen to cover their pitching workload, going forward a lot would depend on where their bullpen stands after the win.
If the Dodgers win: A lead in the series and two more games in Los Angeles adds up to an opportunity for the Dodgers to upset expectations that this series might go the distance, and instead put the Brewers away in L.A.
One key stat to know: Since Hader's shutdown stint in Game 1, the Brewers' bullpen has allowed six runs and allowed 16 baserunners in 5⅓ innings. If the rest of Milwaukee's relief crew beyond Hader keeps losing these matchup games, there will certainly be plenty of late-game drama in the series, but not the kind Brewers fans will enjoy.
The matchup that matters most: Chacin versus the Dodgers' left-handed bats, especially Cody Bellinger. Chacin's most effective pitch this season has been his slider, which the righty throws 44 percent of the time. But Bellinger ranked in MLB's top 10 in OPS against sliders from right-handed pitchers (.963), and both he and Joc Pederson have two home runs against Chacin.
The prediction: Those left-handed bats in the Dodgers' lineup might be drooling to get a crack at Chacin. He's been very good and his slider is one of the best in the game, but he has a large platoon split as lefties had a .781 OPS against him to .528 for righties. That's good news for Pederson, Max Muncy and Bellinger. The vaunted Brewers bullpen allowed eight runs the first two games, although the good news is that Hader will be available after missing Game 2. Still, with three games in three days, it's unlikely Counsell burns him for three innings like he did in Game 1. Meanwhile, other than that one bad inning against the Braves, Buehler has been one of the best starters in the majors since the All-Star Game. Chacin has a great slider, but Buehler has a great fastball, a great slider, a great curveball, plus a pretty good sinker and cutter. Dodgers 6, Brewers 2. -- David Schoenfield, ESPN.com