A look at the best-of-seven National League Championship Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Milwaukee Brewers:
Schedule: (All times EDT) Game 1, Friday, at Milwaukee, 8:09 p.m.; Game 2, Saturday, at Milwaukee, 4:09 p.m.; Game 3, Monday, Oct. 15, at Los Angeles, 7:39 p.m.; Game 4, Tuesday, Oct. 16 at Los Angeles, 9:09 p.m.; x-Game 5, Wednesday, Oct. 17, at Los Angeles, 5:05 p.m.; x-Game 6, Friday, Oct. 19, at Milwaukee, 8:39 p.m.; x-Game 7, Saturday, Oct. 20, at Milwaukee, 9:09 p.m.. (Game 2 Fox, all others FS1).
Season Series: Dodgers won 4-3.
First postseason meeting between these teams. Dodgers seeking 20th trip to World Series, which would tie rival Giants for most in National League. Los Angeles making third straight trip to NLCS, after losing to Cubs in 2016 and beating them last year to reach World Series for first time in 29 years. … Brewers making second NLCS appearance, after losing to St. Louis in 2011. Franchise’s only pennant came as American League club in 1982, followed by Game 7 loss to Cardinals in World Series. … Both teams won tiebreaker in 163rd game of regular season to take home division crown. … Dodgers outscored Brewers 48-25 during season series, including 21-5 rout Aug. 2 as Kershaw beat Chacin in Los Angeles. Brewers set team record for runs allowed, and Los Angeles broke Dodger Stadium scoring mark while hitting seven homers. Pederson and Puig each went deep twice, and Bellinger slugged grand slam off Chacin, who gave up eight runs on five hits and four walks in 4 1/3 innings. With game out of hand, Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell put Perez and Kratz on mound. … Brewers pursued Machado only to see Baltimore trade him to Dodgers in July. … Ryu had 1.15 ERA at Dodger Stadium during regular season and pitched seven scoreless innings at home against Braves in Game 1 of NLDS. So he figures to start Game 3 in Los Angeles. … Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has the luxury of rare depth in putting together his lineups. He can mix and match depending on opposing starter and seemingly has endless reserves to call upon off bench. … Yelich will return home when series shifts to West Coast. He went to high school in LA suburb of Westlake Village. Yelich hit .333 with no homers and an RBI in four games at Dodger Stadium this year, scoring five runs. … Braun, born in LA suburb of Mission Hills, is .279 career hitter with 11 homers and 36 RBIs in 64 games against Dodgers. … Moustakas, a career .234 hitter in postseason, batted .364 against Rockies in Division Series — including game-winning hit in opener. … Left-handed batters were 8 for 89 (.090) with one homer against Hader this season. … Chacin is 11-9 with 4.41 ERA in 26 career games against Dodgers. … Milwaukee went NL-best 51-30 at home this season.
Dodgers: NL West champion Los Angeles (92-71) looking to return to World Series after losing Game 7 at home against Houston last year. Dodgers haven’t won it all since 1988. … Went from second-most wins in team history (104) last season to 92 this year, and from dominating NL West to needing Game 163 tiebreaker victory over Colorado at home to clinch their record sixth consecutive division title. … Dodgers outscored NL East champion Atlanta 9-0 in two Division Series home games and took best-of-five set 3-1. Have won 17 of 22 overall. … Machado, a pending free agent, had two homers and six RBIs in series but went 3 for 17 (.176) with seven strikeouts. Muncy also homered twice, and Turner was 5 for 14 (.357) with four walks. Bellinger went 0 for 11 with four Ks and four walks, and Grandal was 1 for 13 with a home run. … Buehler emerged as Dodgers’ second-best pitcher behind Kershaw after starting season at Triple-A Oklahoma City. Limited hitters to .193 batting average while striking out 151 against 37 walks in 24 regular-season games, including 23 starts. Buehler had second-lowest WHIP (0.92) and opponents’ on-base percentage (.249) among rookie pitchers with 20 or more regular-season starts since 1913. But the right-hander struggled in Game 3 of NLDS at Atlanta. … Dodgers dig the long ball. They hit eight homers in NLDS after setting franchise record with NL-leading 235 during regular season. … Deep and talented Dodgers platoon at several positions and often shuffle their lineup based on matchups. Proven right-handed hitters such as Chris Taylor (.254, 17, 63, team-high 178 Ks in 155 games) and David Freese (.282, 9, 42 with Pirates; .385, 2, 9 with Dodgers) are often on bench against right-handed pitchers.
Brewers: Have won 11 straight games, including 3-0 sweep of wild-card Rockies in NLDS. Won final eight regular-season games including tiebreaker for NL Central title, beating Cubs 3-1 at Wrigley Field. … Milwaukee (96-67) had best record in National League and is making first playoff appearance since 2011, last time team won division. … Yelich’s monster second half carried Brewers to division championship and home-field advantage throughout NL playoffs. He batted .367 with 25 homers and 67s RBIs in 65 games after All-Star break, making him NL MVP favorite. Nearly became first Triple Crown winner in National League since 1937. … Brewers are back in playoffs just three seasons after beginning roster rebuild that started under former GM Doug Melvin. David Stearns took over in October 2015 after enjoying similar success as assistant GM with Houston. Stearns brought Cain back to Milwaukee as a free agent after he left Royals around same time team traded for Yelich from Marlins. … Aguilar went from bench bat to slugging staple at first base, taking advantage of opportunity after Eric Thames missed time earlier in year with injuries. … Braun enjoyed late-season resurgence, hitting .344 with five homers and 12 RBIs from Sept. 21 on. The he went 5 for 13 (.385) in NLDS. Kratz was 5 for 8 and Shaw went 4 for 11 (.364) with three walks. … Moustakas was acquired from Kansas City in late July to join Cain in giving Brewers two key players from 2015 Royals team that won World Series.
— Kenley the Closer. Jansen seems to have settled down after a roller-coaster season. He saved Game 2 of NLDS against Atlanta and closed out series in Game 4. But he allowed 18 homers this season, more than twice as many as his previous career high. He gave up back-to-back home runs in division tiebreaker against Rockies, although he was pitching with a comfortable lead. Jansen had heart issues during the season and said he’s going to need surgery. But the Dodgers need him to be his old dominant self in playoffs.
— Show Stopper. Yelich is making his first playoff appearance after spending first five seasons with Marlins. He hit .458 with five homers and 17 RBIs during Milwaukee’s eight-game winning streak to end regular season, then batted .250 with a homer and two RBIs in Division Series against Colorado.
— Super Max. Muncy got called up in mid-April, homered in his second game and has been the Dodgers’ big basher ever since. It’s quite a turnaround for a player who was released by Oakland and spent 2017 in the minors.
— Bottoms Up. Cain and Yelich set the tone at the top of the Brewers’ order, but the bottom of the lineup has also been producing. Kratz, who shares catching duties with Pina, was a Division Series star. Perez and Arcia also contributed at shortstop. Arcia hit .329 in September and October.
— What a Relief. Brewers boast quality options in deep bullpen. Hader can go multiple innings in a shutdown role late in games, and built-in off days should help keep the lights-out lefty fresh. Jeffress has taken over the closer role but struggled in NLDS, posting a 5.40 ERA and 2.10 WHIP while pitching in all three games. Knebel re-established himself in September after struggling earlier this season. Milwaukee used a bullpen day with smashing success to win Division Series opener, but Counsell said the makeup of the pitching staff might change for longer NLCS. With games over three straight days scheduled in Los Angeles, including a Game 5 if needed, going with a bullpen day could tax the relief corps.
Dodgers: LF Joc Pederson (.248, 25 HRs, 56 RBIs) or Matt Kemp (.290, 21, 85, 115 Ks in 146 games), 3B Justin Turner (.312, 14, 52), 1B Max Muncy (.263, 35, 79, .958 OPS), SS Manny Machado (.315, 24, 65, .963 OPS with Orioles; .273, 13, 42, .825 OPS with Dodgers), C Yasmani Grandal (.241, 24, 68), CF-1B Cody Bellinger (.260, 25, 76, 151 Ks in 162 games), RF Yasiel Puig (.267, 23, 63), 2B Enrique Hernandez (.256, 21, 52) or Brian Dozier (.227, 16, 52 with Twins; .182, 5, 20 with Dodgers).
Brewers: CF Lorenzo Cain (.308, 10, 38, 30/37 steals, .395 OBP), RF Christian Yelich (NL-best .326, 36, 110, 22/26 steals, 1.000 OPS), LF Ryan Braun (.254, 20, 64), 1B Jesus Aguilar (.274, 35, 108, .890 OPS), 3B Mike Moustakas (.251, 28, 95 with Royals and Brewers), SS Hernan Perez (.253, 9, 29, 11/14 steals in 316 ABs) or Orlando Arcia (.236, 3, 30 in 348 ABs), 2B Travis Shaw (.241, 32, 86) or Jonathan Schoop (.233, 21, 61 with Orioles and Brewers; .202, 4, 21 in 46 games with Brewers), C Erik Kratz (.236, 6, 23 in 67 games) or Manny Pina (.252, 9, 28 in 98 games).
Dodgers: LH Clayton Kershaw (9-5, 2.73 ERA, team-high 155 Ks), RH Walker Buehler (8-5, 2.62, 151 Ks in 137 1/3 IP), LH Hyun-Jin Ryu (7-3, 1.97), LH Rich Hill (11-5, 3.66, 150 Ks).
Brewers: RH Jhoulys Chacin (15-8, 3.50, 35 starts, 156 Ks in 192 2/3 IP), LH Wade Miley (5-2, 2.57 in 16 starts), LH Gio Gonzalez (10-11, 4.21, 171 IP with Nationals and Brewers; 3-0, 2.13 in 5 starts for Brewers), RH Zach Davies (2-7, 4.77 in 13 starts; 0-2, 3.91 in 5 September starts after returning from injury), RH Brandon Woodruff (3-0, 3.61 in 19 games, 4 starts; 1-0, 0.73 over 12 1/3 IP in 7 relief appearances after Sept. 1).
Dodgers: RH Kenley Jansen (1-5, 3.01, 38/42 saves), RH Kenta Maeda (8-10, 3.81, 2 saves in 39 games, 20 starts), RH Pedro Baez (4-3, 2.88), LH Scott Alexander (2-1, 3.68), RH Josh Fields (2-2, 2.20), LH Caleb Ferguson (7-2, 3.49, 2 saves), RH Dylan Floro (3-1, 1.63), RH JT Chargois (2-4, 3.34), RH Ryan Madson (2-5, 5.28, 4 saves with Nationals; 0-0, 6.48 with Dodgers), LH Tony Cingrani (1-2, 4.76), RH Ross Stripling (8-6, 3.02), LH Alex Wood (9-7, 3.68 in 33 games, 27 starts).
Brewers: RH Jeremy Jeffress (8-1, 1.29, 15/20 saves in 73 games, 89 Ks in 76 2/3 IP), LH Josh Hader (6-1, 2.43, 12/17 saves in 55 games, 143 Ks in 81 1/3 IP), RH Corey Knebel (4-3, 3.58, 16/19 saves in 57 games, 88 Ks in 55 1/3 IP; 2-0, 0.00 ERA, 33 Ks in 16 1/3 IP after Sept. 1), RH Joakim Soria (3-4, 3.12 in 66 games with White Sox and Brewers), RH Corbin Burns (7-0, 2.61 in 30 games), RH Freddy Peralta (6-4, 4.25 in 16 games, 14 starts), LH Dan Jennings (4-5, 3.22 in 72 games).