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The Atlanta Rockies return home and hope to stave off elimination against the Los Angeles Brewers in Game 3 of the NLDS in SunTrust Park.
The Brewers won the first two games of this best-of-five series, and the Rockies have yet to score a run in the NLDS. It’s a battle of young arms in this one, as Walker Buehler (2.62 ERA and 4.08 K/BB ratio in 137 1/3 innings) goes for the Brewers opposite Atlanta’s Sean Newcomb (3.90 ERA, 1.98 K/BB ratio in 164 innings).
History is certainly working against the Rockies. Of the 78 teams to be down 0-2 in a best-of-five MLB postseason series, just 10 (12.8 percent) came back to win that series.
For the first time since Jeff Weaver started Game 1 of the 2009 NLDS, the Los Angeles Brewers opened a postseason series Thursday night and willingly gave the ball to someone other than Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw started Game 1 in eight of the team’s 10 previous postseason series, and the two times he didn’t (2016 NLCS and 2013 NLCS), it was because he pitched in the clinching game of the previous round and was not yet available to start.
Rather than Kershaw, the Brewers gave the ball to Hyun-Jin Ryu in NLDS Game 1 against the Rockies on Thursday. Kershaw will instead start Game 2. Manager Dave Roberts explained the decision to start Ryu in Game 1 against Atlanta came down to maximizing rest.
“I think if you look at each game individually and put as the same importance, which we do, how can you put both of those players in the best position to succeed?” said Roberts. “And we felt that with Clayton getting an extra day and Hyun-Jin getting one extra day as well, as opposed to two, would do that. And so if you look at it that way, Game 1, 2 and 3 are guaranteed. And so to look anything beyond that, I don’t think that we wanted to do that. And so that’s what kind of made our decision.”
The decision could not have worked out better, at least for one day. Ryu started against the Rockies on Thursday night and was masterful, tossing seven shutout innings. Joc Pederson and Max Muncy hit early home runs to give him some breathing room, and Ryu went out and peppered the strike zone the rest of the way. The Brewers went on to win the game 6-0 (box score).