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Brewers take 2-1 lead in NLCS after shutting Dodgers out 4-0 in Game 3

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Brewers starter Jhoulys Chacín tossed 5 1/3 highly effective, shutout innings to help lead his team past the Dodgers 4-0 in Game 3 of the NLCS Monday night at Dodger Stadium. The journeyman, who had to settle for minor league contracts in 2015 and ’16, has yet to allow a run in the postseason.

The Brewers’ offense helped take some of the pressure off Chacín, giving him a run of support in the top of the first inning against Walker Buehler. Buehler walked Christian Yelich, who promptly scored when Ryan Braun ripped a double down the left field line. Buehler otherwise pitched quite well as he wouldn’t relent his second run until the sixth inning when he uncorked a wild pitch with two outs.

Manager Craig Counsell opted to take Chacín out of the game with one out in the sixth after Justin Turner reached second base due to a throwing error by third baseman Mike Moustakas. Chacín was double-switched out and Corey Knebel came in, getting the final two outs of the frame to send the game into the seventh. Orlando Arcia provided some insurance in the top half of the seventh, hitting an opposite-field two-run home run off of Buehler to make the score 4-0. Knebel remained in the game in the bottom half of the seventh and simply struck out the side. Yasiel Puig, Yasmani Grandal, and Enrique Hernández each went down swinging.

Joakim Soria started the eighth inning for the Brewers, giving the appearance that they might not call on Josh Hader, who threw three innings and 46 pitches in Game 1. But after Soria got Chris Taylor to pop out, Counsell brought Hader into the game to face the left-handed Joc Pederson and Max Muncy. David Freese pinch-hit for Pederson, then struck out. Hader provided the same fate to Matt Kemp, pinch-hitting for Muncy. Hader needed only eight pitches, which opens the possibility he might be used in Games 4 and/or 5 as well.

In the ninth, Counsell handed the ball to Jeremy Jeffress, fresh off a disastrous performance in Game 2 which saw him give up an eventual game-winning two-run home run to Justin Turner. This time around, Turner settled for a leadoff single. Manny Machado moved him over to third base with a double, and once again Jeffress was in trouble. Jeffress got Cody Bellinger to pop up, but loaded the bases by walking Puig to bring up Grandal, who had become something of a goat after allowing his third passed ball of the NLCS earlier in the game. Grandal struck out on three pitches for the second out, returning to the dugout amid a chorus of boos. The Dodgers’ final hope rested in the hands of Brian Dozier. Jeffress threw a 1-2, 96.5 MPH fastball that caught the outside corner of the plate and Dozier took it for strike three. Jeffress somehow wriggled out of trouble to put the 4-0 victory in the books for the Brewers.

The Brewers will look to extend their NLCS lead on Tuesday as the two squads match up against in Los Angeles for Game 4. Rich Hill will start for the Dodgers. The Brewers haven’t yet announced their starter.

Report: Nathan Eovaldi drawing interest from at least nine teams

Nathan Eovaldi
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Former Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is up for grabs this offseason, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that as many as nine suitors are interested in bringing the righty aboard. While the Red Sox are eager to retain Eovaldi’s services after his lights-out performance during their recent postseason run, they’ll have to contend with the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, White Sox, Padres, Blue Jays, Giants, and Angels — all of whom are reportedly positioned to offer something for the starter this winter.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 28-year-old in 2018, however. After losing his 2017 season to Tommy John surgery, he underwent an additional procedure to remove loose bodies from his right elbow in March and didn’t make his first appearance until the end of May. He was flipped for lefty reliever Jalen Beeks just prior to the trade deadline and finished his season with a combined 6-7 record in 21 starts, a 3.81 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, and 8.2 SO/9 through 111 innings.

Despite his numerous health issues over the last few years, Eovaldi raised his stock in October after becoming a major contributor during the Red Sox’ championship run. He contributed two quality starts in the ALDS and ALCS and returned in Games 1-3 of the World Series with three lights-out performances in relief — including a six-inning effort in the 18-inning marathon that was Game 3.

A frontrunner has yet to emerge for the righty this offseason, but Cafardo points out that the nine teams listed so far might just be the tip of the iceberg. Still, he won’t be the most sought-after starter on the market, as former Diamondbacks southpaw Patrick Corbin is expected to command an even bigger payday following his career-best 6.0-fWAR performance in 2018.