There are a possible five games left, but Counsell left himself open to wide criticism, taking out Wade Miley way too early, only to see the Brewer bullpen blow Game 2 vs. the Dodgers.
Watch for local press to handle Counsell with kid gloves. On the other hand, the national media will probably be unmerciful, and rightfully so.
Great post-game observation by a Fox announcer. When Josh Hader is not available as he was today, the vaunted Brewer bullpen is not as formidable.
As for the decision to remove Miley when he did, which brought out the second-guessers on social media like the Oklahoma land rush after the bullpen faltered, Counsell said, “Look, you’re either too early or too late. At some point, you’ve got to make a decision, and I thought he was going through the heart of the lineup for the third time.
“We had a fresh Corbin Burnes, who has been wonderful for us this year.”
This is the way Counsell has run the bullpen all year, like it or not. Analytics show that most pitchers struggle the third time through an opponent’s lineup, and nobody crunches the numbers more than the Brewers. So, at that point of games, the “initial out-getter” usually gets the rest of the night off.
Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Brewers starter Wade Miley was in command after a little first inning scare in which center fielder Lorenzo Cain robbed David Freese of a two-run homer. That catch was the first of 16 consecutive batters retired by the veteran left-hander, until Taylor’s two-out single in the sixth.
Manager Craig Counsell went to his bullpen for rookie right-hander Corbin Burnes, who retired Turner on a fly ball to center to end the inning.
The quick trigger was consistent with the way Counsell has been using his starters most of the season and a measure of confidence he has in his bullpen.
Dennis Punzell, WI State Journal
Here is what did happen in the Brewers’ 4-3 loss in Game 2 of the NLCS: Milwaukee’s Wade Miley allowed one hit in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers, facing his second batter of the day. He retired the next 16. The 31-year-old groundballer cruised through five innings and into the sixth, relying on the cutter that’s brought him so much success this season. With two outs in the sixth, he threw a 2-2 fastball to Chris Taylor. It yielded a bloop single to centerfield, Miley’s second baserunner of the night. Counsell pulled him.
Here is what could have happened: Miley could have had the best game of his career. He has never allowed fewer than three baserunners in a start, however brief—not even when he was 2012 Miley, All-Star Miley, Rookie-of-the-Year-candidate Miley. The Taylor single could have been just a momentary blip, and he could have cruised through the rest of the sixth and seventh, maybe even the eighth. He was at 74 pitches when he was pulled, giving him plenty of room to work.
Emma Baccellieri, SI.com
While it is all well and good to want to use your bullpen like Milwaukee does, this is where it can come back to bite you. Relievers cannot be used every single day, and when the best reliever in the game isn’t available, it’s likely more runs will be allowed.
Hader wasn’t available in Game 2, Jeffress was, and Milwaukee surely regretted not having the lefty at its disposal.
Thomas Lott, Sporting News
Milwaukee wasted a terrific performance by Miley in its first loss in three weeks, ending a 12-game winning streak that produced free burgers for its fans as part of a promotion by a local restaurant chain.
Miley pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings in his second career playoff start and had two hits in his first multihit game since 2014.
Jay Cohen, Associated Press
Miley had thrown 74 pitches when he was removed.
Milwaukee had the fifth-best bullpen ERA during the regular season at 3.47, including a best-in-the-majors 1.98 in September.
But the bullpen has been showing cracks. Milwaukee pitchers made 72 appearances during the Brewers’ 12-game winning streak, including 24 in the first four games of the playoffs. It’s a heavy workload.
Other than Hader, the Brewers’ bullpen has allowed eight runs in 7 1/3 innings against Los Angeles, a 9.82 ERA.
Milwaukee has been using its talented young pitchers in the postseason for multiple innings. It worked in the Division Series, but that philosophy is being tested by the Dodgers.
Genaro C. Armas, AP Sports Writer