MILWAUKEE (AP) — Build an early lead Bryce Harper Jersey
, get five good innings out of the starter and bring in the bullpen.The Milwaukee Brewers used that formula to win 11 straight games going into the NL Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.Clayton Kershaw could be the ace that finally puts a stop to the streak.The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner will start for Los Angeles in Game 1 on Friday night at Miller Park.“We know we’re not going to get a ton of opportunities” against Kershaw and Dodgers starting pitching, outfielder Ryan Braun said. “So we’ve talked about the importance of cashing in on the opportunities we do get.”Once the Brewers take a lead, they’re hard to beat. Good luck getting to their lights-out bullpen.Milwaukee’s 3.47 ERA in relief was second in the NL only to the Chicago Cubs. The bullpen went 2-0 with a save and a 1.17 ERA in the three-game Division Series sweep Colorado.Corey Knebel can come in as soon as the fifth, usually lights-out left-hander Josh Hader in just about situation and Jeremy Jeffress in the late innings. All three relievers are capable of closing.Knebel and Hader are making their postseason debuts, while Jeffress’ playoff experience before this year was limited to just one inning in 2016 with Texas.“I thought it was going to be a lot different,” Knebel said Thursday of the playoffs. “The first time I came in, I felt the same surprisingly. … Hey’s it’s just another game. That’s all it is. You just want to keep playing ball.”The spotlight probably won’t faze the Dodgers, who are in a third straight NLCS for the first time in franchise history. The strategy at the plate doesn’t change, either, just because Milwaukee’s relievers are so good.Knebel, Hader and Jeffress, along with righty Joakim Soria, appeared in all three games against Colorado spread out over four days.The NLCS is best-of-seven, with the first four games over five days, so bullpen usage could differ.“When you’re talking about a seven-game series Stephen Strasburg Jersey
,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, “having those guys go to their ‘pen and taxing them and beating the starter, there’s still a lot of value in that.”Chasing the starter will require building an early lead that might require the Brewers to dip into his bullpen earlier or more often than planned.“If they go bullpen game, like they did against the Rockies, it’s a seven-game set,” Dodgers infielder Max Muncy said. “It’s more games you’re putting stress on the bullpen.”Other notes and things to watch:UNFINISHED BUSINESSPressure in the NLCS? Maybe not for the Dodgers, who lost Game 7 of the World Series to the Houston Astros a year ago. Now that’s pressure.“We want to finish off what we didn’t finish off last year. That’s been their focus since after that Game 7,” Roberts said. “We’re in a position right now where we can give ourselves an opportunity to get back there.”MVP WATCHOutfielder Christian Yelich, making his postseason debut, hit .250 with a homer and two RBIs with two steals in the NLDS. The smooth-hitting left-hander went on a tear in the second half, hitting .367 after the All-Star break with 25 homers to help lift the Brewers to the NL Central crown.When the series shifts to Dodger Stadium next week, the southern California native will be playing in a park where he used to watch games as a child .START IT UPNo bullpen day to open up the series for the Brewers. Milwaukee is going with left-hander Gio Gonzalez to oppose Kershaw in Game 1 on Friday night. For Gonzalez, it has been quite a rebound since being acquired in a deal with the Washington Nationals, going 3-0 with a 2.13 ERA in five starts with Milwaukee.“So to sit here, and I’m pitching Game 1 of the second round http://www.nationalsfanproshop.com/authentic-matt-adams-jersey
, I think it’s remarkable, pretty incredible,” Gonzalez said, “and hopefully I get to tell my kids about this one day.”An 11-year veteran, Gonzalez is 4-1 with a 1.89 ERA in six career starts against the Dodgers.CY KERSHAWOne of the toughest left-handers in baseball, Kershaw (9-5, 2.73) hasn’t been quite as good in his career in the NLCS. He is 2-4 with a 4.65 ERA in five career starts in this round.BACK WHERE IT STARTEDThe NLCS will begin in the park where All-Star Manny Machado made his Dodgers’ debut. After Machado was acquired at the All-Star break from the Orioles, the Dodgers opened up the second half of the season at Miller Park.Machado has hit .273 with 13 homers and 42 RBIs in 66 games with the Dodgers.“It made it a lot easier knowing I was just another piece to this ballclub,” Machado said. “This ballclub could have made it just as easily without me.” TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Mike Trout wrapped up an eventful spring in Arizona on Friday with his third home run, and first since signing his record new deal.Trout received a 12-year, $426.5 million contract Wednesday, and in two games since, he’s 2-for-7, hitting an RBI single Thursday and the three-run homer Friday as the Los Angeles Angels hosted the Chicago White Sox. In 14 games in Arizona Anthony Rendon Jersey
, he batted .293.The two-time Most Valuable Player joked that he and teammate Kole Calhoun wanted to make sure they hit at least one homer in spring training.“I think the biggest thing is just getting one,” Trout said. “That’s the goal for me and Kole. We say we just need one. We don’t want to use them all up in spring.”Justin Upton walked to open the Angels’ first and Calhoun singled to set up Trout’s homer, a laser that landed on the left field berm at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Trout connected on a 2-1 pitch from White Sox opening day starter Carlos Rodon.“I hit that ball pretty good,” Trout said. “I was just trying to barrel the ball and obviously it went out but I was happy I put the barrel to it.”Trout had a chance to repeat with two outs in the second inning but flew out to left and stranded two runners. He grounded out on a checked swing in the fifth, advancing a runner from second to third.“I still have three more games but it’s there,” Trout said. “I’m just trying to fine-tune things. Some swings feel really good, some kind of just in between.”The Angels will play one more game in Arizona on Saturday against the San Diego Padres before opening a three-game exhibition series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday in Anaheim. Trout, who will not play Saturday, will talk about his new deal during a news conference Sunday outside Angel Stadium.On Friday, the focus for Trout and the majority of players was packing their gear at Tempe Diablo Stadium and heading west.“We’ve got to do our job,” Trout said when asked how good the Angels offense can be. “Everybody’s got their own job. Obviously, you can’t go up there trying to do too much. Just know your swing and go from there.”NOTES: Right-hander Trevor Cahill gave up four hits, including Leury Garcia’s solo homer in the third, over 4 1/3 innings in his final tuneup before opening day. One year ago, Cahill didn’t sign with the Oakland Athletics until March 19. Before joining the A’s Daniel Murphy Jersey
, he had friends catch him and worked out as if it was spring training. “It was tough to find catchers when (spring training) started,” Cahill said. “The guys I knew had jobs. They didn’t want to leave the park and then go catch me.” Cahill signed with the Angels on Dec. 20. … The Angels trimmed their spring roster on Friday. 3B Taylor Ward, RHP Jake Jewell, C Jose Briceno were optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake, and C Dustin Garneau, OF Jarrett Parker, OF Brennon Lund were reassigned to minor league camp. RHP Daniel Hudson, who gave up five hits, including three home runs, in 6 2/3 innings in seven spring games, was released.