Olney: NL Championship Series matchups we can’t wait to see

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Here are five matchups to watch in the National League Championship Series between the Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers:

Clayton Kershaw vs. Milwaukee’s fastball hunters

As ESPN researcher Paul Hembekides noted on the podcast Wednesday, the Brewers have had great success in this postseason being aggressive early in the count — presumably to hunt fastballs. Kershaw is renowned among hitters for pounding the strike zone and attacking hitters early in the count. But the future Hall of Famer has made significant adjustments this year in some concessions to his diminished fastball, working to both sides of the plate.

The Dodgers are steeped in metrics and while there’s a lot of “old school” in Kershaw, he’ll certainly be aware of the recent approach of the Milwaukee hitters; presumably, he could adjust by throwing a higher percentage of off-speed pitches early in the count.

Josh Hader vs. the continued demands of October

Relievers don’t like to say no when they’re asked to take the ball. This has led to some heroic performances, but also some really exhausted and ineffective relievers.

The numbers show that Hader is markedly more effective if he has some rest. So it’s unlikely that you’ll see him do what Brandon Morrow did last year and pitch every game in a seven-game series. Rather, Brewers manager Craig Counsell will endeavor to be disciplined and hold Hader for those moments when he can protect a lead — and it’s hard to be better than Counsell has been at this. Hader has pitched back-to-back days once in the past six weeks.

In a perfect scenario, Hader might throw in Game 1 — and then be rested in Game 2, and the travel day — and then Games 3 and 5, and Game 6 or 7, always with days off in between his appearances.

Source : http://www.espn.com/mlb/insider/story/_/id/24965038/national-league-championship-series-matchups-wait-see