I know the Milwaukee Brewers don't have the kind of starting rotation that lends itself to deep postseason appearances, but what manager Craig Counsell did in Game 5 was too cute and gimmicky.
Especially less than 24 hours after a 13-inning, bullpen-killing marathon loss.
In the first inning, left-handed starter Wade Miley faced just one batter, which ended in a walk, and he was immediately pulled from the game for right-handed pitcher Brandon Woodruff. This was all intentional. Sure thing.
The idea was to screw up the Los Angeles Dodgers' offensive game plan, of course, as Dave Roberts put together a more right-handed dominant lineup. But it's not like it was an extreme advantage. The Dodgers sensed Miley wasn't going deep, and Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy had already been inserted into the starting lineup anyway.
Especially with Game 4 going 13 innings, why did Counsell get cute with the pitching staff and have Miley face just one batter? Brandon Woodruff has experience as a starter and was really good in Game 1, but he went 5.1 innings and gave up three runs, falling apart at the end of his rope. That's not ideal for someone who hasn't been a starter throughout the entire season.
On Craig Counsell's gambit, managing strategy, and a sneak peek at the 2028 World Series broadcast https://t.co/lmJ2GpdNHV— Zachary Kram (@zachkram) October 18, 2018
Yes, Woodruff should've been in this game, but let Miley go 3-5 innings depending on his effectiveness and then hand the ball to Woodruff for multiple innings. That would've set up a bullpen game for Game 6, but that's okay because your big arms, namely Josh Hader, would be ready to go for multiple innings.
The bullpen is their strength and I understand being creative to get 27 outs, but having a traditional approach isn't a terrible idea following a 13-inning affair. And with the admitted state of the pen, using as few pitchers as possible should've been the mindset.