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Orlando Arcia’s postseason performance is something no one saw coming

He’s a nice surprise at the plate for the Brewers.

League Championship Series - Los Angeles Dodgers v Milwaukee Brewers - Game Two Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

In Game 3 of the NLCS between the Dodgers and Brewers, Orlando Arcia hit a two-run opposite field homer that brought Erik Kratz home from second and put Milwaukee up 4-0, essentially sealing the game for the Brewers. Yes, Orlando Arcia — who hit three home runs the entire regular season — brought home a 38-year old journeyman who the Brewers picked up as a backup catcher earlier this season.

Just like Milwaukee drew it up!

In all seriousness, Arcia being an offensive standout so far this postseason is not something anyone could have seen coming. He’s a good player for Milwaukee, the starting shortstop and a reliable defensive presence for the team (if not an airtight one, with a .964 fielding percentage in 2018 that has dropped significantly every year he’s been in the league).

Still, here are some numbers for comparison’s sake.

Orlando Arcia in the regular season: 119 games, 348 AB, 3 HR

Orlando Arcia in the postseason: 6 games, 20 AB, 3 HR

His .307 regular season slugging percentage ranked 251st out of 254 players with at least 300 at bats. Fourth worst. In the whole league among qualifying hitters. If you expand that to at least 350 plate appearances, of which Arcia was on the cusp, he would have been 244th out of 247 players. To put it gently, yikes.

In the postseason, his slugging percentage is hovering between 300 and 400 points higher than that dismal 2018 mark. It was at .625 in October before Game 3.

Every postseason team has tiers of guys that help them achieve a possible World Series win. The Brewers have the guaranteed stars like Ryan Braun and Christian Yelich, who have been doing their fair share in October so far. Then there’s the “oh yeah that guy’s good enough and can take a step up in the postseason” players like Jesus Aguilar, Mike Moustakas, and Jhoulys Chacin who have all had their moments in the six games Milwaukee has played thus far.

Then there’s the players that step up and no one could have possibly seen it coming. It’s not like the Brewers took a chance on Arcia to play him at all. He’s their starting shortstop, he was never not playing in October. But to do this against teams sending out their top pitchers, if you predicted it I’d like you to please buy me a lottery ticket this week.

It’s especially shocking that Arcia is turning into that guy because he hasn’t exactly lived up to his status as the Brewers’ former number one prospect and his spot on MLB’s Top 100 Prospects list. That also makes it even more heartening to watch him have this breakout postseason.

This is the home run he hit off Walker Buehler to seal the win for the Brewers and secure a 2-1 series lead.

Buehler didn’t look bad on Monday night. He pitched seven innings and had his command. Yet Arcia got a home run off of him and then did this rounding third. Not a care in the world, when he just matched his entire dinger output from more than 100 games in the regular season.

That’s a big part of this rapidly building Arica mythos as well — that he’s not acting like this is a surprise. Nor should he. We all get to be surprised he’s doing this, but he has the privilege to act like this was always going to be what his postseason looked like.

I don’t know what to tell the Dodgers though. Having Arcia, of all people, hit multiple home runs against you in one series is not what you want, and is as indicative as anything of what’s going wrong with the Dodgers pitching through three games. Orlando Arcia! Hitting home runs against you!

If you asked Craig Counsell on the record — and probably even if you asked him off the record — it’s hard to imagine he expected Arcia being one of their most valuable men at the plate so far. He’s talked up his defense which makes sense, but no manager could reasonably take credit for what Arcia’s doing when it matters most. This is a manager’s dream. The guy who couldn’t hit a home run if he asked a genie to help him in the regular season is hot in October.

The Brewers are two wins away from a World Series berth. At this point there are a lot of people who could take more credit than Arcia for getting them there if it happens. But not many! Not many. With everything on the line, Orlando Arcia is getting things done. Okay!