Today, the Dodgers begin the second half of the season and probably their toughest stretch of games this year, facing four teams with better records that the Dodgers themselves currently possess, and one of those teams twice.
They start their new look lineup tonight against the Milwaukee Brewers, a team they will face twice in the next 14 games. The addition of Manny Machado to the lineup has fans and teammates alike pumped for the run to the playoffs. The first lineup with Machado in it had not been released at this writing, but manager Dave Roberts said that he would be somewhere in the heart of the order. Andrew Toles was optioned back to Triple-A Oklahoma City to make room for Machado on the 25-man roster.
The Brewers are currently second in the NL Central, three games back of the Chicago Cubs, with a record of 55-43. They ended he first half with a six-game losing streak and had won only two of their last 10. They also were one of the other teams rumored to be heavily interested in Machado.
The Brew Crew’s offense is lead by the trio of Jesús Aguilar, Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain, the last two being acquired by Milwaukee in the offseason. Aguilar leads the team with 24 home runs and participated in the All-Star Home Run derby.
The Dodgers are throwing all left-handers against the Brewers, who have an 82 wRC+ against LHP, 26th in the Majors. Friday, L.A. sends Rich Hill to the mound to face off against Wade Miley. Hill is starting for the first time in 10 days, after a one inning relief appearance on Sunday. Miley was on the 60-day DL with a right oblique injury and has one start since returning, allowing two runs, five walks and striking out five in five innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Saturday’s game will see Clayton Kershaw return to the hill at Miller Park, where he is 4-0. His counterpart will be RHP Chase Anderson, who is 6-7 on the season with a 3.78 ERA and 81K. He’s been hot as of late, with a 1.65 ERA over his last five games. Matt Kemp and Yasmani Grandal have hit him well, though, with two and three homers off him respectively.
The series in Milwaukee will end with Alex Wood going against LHP Brent Suter. Wood has been pitching better than he started the season, racking up 94K so far. Suter leads the Brewers pitching staff with eight wins, but ended the regular season allowing 10 runs in 16 innings of work over his final three starts. None of the Dodgers batters have ever faced him.
Dodger bats should be revved and ready to go, and Machado looks to start the time with his new team off with a bang. As long as Dodger pitching can take advantage of the Brewers lack of production against left handed pitching, it will be a great start to the second half indeed.