While the feelings of the Dodgers are certainly good as they embark on a road trip to the Midwest, the club will have the challenge of tackling the Brewers again, the same squad who stole two of three contests from Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium just last weekend.
The early season narrative of the Dodgers portrays them as a team which is beating up on the weaker squads and not delivering against the quality clubs. It’s certainly too early in the year to make any concrete suppositions, but based on the way things are shaking out early, it’s tough to find a team in the NL West who will give Los Angeles a run for its money regarding a division title.
The NL Central is a different story, though. At the tail-end of their first road trip of the season, the Dodgers ran into the Cardinals, who promptly swept Los Angeles. At the time, the Dodgers were 8-2, and many pundits believed they could have been 10-0 if it was not for some untimely ineffectiveness by the relief corps.
However, the Los Angeles bats cooled, and the pitching fizzled out. Whether or not the pitching woes were caused by the makeshift rotation or by the fact that the Cardinals were a much better offensive squad than the Diamondbacks, Giants or Rockies is speculative. Regardless, when the smoke cleared on the St. Louis series, the Cardinals outscored the Dodgers 26 runs to 12. And, by the time the first two games of the Brewers’ series were finished, Los Angeles found itself amid a six-game losing skid.
Beginning Thursday, the Dodgers have the chance to change that narrative as the club starts a four-game series against the Brewers at Miller Park.
One of the differences this time around is that the Brewers will need to face Los Angeles ace Clayton Kershaw, who delivered a very impressive performance against the Reds on Tuesday.
Coincidentally, Stripling is coming off his best outing of the year. In the final game against the Brewers at home last Sunday, Strip was fantastic, throwing eight solid innings, allowing just one earned run on four hits and a walk with three punchouts—a performance the Dodgers desperately needed at the time.
Milwaukee will counter with righty Zach Davies on Friday and right-hander Jhoulys Chacin on Saturday, but haven’t committed to any starters beyond those games. From the looks of things, the Brewers may run out righty Freddy Peralta on Saturday and righty Brandon Woodruff. Seemingly, the lineup of Milwaukee’s the all-right handed quartet bodes well for the Dodgers.
Of course, Los Angeles will need to contend with the bat of Christian Yelich, who is hitting .356/.448/.781 with nine homers and 26 RBI. Furthermore, former Dodger Yasmani Grandal is leading the Brew Crew in average, slashing .375/.429/679 over 56 AB.
The Dodgers have a power-punch of their own with Cody Bellinger, who leads the NL in hitting with a whopping .429 average and is tied with Yelich for the NL lead in long balls. Joc Pederson is second on the senior circuit with eight home runs.
The first two games of the series game will begin at 5:10 PM Los Angeles time. Saturday’s contest will be televised nationally on Fox Sports 1 and is slated for 4:10 PM. First pitch on Sunday is set for 11:10 AM.