Have the Los Angeles Dodgers finally broken out of their slumping ways?
In their 8-0 win against the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday afternoon, they sure looked more like the team we expect to see every day. Clayton Kershaw was his old masterful self, scattering four hits across seven scoreless innings. The bullpen wobbled but held, and the offense unleashed six runs in the bottom of the eighth inning with two outs.
Obviously, we know that one good game does not a slump break. There were, however, some encouraging signs.
Max Muncy has been a walking machine this season, but the hits have not always been there. He had been kind of flailing at pitches when he did swing, often resulting in strikeouts or weak groundouts. While his last two at-bats yesterday were outs, the swings he took to produce those outs looked much better, and the exit velocity was there.
Luke Raley could be beginning to get the hang of it. While no means is he the new Zach McKinstry, he has started to look much better at the plate most recently. And this is a mean comparison, but much better than Edwin Rios, who unfortunately looks completely lost while batting.
While the last two series have not been good ones for the Dodgers, nonetheless they had a happy flight to Milwaukee, where they will begin a four-game series against the Brewers. They seem to need any bit of momentum at the moment, especially starting a series against tough pitching and the prospects of a bullpen game looming.
The one good thing for the Brewers is that while they have a fantastic pitching staff, their offense has not been all that good. Travis Shaw leads the team in qualified batting average with a .213 average. Kolten Wong and Omar Narvaez have been hitting well, but haven’t seen as many at bats. No player has more than three home runs.
The Milwaukee pitching staff is another story. Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff have both been phenomenal this season, and the Dodgers will face them the last two games of this series. Their ERAs are 1.53 and 1.55, respectively. Burnes has 49 strikeouts in 29.2 innings pitched with a 0.55 WHIP. Woodruff has 34 strikeouts in 29 innings and a 0.72 WHIP.
At the back end, Josh Hader has not allowed a run yet this season, pitching 7.2 innings in relief so far with 14 strikeouts.
The Dodgers will need to capitalize right off on Thursday against Eric Lauer, who so far this season is 0-2 with a 13.09 ERA and a 2.36 WHIP. Trevor Bauer will start for the Dodgers in the opener, hopefully going deep into the game to save the bullpen for the expected Johnny Wholestaff start on Friday. The Brewers will counter with Freddy Peralta on Friday who is 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA and 38 strikeouts.
Teams have come into Dodger Stadium after losing streaks and gotten themselves going against the Dodgers— maybe the Dodgers just need a change of scenery to get themselves going.