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Brewers (37-50) @ Dodgers (49-38) series preview

This is the last series before the All-Star break. The Brewers face off against one of the true baseball behemoths this year in the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers are surefire postseason contenders. Their record is the third best in the NL and fourth best in MLB. They're first in their division with a 5.5 game lead on the second place Giants. No one else looks like they have a chance at threatening LA. Heck, the Giants don't particularly seem as though they can threaten the division leaders.

With Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke at the top of their rotation and Kenley Jansen their closer it comes as no surprise the Dodgers' pitching staff is among the best in baseball. Their 12.5 fWAR is tied with the Cardinals for second best in baseball.

The rotation has been hampered by injury. They lost Hyun-jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy to season ending injuries. They've been forced to fill in with guys like Mike Bolsinger and Carlos Frias. Brandon Beachy was signed in the offseason but was recovering from his second TJ surgery and is just now ready to pitch.

The big surprise here is that the rotation "only" has the 8th best combined fWAR while their bullpen has the best. I don't think many people expected them to get such good production out of the bullpen. It's not just Kenley Jansen this year. Pedro Baez, Juan Nicasio, Adam Liberatore, and Yimi Garcia have all been quite good this year.

Not surprisingly the Dodgers have had the best offense in baseball this year. They have a team 115 wRC+. What I find hilarious is the criticism they took in the offseason for trade Matt Kemp (along with a ton of money) for Yasmani Grandal in order to open a spot for Joc Pederson. Grandal (2.4 fWAR) is one of the best catchers by fWAR this year and leads all catchers in wRC+ (159). Pederson is 4th in wRC+ among OF (min 350 PA) and fWAR (3.2). Meanwhile Kemp is last among OF (min 350 PA) in fWAR (-0.7) and 13th (out of 14) in wRC+ (83).

Offensive Spotlight

Pretty much the whole team. Seriously, look at this.

Pitching Match-Ups

Friday July 10, 9:10 pm CST: Jimmy Nelson vs Mike Bolsinger

Bolsinger has a fringe fastball and relies on his defense to field the high amount of ground balls he induces (56.6 GB%). His 14.2 K%-BB% is slightly better than average but his .248 BAA and 1.28 WHIP is almost exactly league average.

He throws a fastball (87-88), curveball, slider, and occasional change-up.

Saturday July 11, 9:10 pm CST: Taylor Jungmann vs Brandon Beachy

Brandon Beachy hasn't pitched since 2013. He's been on a long road to recovery after his second Tommy John surgery. It's great to see him make a return at all. The second TJ surgery doesn't have near as high a rate of success as the first one. I have no idea what to expect from Beachy as this is his first MLB start back.

When he was consistently pitching he threw a fastball (90-92), change-up, slider, curveball.

Sunday July 12, 3:10 pm CST: Kyle Lohse vs Brett Anderson (LHP)

The Dodgers gave Brett Anderson $10 M this offseason and you could hear Twitter scoffing. However, he's been their third best starter this year. He has a 3.12 ERA and 3.40 FIP. That's thanks in large part to an extreme 67.9 GB%. His 11.2 K%-BB% is slightly below average and his .272 BAA is very poor.

He throws a fastball (89-92), slider, curveball, change-up.

Statistics courtesy of FanGraphs