The Milwaukee Brewers have racked up a pretty good record against most divisions this year -- that sort of thing will happen when you’re 14 games over .500 -- but for whatever reason, they’ve been better against the NL West than any other division. After taking 3 of 4 over the weekend in San Francisco, the Brewers are now 15-5 against the West.
It’s a division made up of playoff contenders (and the Padres), and the only team in that division the Brewers have a losing record against is the Dodgers, on account of losing the first series out of the All-Star break. They have a chance to fix that this week with four games in Los Angeles, which will be their final series out West (at least until the NLCS).
In the couple series since we saw the Dodgers last, they dropped a 3-game series in Philadelphia before wrapping up their 10-game trip east by taking 3 of 4 from the Braves in Atlanta. Now they’re back home for the first time since the All-Star break, and the Brewers will once again be the opponent for another Manny Machado first -- his first series in Dodger Stadium. Machado is hitting .302/.400/.442 since the trade and has gotten on base in every game as a Dodger, collecting hits in all but one game.
Monday, 9:10 p.m. CDT
Freddy Peralta vs. Kenta Maeda
Tuesday, 9:10 p.m. CDT
Wade Miley vs. Walker Buehler
Wednesday, 9:10 p.m. CDT
Chase Anderson vs. Rich Hill
Thursday, 8:00 p.m. CDT
Jhoulys Chacin vs. Clayton Kershaw
Maeda missed a handful of starts in early June, but has largely been excellent for the Dodgers this year, putting up a 3.27 ERA that’s actually underselling how well he’s pitched to this point in the year. His FIP is below 3 (2.94) and he’s struck out more than 29% of the batters he’s faced this year, racking up 115 in 93.2 innings. He’s coming off a “bad” outing in which he gave up four runs in 7 innings against the Phillies in that bandbox in Philadelphia, although he did strike out 7. The two home runs he allowed in that start were the first he’d allowed in almost a month, and he’s only allowed 8 all year.
Buehler is the Dodgers’ top prospect and one of the best pitching prospects in all of baseball, ranking in the Top 20 overall prospects heading into the year. Despite being the biggest trade chip the Dodgers have, we can still probably expect him to make this start on Tuesday night after the deadline -- he’s one of a handful of prospects the Dodgers have said they aren’t willing to trade. The 23-year-old has a 3.92 ERA in 62 big league innings so far this year, which covers 11 starts and a relief appearance. As expected, he’s shown good strikeout stuff with 64 punchouts, and rare control for a young strikeout pitcher, with only 14 walks so far.
Hill will see the Brewers for the second time in three starts after having held the Brewers to just one run over 6 innings on July 20th, striking out 9 but walking 4. The Brewers were able to score 3 in the final two innings of that game, but still came up short, 6-4. Hill followed up that start with 7 shutout innings against the Braves, in which he allowed just 3 hits and 1 walk while striking out 8.
Kershaw is Kershaw, but the Brewers were able to beat him in Milwaukee -- with the help of some shoddy defense by Max Muncy. The Brewers scored 4 runs off of Kershaw on the 21st, but only 1 ended up being charged to Kershaw’s line. The Dodgers have since moved Muncy off of third, and Kershaw’s outing after that was much better -- he pitched into the 8th inning against Atlanta on Friday night, allowing just 1 run and striking out 8. After back-to-back 1 ER outings, Kershaw’s ERA is now down to 2.52 -- still high for him (his career ERA is 2.37 in 10.5 years), but his ERA+ is at 156.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference