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Series Preview: Milwaukee Brewers @ Los Angeles Dodgers

After an epic meeting in the NLCS, the rivalry continues early in 2019

MLB: NLCS-Los Angeles Dodgers at Milwaukee Brewers Milwaukee Journal Sentinel-USA TODAY Sports

At the start of this week, it looked like this weekend’s NLCS rematch between the Brewers and Dodgers would be a matchup of teams off to hot starts to the new season.

Both teams started the year 8-2, but then everything seemed to go wrong for the Brewers in Anaheim, and the Dodgers got swept in 4 games in St. Louis. Now both teams are looking to break out of their first funk of 2019.

Not so coincidentally, both have struggled with pitching in the first part of April, but have been carried by lineups that have been keeping them in every game. The Dodgers were slugging more than anyone outside of the NL Central before the Cardinals were able to limit them to 5 total runs in the first 3 games of the series in St. Louis until yesterday’s 11-7 slugfest loss.

As a team, the Dodgers have already hit 29 home runs in 14 games, with 7 coming from Cody Bellinger, who’s hitting .411/.468/.875 in the first two weeks. Max Muncy, Enrique Hernandez, and Joc Pederson also all have 4 home runs.

The injury bug has bitten early and often for the Dodgers, though, with 3/5 of the rotation now on the Injured List and Corey Seager and Muncy listed as day-to-day following the series in St. Louis.

While the Brewers are scuffling themselves during their first extended road trip of the year, there may not be a better time to catch the Dodgers.

Probable Starters

Friday, April 12th - 9:10 p.m. CDT
Corbin Burnes vs. Julio Urias

Saturday, April 13th - 8:10 p.m. CDT
Zach Davies vs. TBD

Sunday, April 14th - 3:10 p.m. CDT
Jhoulys Chacin vs. TBD

As of now, the Dodgers’ rotation beyond tonight’s opener remains up in the air. Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill have not appeared in a game yet this year and Hyun-jin Ryu recently joined them on the Injured List. At this point, all we know is that Urias is pitching tonight and Kershaw won’t make his debut until Monday, meaning the Brewers will dodge him this time around. Saturday could end up being a bullpen game for the Dodgers.

Previous Meeting

Playoff series can make for some unlikely rivals — just take a look at some of the meetings between the Brewers and Diamondbacks since 2011 — and it looks like we’re there now with the Dodgers. After nearly two weeks of gamesmanship, complaints to the league, allegations of sign-stealing, and on-field spats and literal foot-stomping, the Brewers and Dodgers were pretty well sick of eachother by the end of the NLCS.

Now, the two teams will meet again twice this month in 7 of their next 10 games. With the entire season series being taken care of in April, it’ll mean the teams won’t meet again until a possible rematch in October. But at this rate, maybe it’s best if they don’t see eachother more frequently than every 6 months.

Player to Watch

For a lot of us in the Central time zone, it can be easy to miss what someone like Cody Bellinger is doing. After breaking the National League rookie home run record with 39 in 2017 as a 21-year-old, Bellinger had a bit of a sophomore slump last year with a .260/.343/.470 line while playing in all 162 games. It looks like he’s rebounded this year, though, with those NL-leading 7 home runs, as well as leading the league in hits (23), runs (18), RBI (19), and total bases (43). Outside of Christian Yelich, there might not be a hotter left-handed hitter in the NL right now.

Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference