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Series Preview: Los Angeles Dodgers @ Milwaukee Brewers

The April gauntlet continues with the NL’s best slugging team coming to hitter-friendly Miller Park

Milwaukee Brewers v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

The Brewers are in the middle of a stretch where they play nobody but the Cardinals and the Dodgers for just about two weeks straight.

That Dodgers-Cardinals-Dodgers-Cardinals stretch has gotten off to a good start, with 4 Brewer wins in the first 6 games. Now they hope to contain the Dodgers’ power that they were barely able to manage in the more pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium this weekend in Miller Park.

LA has been the NL’s best offense by far in their first 20 games, scoring 122 runs -- the next-best team, the Cubs, are a distant second with 103 runs scored. Their 38 home runs are also tops in the NL, although the Brewers aren’t far behind with 35. In both categories, the Dodgers trail only the Seattle Mariners for the best mark in the majors.

As we noted this time last week, the Dodgers’ problem has (uncharacteristically) been pitching. The rotation shakes out a bit more kindly for them this time around, with no need for a throwaway bullpen day and Clayton Kershaw back in the rotation.

Probable Pitchers

Thursday, April 18th - 7:10 p.m. CDT
Julio Urias vs. Zach Davies

The Brewers roughed up the young lefty in his last start, scoring 6 runs (5 earned) on 6 hits, including 2 no-doubt home runs from Hernan Perez and Yasmani Grandal.

Friday, April 19th - 7:10 p.m. CDT
Ross Stripling vs. Jhoulys Chacin

Stripling shut out the Brewers for 7.1 innings on Sunday before Eric Thames was able to push a run across on a sacrifice fly. It wasn’t just the Brewers wanting to get home on a getaway day, though -- Stripling now has a 2.92 ERA in his first 4 starts, striking out 18 in his first 24.2 innings, stranding 81.7% of his baserunners.

Saturday, April 20th - 6:10 p.m. CDT
Clayton Kershaw vs. TBD

This will be Kershaw’s second start of the year. He made his 2019 debut Monday night, and after allowing a 2-run home run to Yasiel Puig in the first inning, threw 6 shutout innings after that. If that start is any indication, even if he doesn’t have the strikeout stuff he used to, he’s going to excel at inducing ground balls.

Sunday, April 21st - 1:10 p.m. CDT
Kenta Maeda vs. Brandon Woodruff, Who Homered Against Clayton Kershaw in the NLCS

Are we sure the Brewers can’t move up Woodruff’s start by a day to give us the rematch we deserve? The Brewers missed Maeda the first time around in LA after seeing him make 3 relief appearances in the NLCS. Maeda can struggle with walks at times, like in his lone regular season start against the Brewers last year, when he walked 3 while allowing 7 hits and 4 earned runs in 4.2 innings last July 30th in Los Angeles.

Previous Meeting

It was a week ago. The Brewers’ April schedule is ridiculous. But at the very least, the Brewers will be done with the Dodgers for the year, barring any additional meetings in October.

If you missed it due to the late-night start times, the Brewers took 2 of 3 from the Dodgers, taking the first 2 games of the series before losing the finale 7-1 in a game that definitely looked like the last game of a long west coast road trip.

The Brewers went home at took 2 of 3 from the St. Louis Cardinals, while the Dodgers stayed in LA and swept the Cincinnati Reds. The Dodgers are now on a 4-game winning streak after a 6-game losing streak that included the first two games of the previous Brewers series and a 4-game sweep at the hands of the Cardinals.

Player to Watch

If it weren’t for Christian Yelich, Cody Bellinger might have been a lock for NL Player of the Month, at least at this point in April. He’s still hitting .429/.512/.900 in his first 19 games of the year, with 9 home runs, 4 doubles and 11 walks while only striking out 9 times in 82 plate appearances.

We highlighted him heading into last week’s series, too, and he didn’t disappoint, going 5-for-10 with 2 incredibly hard-hit and would-have-been-beautiful-if-they-weren’t-against-the-Brewers home runs.

Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs