With Milwaukee now 3.5 games ahead of the Cubs for the top spot in the NL Central, a postseason bid may truly be in play. However, getting through teams like the Dodgers and Rangers, Milwaukee’s next two opponents, is something the Crew will have to do come playoff time, so seeing them now can be a good test for the Brewers. Coming off a sweep against the White Sox, the Brewers will hope to keep that momentum going as they head to Los Angeles.
Christian Yelich has been the team leader this season at the plate, and his resurgence has propelled the Brewers forward through June and July. Carlos Santana and Mark Canha were both new additions at the deadline that have produced as well, with Santana hitting a couple of big home runs and Canha hitting an extra-inning double to win against Chicago. With Contreras still hot and Andruw Monasterio and Sal Frelick leading the rookies, the Brewers all of a sudden look kind of dangerous.
The Dodgers are still loaded offensively even with some key players leaving prior to this season. Freddie Freeman is locked into an MVP race with Ronald Acuna, and guys like Mookie Betts and Will Smith are always going to cause problems for opposing pitchers. J.D. Martinez has also cranked 25 home runs this season for the Dodgers, so watch out for his power in the lineup.
Probable Pitching Matchups
Tuesday, August 15 @ 9:10 p.m.: Adrian Houser (4-3) vs. Bobby Miller (6-2)
Houser has been solid in his role so far this season and has contributed strong innings when starting this year. He was looked at to begin the year as a long reliever, so the fact he’s been able to come into the starting rotation and immediately have an impact has been a plus for the Crew. Although Houser has been somewhat inconsistent, he’ll look to put together a quality start in game one.
Bobby Miller has been great for the Dodgers this season, putting up a 3.89 ERA through 13 starts. He consistently puts the LA in a position to win when he’s on the mound.
Wednesday, August 16 @ 9:10 p.m.: Wade Miley (6-2) vs. Clayton Kershaw (10-4)
Miley has been one of the best finds by the Brewers' front office, as not many people knew how much the 36-year-old had left in the tank coming into the year. That said, he’s been fantastic, putting up a 2.90 ERA and allowing just nine home runs in 15 starts. The Brewers always have a good chance to win with Miley on the mound, but matching up with Clayton Kershaw may give the Dodgers an advantage in this one.
Clayton Kershaw is a bona fide Hall of Fame pitcher who has somehow continued late in his career to be one of the best starting pitchers in the league. Kershaw is posting a 2.51 ERA with 109 strikeouts on the year, showing that he still has it and can continue to be one of the best players on his team. It will be tough for the Brewers to get a win in game two.
Thursday, August 17 @ 9:10 p.m.: Corbin Burnes (9-6) vs. Lance Lynn (9-9)
Burnes has come on strong as of late, with six of his last seven starts being considered a quality outing, and as he continues to get back to his Cy Young form, hopefully the Brewers can capitalize on that success. Posting a 3.60 ERA with 146 strikeouts, Burnes still can get the job done against any team any night and rarely will put the Brewers in a position to lose.
Lance Lynn has been a veteran in the league for a while and like Wade Miley, it's tough to gauge how good older pitchers will be. Lynn struggled to a 6.47 ERA prior to the trade deadline with the White Sox, but he’s a perfect 3-0 in three starts with the Dodgers, allowing just four runs across 18 innings for a 2.00 ERA. The Brewers will hope the White Sox version of Lynn shows up Thursday night in the series finale.
Devin Williams is still the lockdown closer at the back of Milwaukee’s pen, but guys like Joel Payamps and Elvis Peguero have been key pieces all season. While Peguero has struggled as of late, the additions of Abner Uribe and Andrew Chafin have helped shored up the back end of games. Milwaukee should feel comfortable about where their bullpen is at, especially with a guy like Williams who can slam the door on teams in the ninth should the Crew have a lead.
The Dodgers also have a star reliever in Evan Phillips, who like Williams, has developed into a shutdown closer, converting 17 saves with a 2.60 ERA this year. Brusdar Graterol (1.59 ERA) and Shelby Miller (2.40 ERA) have also been good bullpen arms for the Dodgers and can give the Brewers fits if they aren’t patient at the plate late in games.
With some favorable pitching matchups and the offense clicking, I’ll take the Brewers to go into Los Angeles and win two out of three despite a tough matchup with a surging Dodgers squad.