Twins @ Dodgers July 26, 2017: Stewart for the sweep

Photo: Stacie Wheeler

The Dodgers (70-31) go for their fifth straight win and a three-game sweep over the Twins (49-50) on Wednesday night in the series finale when they send Brock Stewart to the mound for his first start of the season. With 12 series sweeps on the books so for this year, a 13th sweep would be the most for the Dodgers since 1978. They’re also the only MLB team to not have been swept this year.

Twins
Dodgers
7:10 PM PT
Los Angeles
2B
 Dozier
LF
Taylor
CF
Granite
SS
Seager
1B
Mauer
3B
Turner
3B
Escobar
1B
Bellinger
LF
Rosario
CF
Pederson
RF
Kepler
2B
Forsythe
SS
Adrianza C Grandal
C
Castro
RF
Puig
P
Santana (R)
P
Stewart (R)

One huge factor in this season’s success for the Dodgers has been Yasiel Puig‘s bounce back year. It was around this time last season that the drama magnet was demoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City, and many thought he would never play in a L.A. Dodgers uniform again. A year later, Puig has thrived out of the eighth spot in Dave Roberts‘ lineup and sparkled in right field with Gold Glove worthy defense. The Wild Horse is one home run shy of his career-high, has already tied a career-high 11 stolen bases and has lowered his strikeout percentage (18%) by two points over a year. So far in the series against Minnesota, Puig is 5-for-7 with two runs and a RBI and is sporting a new hairdo.

Stewart (0-0, 0.00, 2.53 FIP) will slot into the Dodgers rotation for now while Clayton Kershaw (back) and Brandon McCarthy (blister) are on the mend. Stewart has pitched 13 scoreless innings of relief in six appearances out of the bullpen this year. He’s struck out 10 while walking three and held opponents to a .122 batting average.

Brock Brock made three starts in Triple-A Oklahoma City this season, allowing three runs on nine hits in 8 1/3 innings. Last year the right-hander made five starts for the big club, finishing 2-2 with a 5.79 ERA and 5.90 FIP at the major-league level. Roberts said he will be on a 45-50 pitch limit, putting further strain on the Dodgers’ bullpen. The relief crew has already pitched eight innings of combined relief in the first two games of the series.

Trying to stave off the sweep, the Twins send veteran Ervin Santana (11-7, 3.26 ERA, 4.93 FIP) to the mound. He hasn’t pitched at Dodger Stadium in 10 years, the last time as an Angel. Overall he’s 5-4 with a 3.24 ERA against the Dodgers in his 13-year MLB career. Unlike the Dodgers’ starting pitchers not named Clayton, Santana has the ability to go deep into games and has already notched four complete games this season. However, Santana only lasted 3 1/3 innings in his last start against the Tigers, allowing five runs on seven hits in the loss. He’s struggled of late and has allowed 16 runs in his last 23 2/3 innings of work, serving up six home runs and walking 11 in that span.

——

The Twins’ powerhouse Miguel Sano is not in the lineup again (sore wrist). He did pinch-hit and struck out in Tuesday’s game, but it’s unclear whether he’ll be available tonight.

Probable pitching matchups for the weekend series against the Giants:

About Stacie Wheeler

Stacie Wheeler

Stacie Wheeler, born and raised in So Cal, has been writing about the Dodgers since 2010. She wrote daily as the Co-Editor of Lasorda’s Lair for five long years, and she has also written for Dodgers Nation and Dodger Blue 1958. She currently contributes to The Hardball Times. Stacie graduated from the University Of Southern California with a bachelor’s degree in Cinema-Television. You can also watch her videos on her YouTube channel, DishingUpTheDodgers.