Brewers @ Dodgers April 14, 2019: Dodgers try to avoid back to back sweeps

Photo: Stacie Wheeler

After another disappointing loss to the Brewers (10-5), the Dodgers (8-8) have now lost six straight games. They’re also three full games behind the Padres which is something. Hopefully, the team can manage to combine one game of solid offense and pitching, which they haven’t been able to do since the final game of the series against the Rockies. Last season, their longest losing streak was six, so it’d be great to avoid dropping seven straight. Ross Stripling will take the mound for the Dodgers against the Brewers’ Jhoulys Chacin.

Brewers
Dodgers
1:10 p.m.
Los Angeles
CF
Cain
LF
Pederson
RF
Yelich
SS
Seager
3B
Shaw
1B
Bellinger
C
Grandal
CF
Pollock
2B
Moustakas
3B
Muncy
1B
Aguilar
RF
Verdugo
LF
Gamel 2B Taylor
SS
Arcia
C
Barnes
P
Chacin (R)
P
Stripling (R)

The Dodgers are loading the lefties up against Chacin today, and understandably so. In 2018, Chacin allowed a .781 OPS vs. LHB compared to a .528 OPS against RHB. Justin Turner and Enrique Hernandez both get the day off to make that lineup adjustment happen. Chris Taylor gets his second start of the year at second base, and Alex Verdugo gets his sixth start in right field. As it stands right now, Verdugo has a 150 wRC+ compared to 54 for Taylor, but Taylor’s versatility is always going to keep him on the field. A.J. Pollock is struggling at the plate as of late, with a 16 wRC+ since the beginning of the Colorado series. He’s the everyday center fielder so he’ll be out there 95% of the time, but some production from him would be beneficial to the entire offense.

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Stripling is making his fourth start of the season, and it’s been a mixed bag for him so far. He’s sitting on a 3.78 ERA, accompanied with a 4.77 FIP. He’s coming off a five inning outing in St. Louis where he gave up four earned runs, allowing one homer and three walks. He’ll look to improve on that against a strong Brewers offense.

Just as something to monitor, Stripling’s velocity still remains down a few ticks from last season. FanGraphs has him averaging 90.3 MPH on his fastball in 2019, compared to 92.2 MPH last year, and Brooks Baseball has him similarly at 90.2 in 2019 and 92.3 last season. Losing velocity is always detrimental and it seems to directly correlate with success, which makes sense — see Clayton Kershaw for example. When everyone is healthy, Stripling can return to the bullpen and hopefully his stuff will play up a bit during shorter outings.

Chacin is a solid pitcher, and the Dodgers will need their offense to step up in order to get out of this funk. He’s off to a slow start, with a 4.24 ERA and 5.97 FIP through his first three starts. His most recent start against the Angels saw him give up three earned through 6.1 innings, including two homers while striking out only one. Chacin gave up eight earned runs over 4.1 innings against the Dodgers last year in the regular season, but the postseason was a different story. In Game 3 of the NLCS, he blanked the Dodgers over 5.1 innings, allowing only three hits on his way to the win. In Game 7, Chacin went only two innings, giving up a two-run homer to Cody Bellinger, which ultimately decided the series.

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Bellinger continues to rake, which has been the highlight from these last six losses.

Josh Sborz fits the typical reliever mold with two plus pitches in his slider and fastball. He’s on the 40-man roster, so it makes sense for him to come up and help the bullpen for the time being. Kershaw is back on Monday however, so Sborz might not be up for very long at all. He has the potential to be a high-end bullpen arm, so I’m hopeful we’ll be able to see him more this season.

This is a great read and perfectly encapsulates Yasiel Puig’s time as a Dodger.

Tiger Woods also won the Masters today, and it’s one of the best moments in recent sports history. If you care about golf, it’s pretty incredible — especially amidst a bad six-game losing streak.

First pitch is at 1:10 PT.

About Allan Yamashige

Allan Yamashige
Just a guy living in Thousand Oaks, CA who happens to love the Dodgers and statistics. Hated baseball practice as a kid, but writing about adults doing baseball is alright.