The Dodgers have been a streaky team to start 2019, and they came into today’s game on the upswing, riding a five-game winning streak.
While today’s contest was a close-fought affair, with pitching taking over for most of it, Enrique Hernandez broke it open in dramatic fashion against relief ace Josh Hader in the 8th and the pen hung on for a 5-3 victory over the Brewers.
Things did not start well for Ross Stripling, as he surrendered a ground-ball single to Lorenzo Cain and then immediately gave up a dong to Christian Yelich, allowing him to take the MLB-lead in homers over Cody Bellinger as well as putting the Dodgers down 2-0.
Thankfully, Stripling settled down in a big way. He allowed just two hits and three walks the rest of the way, striking out eight batters in 4.2 frames. Dodgers could do a lot worse for a guy who is essentially their #7 starter.
After a Bellinger infield single to start the 2nd, two strikeouts followed, but Alex Verdugo worked a 3-2 count and then served a double into the left-center field gap that scored Bellinger to make it 2-1.
The Dodgers then rallied again in the 3rd, loading the bases with one out behind walks from Stripling and Corey Seager, as well as a single from Justin Turner. Bellinger then tied the game by flying out to just short of the warning track in left, making it 2-2.
Things were mostly silent after that until the 7th, when they loaded the bases again with one out behind an Enrique walk, Chris Taylor single, and Seager walk. That brought up JT, who ended up striking out, though mainly due to being framed to hell and back by Yasmani Grandal, something he did all game long.
That unfortunately brought in Hader, who won a seven-pitch battle with Belly, getting a strikeout and escaping the jam.
But in the 8th, the Dodgers seemed to wear him down. AJ Pollock and David Freese both worked walks, and while he also struck out two, the pitch count was ratcheting up. On Hader’s 34th and final pitch, Enrique bombed an 0-2 fastball up in the zone over the left-field wall for a three-run homer to put the Dodgers up 5-2.
Seem like a rare occurrence? Well it definitely was.
Meanwhile, Scott Alexander took over for Stripling in the 5th and didn’t actually pitch that well. He got three outs without allowing a run, but did surrender two hits and a walk in his time. Dylan Floro got two outs, including a strikeout, but gave way to Pedro Baez after issuing a hit-by-pitch in the 7th. Baez got Yelich to actually make an out, and then followed by winning a nine-pitch battle with Mike Moustakas, striking him out.
Joe Kelly got the 8th for the Dodgers since Baez was pinch-hit for. The good news? He struck out the side. The bad news? He allowed a towering dong to Eric Thames. Hey, he lowered his ERA to 9.90 and his FIP is only 5.80.
Anyway, Kenley Jansen got the 9th, and thankfully he didn’t give up a run this time. He got a ground out, strikeout, and ground out for a 1-2-3 frame to end it.
Felt like a playoff game.
The Dodgers improve to 14-8 with the win and guarantee at least a series split on the road against a quality Brewers team. They’ll go for the series win tomorrow at 1:10 PM HST/4:10 PM PST/7:10 PM EST, and they’ll welcome back Hyun-Jin Ryu to the rotation, even if they don’t know who he’ll face.