Dodgers @ Brewers April 30, 2021: The Dodgers try to win a baseball game

The Dodgers (16-10) dropped another game last night, losing 2-1 against the Brewers (15-10) in the series opener. If you’ve followed Eric Lauer or the Dodgers over the last few years, you’d know that for whatever reason he just shuts down the Dodgers, and he continued that trend yesterday with five shutout innings. On a more surprising and possibly promising front, the team did manage to get three baserunners in the eighth and one run against reigning Rookie of the Year Devin Williams, and two baserunners against the monster closer that is Josh Hader in the ninth. Doesn’t make much sense at all. That game was likely the Dodgers biggest pitching advantage this series, although with Corbin Burnes scratched for Sunday, Julio Urias will likely be favored over the Brewers yet to be announced starter.

Anyways, today the Dodgers will have Edwin Uceta make his MLB debut as the first man out in a bullpen game, up against Freddy Peralta and the Brewers.

5:10 PM Milwaukee
CF Taylor 2B Wong (L)
SS Seager (L) 1B Vogelbach (L)
3B Turner C Narváez (L)
1B Muncy (L) RF García
C Smith 3B Shaw (L)
LF Pollock CF Bradley Jr. (L)
RF Beaty (L) SS Urías
2B Lux (L) LF McKinney (L)
P Uceta (R) P Peralta (R)

Mookie Betts will sit tonight as he’s been slumping in a major way, and just looks like he needs to take a game off for rest as well. Over his last 41 plate appearances he’s been slashing .194/.293/.278 for a .571 OPS and a 69 wRC+, striking out in 26.8% of those appearances, double his career rate of 13.1%. Superstars figure it out so he’ll be fine, but for now he sits out. Gavin Lux will start at second base against the right-handed Peralta, and Matt Beaty will start in right field as Betts is out. Beaty has been a stud in his last handful of games, it’s too small of a sample size to be worth anything, but he puts together competitive plate appearances which is considerably better than some other members of the offense right now. Also, Austin Barnes has a .533 on-base percentage in his last 15 plate appearances. So the current powerhouse combo is Beaty and Barnes.

The Brewers will run out an identical lineup as last night, with the only difference being Billy McKinney starting in left field over Tyrone Taylor. The Dodgers lost yesterday, but the Brewers’ offense managed next to nothing against Trevor Bauer besides the Travis Shaw home run. Outside of that they managed only three hits and two walks over eight innings – a total of two runs on four hits and two walks. The Dodgers on the other hand managed one run on nine hits and three walks. Awesome, that’s just great. If the game were to get double the baserunners, the Dodgers would’ve won that game. Unfortunately it’s about how many members of your team can you get to touch home plate, and they continue to be worse than the other teams they play at that.

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In 2019 as a 21 year-old, Uceta posted a 2.77 ERA, and a 1.28 WHIP over 123.1 innings pitched in A+ and AA with a 27.0% strikeout rate and 9.4% walk rate. He’s likely to only pitch one or two innings to open, with hopefully enough well rested relievers to cover the remainder of the innings. Bauer pitched an eight inning “complete game” loss which is a pretty significant contribution with a bullpen day today, earning all the relievers an extra day of rest. For a loss, that’s the best result you could ask for. Clayton Kershaw went seven innings in the Dodgers’ win on Wednesday, with Blake Treinen and Garrett Cleavinger pitching the remaining innings. The pen is as well rested as they can be for this game.

Peralta is making his fifth start of the season, and is being used predominantly as a starter for the first time since his rookie season in 2018. He’s been pretty stellar, posting a 2.45 ERA, 2.73 FIP, and a 1.18 WHIP. Great news for the Dodgers’ offense is that Peralta is leading the league in K/9 at 15.55, and is fourth in strikeout rate at 41.8%, trailing only Jacob deGrom (48.0%), Burnes (45.4%), and Gerrit Cole (42.0%). At the same time, he also features the sixth highest walk rate in the league at 14.3% — effectively wild.

Also not entirely important, but also not nothing — Peralta has faced the Cubs in three of his four starts, who offensively feature the 21st ranked wRC+ at 92, and the Pirates in his other start, with a 90 wRC+. The Dodgers also have a 80 wRC+ and a .613 OPS over the last twelve games which is awful. The team does however lead the league in walk rate at 12.0% which is the only reason they match up decently against Peralta. Much of that is thanks to Max Muncy who leads the league with a ridiculous 24.3% walk rate, featuring 26 of the Dodgers’ 125 walks. Unrelated, the team has also been hit by pitches a league leading 22 times, which kinda sucks.

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Having Joe Kelly back would be a huge boost to the Dodgers ailing bullpen. He’s a legit major league reliever and the team is running short on those.

The Dodgers’ rotation is ridiculously strong, so hopefully getting Kelly and Tony Gonsolin in the coming weeks will help out the bullpen.

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First pitch is at 5:10 PM PT on SNLA.

About Allan Yamashige

Just a guy living in Southern California, having a good time writing about baseball. Hated baseball practice as a kid, but writing about it rules. Thanks for reading!