Milwaukee Brewers vs. LA Dodgers: Series Preview


What a crazy weekend, hey? Our beloved Milwaukee Brewers finally took their first series of the season, defeating the Cubs in two out of three games behind some stellar peformances from the starting pitching. Things took an unexpected turn last night, however, as longtime manager Ron Roenicke was fired late last night and Craig Counsell signed a three year contract to take over as manager for the Brewers.

Counsell will have a tall task for his first series as Brewers’ manager, facing off against Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw,  and the Los Angeles Dodgers in a four game set at Miller Park. To preview the series, we got together digitally with our friends at Lasorda’s Lair, Fansided’s Los Angeles Dodgers blog.

Reviewing the Brew: With the recent injuries that LA has experienced, the back-end of the rotation has certainly become a question mark.  How do you see the team upgrading these spots throughout the year?

Lasorda’s Lair: I would imagine the brain trust will just continue to use whatever journeyman, a.k.a. spare parts they have lying around. It’s too early to make trades at this point, and I just don’t see them going all in for Cole Hamels.

So in the meantime they’ll use Carlos Frias, or guys like Mike Bolsinger. They still have Joe Weiland in the minors, they haven’t used him yet. Thankfully Hyun-jin Ryu should be back within a couple of weeks. I think they can manage until then.

RtB: Zack Greinke was a fan favorite throughout his time here. Has this start been his best with the Dodgers? Do you see him opting out of his contract after this season and again testing the waters of free agency?

LL: I guess you could say this is one of the best starts to the season for Greinke. But he’s good no matter what part of the season we are in. His strikeout to walk ratios this year have been amazing.

As for his opting out of his contract, I don’t know. Everyone is saying he’s going to opt out to go for more money. But if he stays with the Dodgers, he’s going to get 70 million dollars he’s owed. I do know (from interviews) that he loves pitching in Los Angeles, and is happy as a Dodger. I don’t think he would get more money from any other club. So I would put the odds of him opting out at 50/50. Who wouldn’t want to pitch for the Dodgers?

More from Reviewing the Brew

RtB: Injuries have hit some of the Dodgers counted on stars.  What is the timetable for superstar outfielder Yasiel Puig‘s return?

LL: Puig is about ready to go on a rehab assignment, and I think he’ll probably be returning after this current road trip. His hamstring pull isn’t as serious as everyone feared it would be. It was more of a minor pull.

RtB: Adrian Gonzalez has been outstanding so far this year. Though he has always been a star, what has helped him to take his game to a new level this year?

LL: I think for Gonzo, having better lineup protection and hitting third has definitely helped. Of course, Gonzo has always been a great hitter. He’s been batting third for most of the season, with Howie Kendrick hitting cleanup behind him. Kendrick has been terrific, and Gonzo seems to be getting a lot of good pitches to hit. A lot of opposing hurlers are throwing on the inside part of the plate this year. That’s Gonzo’s wheelhouse. Recently Mattingly swapped the two hitters, with Gonzo hitting cleanup now, and Kendrick hitting third. Of course this could mean more opposing clubs pitching around Gonzo, and going after guy like Yasmani Grandal, or  Juan Uribe, whoever is hitting fifth.

I guess the real stuff happened back in 2012 when Gonzo was first traded to the Dodgers. He was struggling to adjust going from Fenway Park to Dodger Stadium. One game the Dodgers were playing in Cincinnati, and Gonzo made an adjustment to his hands/wrists during batting practice. He hit two home runs in that game, and has been incredible ever since. If you notice, he has different swings, and does this thing (hitting mechanism) with his wrists before he swings. Regardless, Gonzo is a remarkable hitter

RtB: With the Brewers currently looking like they are in a rebuild and ready to deal the name Corey Seager is a popular name on Brewers’ wishlist.  What type of move would need to be made a team to pry him away from the Dodgers?

LL: Oh the Dodgers are not going to trade Corey Seager. Ever. He’s their shortstop of the future. I mean Rollins is 36 and not going to be around long. Seager was just promoted from AA to AAA because he was mashing AA pitching. He has a big frame that a lot of people compare to Cal Ripken, Jr. I don’t know, but I can’t wait to see him put on a Dodger uniform.I think it would take hell freezing over, or pigs flying for the Dodgers to deal him to anyone.

RtB: After a month the Dodgers currently sit atop the division.  What is the biggest key for them to remain on top all year?

LL: I think health is one of the biggest things of course. They have to keep everyone healthy. Another huge thing is for them to continue getting the strong relief pitching they’ve been getting. A huge surprise this year has been how well the bullpen has pitched. A lot of those guys are young guys, and have preformed very well. Especially because the rotation has been lackluster in the early going.

That’s how the Dodgers are winning games this year, strong offense and relief pitching. That’s really all you need. Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking you HAVE to have Cy Young award winners in the rotation. Of course it helps, but you can win many games with a good offense and bullpen. That’s what the Dodgers are doing this season.

The Brewers (7-18) will face off in game one against the Dodgers (16-8) tonight in Milwaukee at 6:20 PM, with Kyle Lohse (1-4, 7.28 ERA) facing off against Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw (1-2, 3.73 ERA). New manager Craig Counsell will look to capture his first victory tonight in his debut in the dugout, something the previous four Brewers’ managers (Roenicke, Macha, Sveum, Yost) have all failed to do.