Milwaukee Brewers: Do the Dodgers have weaknesses?

Matthew Dewoskin
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 01: Jesus Aguilar #24 of the Milwaukee Brewers gestures to the Brewers dugout after hitting a double to right field during the third inning MLB game as Chris Taylor #3 of the Los Angeles Dodgers and second base umpire Pat Hoberg #31 look on at Dodger Stadium on August 1, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 01: Jesus Aguilar #24 of the Milwaukee Brewers gestures to the Brewers dugout after hitting a double to right field during the third inning MLB game as Chris Taylor #3 of the Los Angeles Dodgers and second base umpire Pat Hoberg #31 look on at Dodger Stadium on August 1, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images) /
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The Los Angeles Dodgers have a deep lineup, a quality rotation, and an impressive bullpen. It’s almost seems like they don’t have any weaknesses, but we’ve found a few for the Milwaukee Brewers to exploit.

The Los Angeles Dodgers won, 21-5(!), the last time they faced the Milwaukee Brewers. While the Dodgers are capable, the NLCS probably won’t feature a win quite that lopsided. In fact, the Dodgers have several key weaknesses that the Brewers can use to put the series in their favor.

Get lefties on the mound whenever possible

The Los Angeles Dodgers have a team OPS of almost .800 against right-handed pitchers. Against lefties? The team OPS falls to .733. That’s still quality, but it’s exploitable if Milwaukee Brewers managed Craig Counsell takes advantage.

Expect to see a lot of Dan Jennings, Xavier Cedeno, and Josh Hader in the late innings. It also makes sense for Gio Gonzalez to either start or eat up innings in relief.

The Brewers have to get to the Dodgers’ bullpen

The Los Angeles Dodgers have an impressive starting staff. Clayton Kershaw is slated for game one, and there’s a chance the Milwaukee Brewers will have to face him three times in a seven-game series. The Dodgers will have to go with Walker Buehler, Rich Hill, and Hyun-jin Ryu in some combination in the other games.

It’s crucial that the Milwaukee Brewers get into the Dodgers bullpen as soon as possible. The only Dodgers middle reliever that doesn’t carry a platoon split is Pedro Baez, and he’s as capable of blowing up as anyone. Pinch hitters will play a huge role in this series for the Brewers, and that means we’ll see Curtis Granderson, Domingo Santana, and Jonathan Schoop in the late innings.

The Brewers have to get ahead in the count

This is true for every series, but the Milwaukee Brewers offense needs to get ahead in the count in the NLCS to succeed.

The Los Angeles Dodgers own a 5.53 ERA, and a.284 batting average against when they fall behind in the count. When they’re ahead they’ve posted a 2.08 ERA with a .179 batting average against.

What’s the best inning to get on the scoreboard?

In 2018, the Los Angeles Dodgers seemed to struggle in the fifth inning. Dodgers pitching owned a league-best 2.76 ERA in the fourth inning. However, they posted a 3.92 ERA in the fifth inning. They suddenly go from a 2.76 ERA pitcher to a 3.92 ERA pitcher when the innings flip from the fourth to fifth? According to the numbers they do. It’s hardly predictive, but could be worth keeping an eye on? Maybe?

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The Los Angeles Dodgers have a stacked roster that’s going to present a huge challenge for the Milwaukee Brewers to overcome. But the Brewers have been overcoming the odds all year. The Dodgers have a few weaknesses, and the Brewers could swing the series if they’re able to take advantage.

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