Los Angeles Dodgers (9-1) at Milwaukee Brewers
5:10 PM PST, April 18, 2012
Miller Park Milwaukee, Wisconsin
TV: Prime Ticket
Radio: 570 AM (English), 1020 AM (Spanish)
Weather: 62 degrees, light showers
It’s never ideal to have a back-end starter going up against a front-end starter, but in this case the Dodgers will have to make due. While L.A. will send Chris Capuano to the mound for his third start of the season, the Brewers will start Zack Grienke, the 2009 A.L. Cy Young Award winner. While 2009 seems like an eternity ago, Grienke’s numbers have remained extremely strong during his time in Milwaukee.
Being that the Brewers pose the first real test of the 2012 season for the Dodgers, it is important to prove both to the world and to themselves that they can compete against playoff-caliber teams like the Brewers, especially on the road.
- The Brewers beat the Dodgers in four of their six meetings last season, but none of the six matchups featured more than six total runs, despite the presence of Matt Kemp, Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder and Andre Ethier among others.
- In two starts against the Brewers last season, Chris Capuano had very different experiences. In his first outing, he pitched six strong innings, allowing just one run while striking out 6 in a 2-1 victory. In his second start, however, he gave up seven runs (five earned) in 5.2 innings as his team lost 11-9.
- In his one start against the Dodgers last season, Zack Grienke outdueled Nathan Eovaldi, allowing just five hits and one run in seven innings as the Brewers beat the Dodgers 2-1.
Keys to a Dodger Victory:
– Keep Aramis quiet
Aramis Ramirez was brought in to help lessen the blow of losing Prince Fielder, but the powerful third baseman has struggled mightily. Through 35 at bats coming into the season, Ramirez had just four hits – good for a .114 average and zero homeruns. While Corey Hart has provided a big bat behind Braun, keeping Ramirez quiet will be critical for the Dodgers.
– Get to Greinke early
Through two outings this season, Zack Greinke has played Jekyll and Hyde. In start number one, the Cubs rattled him for eight earned runs in 3.2 innings, but in start number two he held the Cardinals to just four hits and no runs in seven innings while striking out seven. The difference? The Cubs were able to get on base early in the game.
In the first four innings against St. Louis, Greinke allowed just one hit. In the third inning alone, the Cubs were able to rattle Greinke with seven hits – six of which were singles. If the Dodgers can get on base early and often, even if they aren’t hitting for power, they’ve got a chance to rattle Greinke and score some runs.
– Continue to produce
While the spotlight has been on Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier thus far this season, the Dodgers’ real success can be attributed mostly to other players throughout the lineup. Juan Rivera has quietly batted .290 with six RBIs, Dee Gordon has two game-winning hits, and AJ Ellis and Mark Ellis have amassed on-base percentages of .419 and .366 respectively. For the Dodgers to continue to build upon their hot start, they’re going to need continued production from the rest of the lineup.
Best-Case Prediction: Dodgers 4, Brewers 3
Worst-Case: Brewers 8, Dodgers 2