Dodgers fans – stop me if you’ve heard – there’s a new sheriff in town. Over the All-Star break, the Dodgers began a new chapter in their storied lore by acquiring superstar Manny Machado. That chapter begins to be written with a three-game weekend set against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park.
Before Machado can begin his career at Chavez Ravine – and the stadium crew is probably preparing something special for Mannywood 2.0 – he gets a crack at a few lefties in a hitter’s haven.
You’ll always remember where you were when Machado played his first games in a Dodgers uniform. If that’s not reason enough to tune in, the Dodgers are protecting a half-game lead in the standings over the Arizona Diamondbacks. With just 66 games remaining on the schedule, every inning counts.
Here’s a primer for the weekend set against the Brewers, an exciting 55-43 team. Milwaukee trails the Chicago Cubs by three games in the National league central.
Friday, July 20th (8:10 PM ET): Rich Hill vs. Wade Miley
Hill has lowered his earned run average from 6.20 to 4.55 since returning from the disabled list. In his career at Miller Park, he’s been tough. He has a 1.76 ERA to go along with 17 strikeouts in 15 and 1/3 innings. Hill will be looking to pick up just his third win of the season on Friday night.
Opposing him is crafty veteran Wade Miley. This will be the fourth start of the season for Miley, who is 1-1 with a 2.38 ERA. And since we know you’re wondering, Machado is 3 for 9 lifetime off Miley with two walks. One of those hits was a home run. In a sentence that is sure to jinx, Miley has never struck out the Dodgers’ new slugger.
Saturday, July 21st (7:10 PM ET): Clayton Kershaw vs. Chase Anderson
The premiere pitching duel of the weekend is reserved for Saturday evening. Clayton Kershaw’s numbers on the season are very in line with his career norms, except for the fact he’s 3-4 on the season. Kershaw’s 78 strikeouts in 75 and 2/3 innings is what jumps out at me – he’s still more than effective – even if it doesn’t feel like he’s been dominant. Something else that jumps out at me? Kershaw is 4-0 lifetime at Miller Park in six career starts with a 1.39 ERA.
Chase Anderson was the Brewer’s Opening Day starting pitcher, and has a serviceable 3.78 ERA in a season that he’s 6-7. The problem for Anderson has been the gopher ball – he’s allowed a league-high 19 thus far in 2018. While he hasn’t faced the Dodgers in 2018, he’s 1-4 against them lifetime with a 5.44 ERA. This should be a game in which the Dodger offense looks to do some damage.
Sunday, July 22nd (2:10 PM ET): Alex Wood vs. Brent Suter
Alex Wood has been steady for the Dodgers of late – allowing three or less runs in his last seven starts. On the season he’s 5-5 with a 3.92 ERA. Since June 9th, he’s 4-1 with a 3.07 ERA, allowing just seven walks to 34 strikeouts in that span. He’s started just one game at Miller Park, but pitched well there in three overall appearances (allowing one run in nine innings).
Brent Suter is another left-handed starter the Dodgers will see this weekend, and his season record is 8-6. Ironically, the only Dodger he’s faced is Manny Machado. Machado is 0 for 3 against Suter with one strikeout. Suter has allowed 16 home runs this year in 17 starts. You can expect to see the ball flying on Sunday afternoon.
Dodgers Player To Watch
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) July 20, 2018
Who else would I put in this part of the column? Manny Machado makes his Dodgers debut this weekend, and all indications are he will play shortstop on Friday evening. Still, he gets a paint job with a brand new number. Nevertheless, the Dodgers drop one of the best offensive players in the game into an already phenomenal lineup. If you’re a baseball fan – this is must-see.
Brewers Player To Watch
Next: Jesús Aguilar’s 24 first-half home runs are already a career high. He’s also leading the National League in dingers, thanks to some massive bombs to left field. pic.twitter.com/Bf8CLpFRWN
— Post Graphics (@PostGraphics) July 17, 2018
The Brewers boast a great slugger of their own in Jesus Aguilar. Aguilar leads the National league with 24 home runs. The All-Star has caught my eye from afar for being an tremendous offensive player. He has 70 runs batted in to go with a .995 OPS and .621 slugging percentage. You’ll recognize him from the Home Run Derby where he had a first-round exit. Let’s hope he’s a little worn out from that event still.
This is one of those special series to not just be a Dodgers fan – but a baseball fan. The eyes of the entire sport will be on Los Angeles to see what Machado does, and we get a Clayton Kershaw start as a bonus. When you look at the field of teams in the National league, both of these teams will be fighting for a playoff spot until the end. It’s possible that this is a playoff series preview – and both of these teams need to find a way to take this series. The Dodgers typically travel to Miller Park for three games a year, and it’s a terrific venue to watch a game take place. Roof open or not, you can expect plenty of runs and excitement. That said, let’s hope that Bernie Brewer stays put at the top of that slide in left field.
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