Mookie Betts gave the Dodgers the quickest possible lead in a major league game, with a leadoff home run in the first inning. Los Angeles never looked back in a 6-2 win over the Brewers on Tuesday night in Milwaukee.
On the glass-half-empty side of this game, Noah Syndergaard left after a single inning due to a cut on his right index finger, turning this into a bullpen game for the Dodgers.
Punishing a familiar nemesis
Eric Lauer isn’t off to the hottest of starts. The left-hander entered the evening, with a 4.40 ERA over six starts, with a 1.533 WHIP, dealing with a significant dip in velocity compared with last season. Lauer’s four-seamer is averaging 90.7 MPH in this young season, after 93.3 mph last year;
However, as Dodgers fans know all too well, the left-hander has fared really well in his career against this lineup, entering Tuesday 7-1 with a 2.37 ERA over 11 starts.
On Tuesday though, led by Betts and Will Smith, the Dodgers turned the tables on Lauer, scoring four runs off the southpaw, whilst not allowing him to complete four full frames.
Betts took Lauer deep in the first, then it was Smith’s turn in the third inning.
Lead it off, Mookie! pic.twitter.com/KbOJ29oW7O— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) May 9, 2023
Watch it fly, Will. pic.twitter.com/lPmM513nIx— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) May 10, 2023
In between these two homers, Smith added a sac-fly in the first inning, and Miguel Rojas drove in James Outman with a run-scoring single in the second.
Providing a nice cushion, Miguel Vargas upped the Dodgers lead to 6-0 at the time, with a two-run shot off Brewers’ reliever, Bryse Wilson. Those extra runs came in handy when Shelby Miller allowed two solo home runs in the seventh, and the Brewers had runners on base over the final few innings.
On both the seventh and eighth inning, the Dodgers' offense had a chance to really blow this up, but Max Muncy, Betts, and Freddie Freeman failed to capitalize on bases-loaded situations, stranding all three runners in each of those innings.
No Syndergaard, bullpen gets the job done
After Syndergaard left, it was up to the bullpen to carry this one. To make Dave Roberts’ job easier, the Dodgers jumped to an early lead, up 4-0 after three, which allowed him to manage his ‘pen in a slightly more relaxed manner.
Other than the two solo shots allowed by Miller, the combo of Phil Bickford, Justin Bruihl, Yency Almonte, Victor González, Brusdar Graterol, and Evan Phillips for the final out, did more than solid work, covering eight frames with the lead never really threatened.
Home runs: Mookie Betts (7), Will Smith (5), Miguel Vargas (3); Rowdy Tellez (10), Victor Caratini (2)
WP — Justin Bruihl (1-0): 1⅔ IP, 2 strikeouts
LP — Eric Lauer (3-4): 3⅔ IP, 4 hits, 4 runs (3 earned), 2 walks, 4 strikeouts
SV — Evan Phillips (6): 1 up, 1 down
The Dodgers try for a series win and a 4-2 road trip on Wednesday morning (10:40 a.m. PT; SportsNet LA, MLB Network), with Clayton Kershaw on the mound against left-hander Wade Miley for Milwaukee.