The Dodgers secured another series win with a 7-1 win over the Brewers on Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium, extending their perfect week and a half to 10 straight wins.
Clayton Kershaw wasn’t brilliant, but in typical Kershaw fashion pitched what for most starters out there would be a pretty good outing, holding the Brewers to a single run across five innings.
Dodgers first baseman and MVP candidate Freddie Freeman was hitless in three straight games before this Wednesday’s matchup against the Brew Crew. Stuff like that is common within the season, and even the month of most big leaguers, but for Freeman these days, it felt like a major slump. And being the stud that he is, Freeman made up for all of it with one big day.
Besides making a couple of above-average plays at first base in an outing in which Kershaw needed to rely on his defense more than usual, Freeman led the charge with his bat.
The Dodgers’ first baseman reached base safely on three of his first four at-bats with a couple of two-baggers, further increasing his major league lead with 45 doubles.
That performance allowed Mookie Betts to come across to score on four different occasions, as it was primarily the top of the order doing damage tonight, even though the two homers came from Miguel Rojas and Chris Taylor.
Betts, Freeman, and Will Smith combined combined for nine hits.
Putting up runs in five of the game’s first seven innings, the Dodgers once again severely outhit the Brewers, 11 to 3, and played their way into a stress-free victory, which in part allowed Dave Roberts to be even more cautious with Kershaw’s workload.
At first glance, even though Milwaukee only scored once, it is easy to see that Kershaw didn’t have his best stuff, as the left-hander allowed the same number of walks as strikeouts he earned, with two of each.
Beyond that, the defense as a whole made some good plays to keep three of his final four hard-hit balls allowed, to turn into outs, including a Christian Yelich line drive which left the bat at above 110+ MPH.
Ultimately with a decent lead, even though Dave Roberts announced the plan was for Kershaw to go somewhere in the vicinity of 80 to 90 pitches, the Dodgers’ starter got an early hook.
Leading 4-1, Roberts went to the bullpen to start the fifth, removing Kershaw after 71 pitches and five full frames, handing the ball to Brusdar Graterol.
Called up from Triple-A on Tuesday, former Rule 5 casualty Gus Varland ended up making his Dodgers debut, pitching a couple of scoreless frames to close out the win, with three strikeouts.
Home runs: Miguel Rojas (3), Chris Taylor (13); Mark Canha (7)
WP — Clayton Kershaw (11-4): 5 IP, 3 hits, 1 run, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts
LP — Wade Miley (6-3): 5 IP, 7 hits, 4 runs (3 earned), 2 walks, 2 strikeouts
The Dodgers finish off the series on Thursday night (7:10 p.m.; SportsNet LA, MLB Network) with veteran Lance Lynn taking on the mound opposing 2021 National League Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes.