Thursday night will feature a battle of first-place teams when the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers (12-8) travel to Miller Park to take on the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers (12-7). Both teams are coming off of successful series. The Dodgers just finished sweeping the Cincinnati Reds, finishing with a 3-2 win on Wednesday. The Brewers took two of three from divisional rival St. Louis, taking the first two before dropping Wednesday’s finale, 6-3.
This is the second series that these two have played this season, with the Brewers taking two of three in Los Angeles. On Thursday, the Dodgers will send lefty Julio Urias (0-1, 5.27 ERA) to take the mound against the Brewers’ righty Zach Davies (2-0, 1.53 ERA). First pitch for this one is scheduled for 8:10 pm ET.
The moneyline for Thursday’s game is set at the Los Angeles Dodgers -115 and the Milwaukee Brewers +105. The over/under for runs scored is set at 9.
Dodgers Look To Keep Hot Bats Going
While the Dodgers as a team have been playing good ball, one of the hottest hitters in baseball to start the season has been Cody Bellinger. Even after sitting out a day after being hit by a pitch, Bellinger is still hitting .429/.512/.900 with an OPS of 1.412. He has 9 home runs, 23 runs batted in, 23 runs scored, 3 stolen bases and has walked (11) more than he has struck out (9).
Throw on top of that good starts from Alex Verdugo (.372/.386/.698 with 3 home runs), Kike Hernandez (.300/.386/.567 with 4 home runs), Max Muncy (4 home runs, 12 runs batted in) and Joc Pederson (8 home runs, 14 runs batted in) and they can beat you with one swing of a bat throughout the lineup. That is not even to mention players like Corey Seager, Justin Turner, and AJ Pollock, who when they are at the top of their games are All-Star caliber players.
On the pitching side, the Dodgers will turn to Julio Urias in this one. In three starts, Urias is 0-1 with a 5.27 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and opponents are hitting .236 against him. In 13.2 innings, he has given up 13 hits, 8 earned runs, 2 home runs and has struck out 13 while walking 5.
In his career against some of the Brewers’ players, he has actually kept Christian Yelich hitless in 3 at-bats, but former teammate Yasmani Grandal has had success against him, going 2 for 3 with a home run and 3 runs batted in. Hernan Perez has also tagged him for a home run.
With the return of Rich Hill coming sooner than later, this may be the last turn for Urias in the rotation for a while, so the southpaw will look to go out on a high note.
Milwaukee Features Its Own Stellar Lineup
Christian Yelich has definitely been the Brewers’ version of Cody Bellinger this season. It has almost been silly how good he has been (if you don’t believe me, ask the Cardinals). To date, Yelich is hitting .356/.448/.781 with 9 home runs, 26 runs batted in and 18 runs scored. He has walked 12 times versus 14 strikeouts and has also added 3 home runs.
Throw in the likes of Yasmani Grandal (5 home runs), Lorenzo Cain (2 home runs, 14 runs scored), Mike Moustakas (6 home runs), Ryan Braun, Hernan Perez, Eric Thames and others, and the Brewers have as equally as scary of a lineup as the Dodgers.
On the pitching side, the Brewers will send Zach Davies to the mound. This season, Davies is 2-0 with a 1.53 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and opponents are hitting .258 against him in 3 starts. In 17.2 innings, he has allowed 17 hits, 3 earned runs, 2 home runs and has struck out 13 versus just 6 walks.
In his last start, a 4-1 win over the Dodgers in L.A., Davies went 7 innings, allowing 8 hits, 1 earned run, 0 walks and struck out 6. The only pitcher who might have had a better start than Davies thus far has been closer Josh Hader.
I would be remiss not to mention Hader because of how good he has been this season. In 7 games, he has pitched 10 innings, allowing just 1 earned run (0.90 ERA), has a 0.60 WHIP, is allowing opponents to hit .118 against him and has struck out 18. In those 7 games, he is a perfect 5 for 5 in saves.
Milwaukee Takes Home Opener
It is not too shocking to see these two atop many of the offensive categories with their explosive offenses. The Dodgers rank 2nd in home runs per game (1.95) while the Brewers rank 3rd (1.89), the Dodgers rank 2nd in runs per game (6.26) while the Brewers rank 10th (5.33), and the Dodgers rank 1st in batting average (.284) while the Brewers rank 9th (.266).
With both offenses so lethal, I have to look to the pitching for a factor. While Zach Davies may not be as good as his initial stats suggest, he has definitely been pitching better than Julio Urias as of late.
With that in mind, I think the Brewers get to Urias early, and in a battle of the bullpens late, I like Milwaukee’s chances, especially with Josh Hader lurking. It could be an offensive explosion either way, but for my money, I am taking the Brewers at +105.