An hour before the first pitch, one of the hosts of the game at Dodger Stadium described the Wednesday night game between the Dodgers and Milwaukee Brewers as a “Game 7.”
In a sense, it was… more or less.
Coming into Wednesday, the Dodgers and Brewers split the first six games of their season — each taking two during a four-game set in Milwaukee last week, then trading wins in the first two games of this week’s rematch in Los Angeles.
“For me, it’s a little bit of playoff prep,” shortstop Trea Turner said of recent clashes with the Brewers.
And in Wednesday’s series finale, the Brewers got a chance to join what has been an exclusive club this season – when only two other teams played multiple series against the Dodgers and won more games than they lost.
Unfortunately, the Dodgers instead won the fashionable rubber match, defeating the Brewers in a 12-6 victory in front of 47,216 at Dodger Stadium.
After briefly losing at the top of the first on a solo home run by Willy Adames, the Dodgers scored four runs at the bottom of the inning, in which they sent nine hitters to the plate and forced Brewers starter Adrian Houser to throw 39 pitches. .
In the third, they nullified another Brewers run in the top half of the inning on an Austin Barnes RBI grounder.
Then, in the fourth, they parted for good, receiving a sacrificial fly from Max Muncy, a two-run double from Joey Gallo, and a single RBI from Barnes.
By the time the night was over – the Dodgers got another flight from Muncy in fifth and a two-run homer in sixth from Barnes, which ended up with four RBIs – the Dodgers had recorded double-digit runs in back-to-play games for the first time. since September 2018.
They also have a winning record this season against 10 of 14 other clubs in the National League – they’ve only lost season series to the Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates, shared six games with the Washington Nationals and have yet to settle their showdown with New York. Mets in Queens next week — and an eight-game lead for the league’s best playoff seed.
Is it all starting to look a little too easy?
“Sometimes it feels like that,” said Turner, one of five Dodgers with two hits on Wednesday. “But when you think like that, you get spanked the next day.
“I think we do a good job of just focusing on what’s in front of us,” Turner added. “I know it sucks, but I think that’s why we’re in the situation we’re in.”
The best part of the Dodgers’ (86-37) performance on Wednesday may not have been their offense either.
On the mound, southpaw Andrew Heaney had one of his best starts of the year, completing six innings for the second time while throwing 91 shots, a season record.
“Feeling better,” said Heaney, who played five straight games this month after spending much of the first half of the year on the injured list with shoulder problems. “Trying to get deeper into the games, to be a little more efficient on the field.”
That’s what Heaney did on Wednesday, limiting the Brewers (65-58) to just one more run, a Hunter Renfroe RBI doubling in the third, while knocking out 10 batters for the second straight game.
Heaney has 62 strikeouts in 41 2/3 innings this year, to go along with an ERA of 1.94.
“I think we’ve done a pretty good job of building it up progressively, and not too quickly,” said manager Dave Roberts.
“He’s a big part of what we’re trying to do here this year.”
Rehabilitation updates on pitchers
For months, the Dodgers have wondered how many of their injured pitchers would be healthy in time to help out in the playoffs.
Now the issue is shifting, with the concern less about health and more about how well your crop of relievers will be playing when the postseason begins.
“It’s a kind of, [are they] quite healthy and also [are we] feeling confident in the performance?” said manager Dave Roberts.
The Dodgers currently have four outside pitchers on minor-league rehab assignments: Blake Treinen, Victor González and Tommy Kahnle in Oklahoma City triple-A; and Danny Duffy in the Arizona Complex League.
Starter Clayton Kershaw and reliever Yency Almonte are also on the injured list, but are expected to return in the coming weeks.
The four rehab relievers have lost significant time – if not the entire season so far.
At this stage, though, Roberts said the Dodgers are “pretty sure that with the calendar, we can get them all healthy.”
The bigger question is increasingly becoming whether, after losing so much time, these pitchers will rediscover the kind of form that would guarantee a spot on the club’s postseason roster.
“That takes some time,” Roberts said. “But these guys are easy to bet.”
Lux gets left out again
Gavin Lux missed a second straight game with neck/upper back discomfort, but said he could still return to the lineup as soon as Friday or Saturday.
This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.