On a season-best eight-game winning streak, while putting together a baseball-best 20-8 record in the second half, the Los Angeles Dodgers will increase the challenge starting Tuesday with a visit from the first-place Milwaukee Brewers.
Over the weekend, the Dodgers earned their first four-game sweep over the Colorado Rockies since 2016. They outscored the Rockies 20-6 and are generally delivering the kind of play they expected of themselves when spring training ended.
The offense remains relentless, while the pitching staff welcomed back Clayton Kershaw last week and has seen newcomer Lance Lynn shine over his first three outings. Tony Gonsolin and Julio Urias also pitched well in the series against Colorado.
Now comes another chance for hard-throwing right-hander Bobby Miller, one of four Dodgers rookies who have spent time in the rotation this season. Miller outlasted them all, even as Urias and Kershaw returned from injuries and Lynn was added.
Miller (6-2, 3.89 ERA) burst on the scene in late May with just two combined runs allowed over his first four starts. After hitting a snag with some struggles, he is starting to look more like the pitcher who was dominating into early June.
Miller, who has never faced the Brewers, enters off a start against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday when he went six scoreless innings despite walking four. He allowed four hits as Los Angeles pulled out a late 2-0 victory.
"It was probably for me, start to finish, his best outing," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Miller. "I just thought from pitch one, each pitch, each throw was for a purpose."
That could be as much of a late-season motivational ploy as anything, considering that Miller held the New York Yankees to one hit over six scoreless innings on June 4 and held the Philadelphia Phillies scoreless over six innings a week later.
The Brewers also will enter off a sweep, taking all three road games against the Chicago White Sox over the weekend. Milwaukee is on a four-game winning streak as right-hander Adrian Houser (4-3, 4.38) takes the mound Tuesday.
Houser has been spotty of late, giving up four runs in five innings of a no-decision against the Rockies on Wednesday after he held the Pittsburgh Pirates to one run over six innings of an Aug. 3 win. Prior to that, he gave up six runs in four innings to the Atlanta Braves.
In his only career appearance and start against the Dodgers, Houser allowed five runs over 2 1/3 innings of a 12-6 loss Aug. 24, 2022.
Houser will be backed by an offense that has averaged 6.5 runs over its last six games while going 5-1. The only loss in that stretch was in 10 innings to the Rockies.
"We've got two of the best teams in baseball on tap here," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "We've got our work cut out for us with two very tough road series. (Chicago was) a good way to start it out for sure."
Since joining the Brewers at the trade deadline, Carlos Santana has just five hits in 14 games but three of those hits are home runs. Milwaukee's Christian Yelich returns to his native Southern California with 16 home runs but none in 12 August games.
—Field Level Media