In a rematch of last year’s National League Championship Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers begin a four-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers Thursday in Milwaukee. The Dodgers are -120 favorites to start the series with a win.
Los Angeles is currently riding a four-game winning streak after sweeping the Reds in a three-game series earlier this week. That winning streak has taken them a half-game ahead of the Padres for the top spot in the NL West. However, the Dodgers are also less than a week removed from a six-game losing streak, so they have been up and down early in the year.
The Brewers, meanwhile, are also holding a half-game lead in the NL Central. The Brew Crew is coming off a loss Wednesday against the Cardinals. However, Milwaukee did take two out of three from St. Louis, just as they did against the Dodgers last weekend, so they’ve won four of their last six games after snapping a three-game skid last week.
The Only Exception
Milwaukee will send Zach Davies to the mound Thursday night. Starting pitching has been a terrible weakness for the Brewers early in the season, but Davies has been the exception to that. In his three starts, he’s 2-0 with a 1.53 ERA. That includes an outing against the Dodgers last week when he allowed just one run over seven innings, so he’s the perfect guy to help get the Brewers started off on the right foot in this series.
That being said, the Los Angeles lineup is never easy to face. Both Cody Bellinger and Joc Pederson are absolutely crushing the ball early in the season. Both have an OPS over 1.000 and have already combined for 17 home runs. The likes of Corey Seager and Alex Verdugo have also started to heat up over the last week, giving the Dodgers a parade of left-handed hitters who will be tough for Davies to handle. Bellinger, in particular, is 3 for 6 with a home run in his career against Davies.
Julio Urias, the 22-year-old southpaw, will get the ball for the Dodgers on Thursday. It’s been a struggle for Urias after he was outstanding during spring training and tossed five shutout innings in his first start of the season. He’s given up eight earned runs over his last 8.2 innings, including six runs (five earned) over five innings when he faced the Brewers in Los Angeles last weekend.
The young lefty has reverse splits this season, with left-handed hitters batting .333 against him compared to .189 by right-handed hitters. That could be problematic against Milwaukee’s lineup, which features left-handed hitters like reigning MVP Christian Yelich and Mike Moustakas, who have combined for 15 home runs this season. Former Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal is also swinging a hot bat heading into this series, so he’ll be someone to watch closely.
It’s a little puzzling to see the Brewers as underdogs at home. They have the better starting pitcher on the mound and are averaging close to six runs per game over their last six games. The Los Angeles offense gives them a chance, but there’s more upside to siding with Milwaukee. Bet on the Brewers to win this game as home underdogs.