No matter how good the Dodger lineup is now with Manny Machado in the fold and no matter how many runs they score it’s still going to be difficult for the Dodgers to win because of their mediocre bullpen. The Dodgers won on Friday evening handing the Milwaukee Brewers their seventh consecutive loss with a 6-4 win in the series opener, only doing it because they outscored their average middle relievers surviving a late inning scare. When a World Series caliber club deploys guys that were working at wallmart last week to pitch the seventh and eighth innings, then they probably need to get back on the trade market soon. I know I shouldn’t be complaining though. A win is a win is a win. On second thought, scratch my complaining guys. I am sorry. I just want the Dodgers to be perfect. That’s not asking too much right?
But all of that didn’t matter because the buzz was palpable. Tonight was the Dodger debut of Manny Machado. I’m sure that Manny Machado can breathe a sigh of relief now that the trade is finally completed and he is officially a Dodger. The rumors must have been excruciating for him over the last several weeks. The Dodgers announced Machado at a press conference this afternoon before the game and penciled him into the lineup at shortstop batting second. That moved Chris Taylor into left field with Enrique Hernandez playing center field.
"A new chapter as a Los Angeles Dodger begins tonight and I can't wait to get this thing going! To the Dodger faithful, I promise to give you everything I have and will try my best to not let you down! Let's go!!!!! #boysinblue." pic.twitter.com/vGkgMaa5sf
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) July 21, 2018
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) July 20, 2018
Machado did not disappoint as he reached base four times with two singles and two walks. The Dodgers got a quality start from Rich Hill who tossed six innings allowing one earned run on five hits and striking out nine. He also walked four but mostly looked strong pitching out of a couple of early jams to keep the Dodgers in the game. He picked up his third win of the season and it was well earned.
Dodgers 6 11 0
Brewers 4 9 1
Hill pitched around a jam in the bottom of the first when he stranded two, striking out Travis Shaw, and Tyler Saladino. He struck out the side in the bottom of the fourth and then prevented the Brewers from a big inning in the bottom of the fifth when he limited them to just a single run. Thanks to a great relay throw to the plate from Logan Forsythe and a heads up play from Hernandez. That inning began when many Pina singled and Keon Broxton walked. The Brewers committed a huge base running error after opposing starter Wade Miley’s single past the overshifted infield into center. That should have scored at least one, but Pina held up at third. Broxton thinking that Pina was going to score overran second base and was tagged out on a heads up play from the Dodger defense as Hernandez ran in from center field to tag him out.
There was another huge defensive play later in the inning. After Lorenzo Cain struck out, Christian Yelich’s double scored Pina, but Miley was thrown out at the plate on a terrific relay throw from Forysthe. The game was tied at 1-1. The Dodgers had taken a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning. Taylor doubled into the gap and Machado walked. After Max Muncy was hit by a pitch, there was a passed ball with Matt Kemp at-bat that let Taylor cross the plate to score the first run of the game.
Hill barely worked out of the bottom of the fifth inning and he had to do a similar tightrope in the bottom of the sixth, but he did it. The Dodgers put two runs on the board in the top of the seventh off of Milwaukee reliever Taylor Williams. Pinch-hitter Yasmani Grandal singled to open the frame, and pinch-hitter Chase Utley doubled into the gap, but Grandal was thrown out at the plate. After a review to check if he had an adequate base running lane to the plate the call was upheld. Utley wound up at third and then scored when Taylor lined a single into left which gave the Dodgers a 2-1 lead. Machado singled to center and then Muncy doubled to score Taylor and the Dodgers took a 3-1 lead.
Scott Alexander pitched a scoreless seventh inning and the Dodger bullpen looked to hold onto a two-run lead. With one out in the bottom of the eighth, Daniel Hudson couldn’t. The big man Jesus Aguilar smashed his 25th home run of the season. Luckily nobody was on base and the Dodgers were still leading 3-2. Zac Rosscup came into the game to get Shaw to fly out and Dylan Floro got the last out of the inning with the Dodgers still up by a run.
In the top of the ninth the Dodgers put the game on ice. With two outs, Muncy walked. Kemp singled and Hernandez smacked a three-run home run over the center field wall to put the Dodgers up by a 6-2 score. That was Hernandez’s seventeenth home run of the season.
Could the Dodgers hold on with a patchwork bullpen? Barely yes. With Floro still on the mound, Pina singled and pinch-hitter Brett Phillips walked. Kenley Jansen was brought into the game to clean up the mess and got Brad Miller to line out to first for the first out. After Cain struck out, Yelich (who is red-hot) tripled down the right field line to score two. The Dodgers lead was now cut to 6-4. Kenley recovered to whiff Aguilar for the final out. Dodgers win 6-4!
All in all a great game. Taylor, Machado, and Muncy each had two hits. The Dodgers scored six runs on eleven hits and were 3 for 8 with runners in scoring position. Jansen recorded his 28th save of the season and the Dodgers improved to 54-43, eleven games above .500. The series continues on Saturday night as Clayton Kershaw draws Chase Anderson with first pitch scheduled for 4:10 PM PST.