The Dodgers were cruising along in the fourth inning with a 3-0 lead over the Milwaukee Brewers in the opening game of their three game wild card playoff series on Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium. That 3-0 lead felt like a 10-0 lead at the time. That was until Orlando Arcia crushed a two-run home run off of Walker Buehler to cut the lead to 3-2. Then that 3-2 lead felt like the Dodgers were losing. That past Dodgers playoff dread came creeping back into all of our minds. Things were looking dicey.
But the Dodgers hung on. The bats didn’t do much after scoring three runs in the first two innings, but Corey Seager’s 447-foot solo home run to dead center field gave the boys in blue some breathing room. Julio Urias was the star, striking out five across three innings of scoreless relief. Blake Treinen and Kenley Jansen finished off the Milwaukee hitters to give the Dodgers a 1-0 series lead.
It’s important to understand just how much of a disadvantage the Brewers were at coming into this series. Their best starting pitcher Corbin Burnes is out with injury. Their best reliever Devon Williams is also not able to pitch due to an arm issue, and Ryan Braun had to be removed from the game because of an undisclosed injury. The Brewers are so thin, 31-year old middle reliever Brent Suter was thrust into a starting role. The Dodgers sent Walker Buehler on the mound, blisters and all.
NL Wild Card Series Game 1
Brewers 2 7 0
Dodgers 4 6 1
Dodgers lead series 1-0
Buehler looked good early on. He got through four innings, despite the ESPN broadcast constantly pointing out his gnarly looking blister on every closeup. Buehler struck out eight, and allowed two runs on three hits. He made 73 pitches but the Dodgers took him out after four frames.
The Dodgers jumped out to an early lead on a lead-off Mookie Betts double off of Braun’s glove in the first frame, and four walks in the inning. However they only scored two runs. They got one more in the bottom of the second on consecutive doubles from Betts and Taylor.
Again, the Dodgers were rolling until the top of the fourth. Daniel Vogelbach doubled, and then Arcia (who was a thorn in the Dodger’s side during the 2018 NLCS) crushed a two-run bomb to get Milwaukee back in the game. It sent Dodgers twitter into panic mode. I can’t say I blame them considering past results. Urias relieved Buehler and persevered through some trouble in the sixth.
Thankfully the Dodgers held on. Seager Donged a home run over the center field wall off of Freddy Peralta in the bottom of the seventh to give the boys in blue a huge insurance run. Blake Treinen tossed a scoreless top of the eighth and turned the ball over to Kenley in the top of the ninth with the Dodgers leading 4-2. After two quick outs, Kenley walked Jace Peterson to put the tying run at the plate. Kenley would bear down and strike out Christian Yelich to end the game. The Dodgers look to close out the series tomorrow night in game two. Clayton Kershaw takes the mound as the Brewers will send Brandon Woodruff to the mound hoping to extend the series. There’s nothing better than watching Kershaw finally excise some postseason series demons and clinch a series win for the Dodgers. Let’s hope he can do it. First pitch is at 7:08 PM PST.