Dodgers Knock Out Brewers to Win Wild Card Series

The Dodgers’ Wild Card Series Win has them set to face the Division Rival Padres in the National League Division Series

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Enrique Medina/ El Paisano Media

The Dodgers were able to take care of business in the Wild Card Series thanks to the pitching performances of Walker Buehler in Game 1 and Clayton Kershaw in Game 2. First year Dodger Mookie Betts came up huge in the short two game series, hitting two doubles and driving in three RBI’s in the sweep.

The Dodgers completed their Wild Card Series sweep after defeating the Milwaukee Brewers 4-2 in Game 1 Wednesday and 3-0 in Game 2 on Thursday night. The Game 2 win officially punched the Dodgers ticket into the National League Division Series.

With the new playoff format, the Dodgers came into the Wild Card Series with home-field advantage, only needing to win  two games out of three to advance to the next round. This new format did bring the possibility of a potential upset with the series being first to two victories. This theme proved to be the case with the Astros defeating the Twins in their matchup in the AL. The same fate occurred with the Marlins defeating the Cubs in their first-round matchup.

Pitching Proves Key in Game 1

Even with this possibility, this theme did not present itself in the Dodgers/Brewers series. In Game 1, the Dodgers got a huge 4-2 win after being backed by four innings by starter and 2019 All-Star Walker Buehler. Buehler, 26, made only his second start since returning from the Injured List after dealing with a blister issue. He was able to punch out a stellar eight batters while only walking two, and kept runs at a minimum. The only offense off of Buehler the entire game was a two-run home run off the bat of Brewers shortstop Orlando Arcia. Arcia also homered off of Buehler in Game 3 of the NLCS back in 2018.

Buehler was backed by stellar relief appearances by Julio Urias, Blake Treinen, and Kenley Jansen in the win. Urias went three strong innings to back Buehler, throwing shutout ball and striking out five. He also only gave up three hits. Treinen worked a scoreless eighth, and then Jansen finished things off in the ninth, striking out 2018 NL MVP Christian Yelich to end Game 1.

As for the offense, they came out firing on all cylinders, scoring three runs in the first two innings off of Brewers opener Brent Suter. The offense went stagnant for the majority of the game afterwards; however, thanks to stellar pitching and Corey Seager’s 447 foot home run in the 7th, the Dodgers would go on to ice the game, earning a 4-2 Game 1 win.

Brewers Without Some of their Biggest Pieces

Prior to Game 1, one of the big issues lingering through the Brewers ball club was the depth in their starting pitching rotation and back end of their bullpen. Starter and Cy Young candidate Corbin Burnes was not healthy to pitch in the series, and Rookie of the Year candidate Devin Williams was not part of the Wild Card roster because of a shoulder issue. On top of this, the Brewers did not have starter Brandon Woodruff available to start until Game 2.

Pitchers Duel Early in Game 2

Game 2 saw the pitching matchup between the Brewers’ Woodruff against the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw. Through the first four innings, the game was an intense duel between Woodruff and Kershaw. Both pitchers would not allow any runs to score through the opening four innings.

Fifth Inning Changes the Complexion of Game 2

It was not until the fifth inning that the Dodgers struck first on the scoreboard. After a Will Smith strikeout, Cody Bellinger and Christ Taylor proceeded with back to back hits to put runners on first and second for A.J Pollock with one out.

This is when the key deciding moment occurred in the Dodgers’ favor. Pollock would proceed to ground a slow grounder to Brewers’ third baseman Luis Urias. The play was set for Urias to step on third and throw to first to complete an inning-ending double play. On the play, Urias stepped on third, but threw a one-hop bouncer to first baseman Jedd Gyorko, which he was not able to corral.
The play left Austin Barnes the opportunity to cash in with two outs, which he did. Barnes would provide a go-ahead single that put the Dodgers ahead. Mookie Betts followed Barnes with a pivotal two-run double that put the Dodgers up three, which would be all the run support Clayton Kershaw needed on the night.

Kershaw Domination

The upcoming Division Series will see Kershaw again on the hill at the Texas Rangers’ Globe Life Field, pitching only minutes away from the neighborhood he grew up in. Kershaw last faced the Padres in a September 14 loss. (Enrique Medina/ El Paisano Media)

Kershaw was spectacular on the night as he arguably put up the best postseason start of his career. On the night, Kershaw would tally a postseason career-high 13 strikeouts.  On top of that, Kershaw only allowed one walk in eight innings of shutout ball. That would be more than enough as Brusdar Graterol came in for the save. Graterol would officially shut the door on the Brewers season, opening the door for the Dodgers’ date in the NLDS.

The Next Step

The Dodgers will face the San Diego Padres in Game 1 of the National League Division Series at Globe Life Field. This comes on the heels of the Padres defeating the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 3 of their Wild Card Series last Friday.

The upcoming series may  be the Dodgers’ toughest one to date. The Dodgers wound up winning six of ten vs the Padres on the year. The Padres were a team that gave the boys in blue a lot of trouble this season up to date. The Padres have the team to compete with the Dodgers. The series will put superstars Mookie Betts, Fernando Tatis Jr, Manny Machado, Clayton Kershaw and others up against each other for a chance to compete in the National League Championship Series.

Game 1 will take place today at 6:38 PST on FS1.

 

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