The Dodgers were done in by one nightmare inning for their rookie pitcher.
Brock Stewart made his way through the ranks a lot more quickly than expected and made his major league debut today in Milwaukee. It really couldn’t have started off better, as Stewart struck out two and got a weak ground out in a 1-2-3 12 pitch first inning.
Unfortunately, Stewart’s second inning was basically the polar opposite. It started by Stewart getting BABIP’d to death, a kind welcome to the Dodgers moment for the 24-year-old.
Chris Carter singled with a broken bat right into the weak spot of a shift to lead off the second. Aaron Hill followed that up with a bloop single, and Yasiel Puig came in hot ready to gun Carter at third. He overran the ball to give Carter third anyways. The narrative police were ready to kill Puig for it, but after those two weak hits, Stewart got hit hard.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit a ball very hard for a three-run home run. It did not kill the rally, as after Stewart got a fly out, he gave up a single to the opposing pitcher, a single to Jonathan Villar and a walk to Scooter Gennett. Ryan Braun laced a double to the gap to make it 5-0, but Stewart finished out the inning.
Stewart finished five innings in 95 pitches and gave up the five runs and eight hits (six of those came in the second). He struck out seven and walked two, one intentionally. The second inning was a nightmare, but Stewart did a fine job biting the bullet and keeping the Dodgers from having to use the bullpen in the third inning. The Dodgers lost this game, but Stewart getting to five innings gives them a better-rested bullpen tomorrow.
To make matters worse, the offense was utterly useless once again. Corey Seager doubled in the first to extend his hitting streak to 12, but the Dodgers didn’t get another hit until the fifth. Puig led off with a single, but it was quickly erased with a double play.
Junior Guerra was excellent today, as he held the Dodgers to two hits and two walks through eight innings. He had allowed five runs in 5.1 innings against the Dodgers a few weeks ago at Dodger Stadium, so he obviously figured something out between then and now.
The five runs were more than enough for the Brewers to win, by Braun added a two-run homer in the seventh off Chris Hatcher. That was about as low-leverage as a situation as you could ask for, so while the homer didn’t mean anything, it did hurt the Dodgers bad. Puig went after the ball probably more than he should have and crashed into the right field wall. He stayed in and made a nice play to cut off a ball in the gap later in the inning, but after grounding out in the eighth, Puig pulled up lame and was removed from the game.
The Dodgers hardly had enough players to finish the game. Before the game, Enrique Hernandez was placed on the DL to make room for Stewart, putting the Dodgers down a bench player. Joc Pederson is still a DL candidate after hitting the wall hard in yesterday’s game, but he hasn’t been DL’d yet, so he’s technically still on the bench and roster, but wasn’t available for today’s game. Scott Van Slyke was forced into the game in the fourth inning after Adrian Gonzalez was ejected for arguing with the third base umpire (total ump show, but Gonzo should have never put himself in a position to get ejected with this short bench). When Puig left the game, Van Slyke went to right field, Justin Turner went to first and Chris Taylor entered the game at third. Yasmani Grandal was the only player on the bench not used.
The loss is whatever, but the injuries are piling up even more. Clayton Kershaw probably won’t start on Friday, so the Dodgers need to do something there. They could be down two outfielders with a third and fourth already on the DL, so while this one loss doesn’t mean a lot in the big picture, a shorthanded team moving forward towards the all star break is not ideal.
The Dodgers have a getaway game tomorrow at 11:10 AM PST. There will likely be moves coming, whether it’s more reinforcements from the minors or trades. Just get out of Milwaukee in one piece.