Dodgers look to break slump vs. Brewers

MLB Baseball

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts is exercising patience with his struggling ballclub as a four-game series continues against the host Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday.

The Dodgers were held to two hits in a 3-1 loss on Friday and scored three runs or fewer for the seventh time in their past 11 games. Los Angeles has lost nine of its last 12 games and fallen out of first place in the National League West.

“It’s definitely not a lack of preparation, lack of focus, lack of talent,” Roberts said. “It’s just one of those things that we’re not consistently, as an offensive unit, in lockstep, and that happens at different parts of the season.”

Jackie Bradley Jr. belted the 100th homer of his career on Friday to lead the Brewers, who won the series opener 2-1 on Thursday.

Milwaukee is in the middle of a stretch of 17 games in 17 days and has 14 players on the injured list. Outfielder Christian Yelich (back) could return early next week.

Milwaukee starter Brandon Woodruff (2-0, 1.55 ERA) turned in another strong performance last Sunday, allowing two hits with eight strikeouts over six scoreless innings in a 6-0 win over the Chicago Cubs.

The 28-year-old right-hander has made four straight quality starts and owns a 0.72 ERA over that stretch. Woodruff owns a 9.39 ERA in two career games (one start) against the Dodgers.

Brewers closer Josh Hader might not be available Saturday after striking out the side in the ninth on Friday for his second save in as many days.

Los Angeles turns to Dustin May (1-1, 2.53 ERA), who yielded one run on two hits and struck out a career-best 10 over six innings in a no-decision against San Diego last Sunday. The 23-year-old right-hander has 32 strikeouts in his first four starts covering 21 1/3 innings.

May, who is making his first career appearance against the Brewers, boasts a dazzling array of pitches that includes a 100-mph sinker, a mid-90s cutter and a mid-80s curveball.

Dodgers star outfielder Mookie Betts is expected to return Saturday following a scheduled day off. Betts has seven hits in his last 36 at-bats with 11 strikeouts, but Roberts said Saturday’s break wasn’t a reaction to his current slump.

Los Angeles infielder Max Muncy went 0-for-3 on Friday and only has two hits since April 17. Roberts has been pleased with his patience at the plate, as Muncy has drawn 27 walks in his first 26 games.

The Brewers are looking for a spark from first baseman Daniel Vogelbach, who made his third consecutive start in place of slumping Keston Hiura on Friday.

Hiura began the season with an 0-for-20 skid and is batting .167 with 12 hits in 72 at-bats.

“Keston hasn’t got going,” manager Craig Counsell said. “Keston is still going to be involved in games with the four-man bench, but we’re just trying to get some offense in there right now with a guy (Vogelbach) who I think is swinging the bat pretty good, just not getting rewarded for it.”

–Field Level Media

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