TOP PLAY (WPA): On the second wild pitch of the fifth inning, Scooter Gennett advanced from third putting the Brewers up 2-0 (+.102 WPA).
The inning started with both Milwaukee and Los Angeles scoreless after four frames. On a 1-0 count, Jean Segura slapped a grounder up the middle for a single. In the next at-bat, Scooter Gennett took the count to two balls and two strikes. Dodgers pitcher, Mike Bolsinger had been struggling with the command on his curve all season. Gennett’s patience at the plate forced Bolsinger to rely on his slider as the next three pitches were all sliders that crossed the plate at 79 mph. On the third slider of the at-bat, Gennett was able to put the ball in play with a grounder that went into right field. Bolsinger’s first wild pitch of the inning advanced Gennett and Segura to second and third, respectively. However, it was on Bolsinger’s second wild pitch of the evening that put the Brewer’s ahead 2-0, after Segura had scored on the previous at-bat.
Bolsinger has been unable to develop a command of the strikezone, although that did not manifest itself tonight. Exacerbating his control issues is the fact that he is a predictable pitcher. Bolsinger throws his cutter and his curve almost exclusively. When neither pitch works for him, he relies on his low velocity slider — a slider that has the same velocity as his curve, so they almost become interchangeable. In the top of the fifth, out of seventeen pitches thrown by Bolsinger, eleven were curves. He abandoned his cutter after one went for a ball and Segura slapped the only other cut-fastball for a single. After watching two breaking balls land outside of the strikezone, Gennett took advantage of an errant breaking ball, placing the only two batters that would eventually score on base.
BOTTOM PLAY (WPA): Down 3-2, and with Ryan Braun as the tying run on second base, Adam Lind grounded out to short for the final out in the top of the eighth (-.080 WPA).
It was a rough night for Lind as he went 0-for-4 with one strikeout. It was an uncharacteristic night for Lind, who has been consistently good all season. It is unfortunate that in tonight’s game, his only plate appearance with a runner in scoring position resulted in a weak groundout. Despite grounding out three times tonight, Lind’s overall ground-ball per ball-in-play rate is on the decline.
Since June 10th, Lind has been hitting .300 in his last 100 at-bats, and that’s largely due to the fact that he’s hitting the ball on the ground less often. For a guy who isn’t fleet of foot, that represents an improved batted-ball profile.
In the top of the sixth, the Dodgers were able to get two men on board with only one out. The Brewers had just taken the lead in the previous inning. Jimmy Nelson was pitching a no-hitter heading into the bottom half of the sixth. With two on and one out, this was the first real threat posed by the Dodgers.
With a red-hot Justin Turner at the plate, Jimmy Nelson did a fantastic job alternating between his slider and his sinker. This season, Justin Turner is hitting .200 and slugging .233 against all the sliders he has faced. Even more startling is that his power is almost entirely sapped as his ISO against the slider is .033. Up until that point, the Dodgers top play was Howie Kendrick’s single (+.061 WPA) prior to Turner’s at-bat. Keeping Turner off balance at the plate ultimately led to the force out at first, which dismantled any potential rally (-.063 WPA).
TREND TO WATCH
A few weeks ago, our fearless leader, J.P. Breen, wrote about Jimmy Nelson’s struggles out of the stretch. Nelson was able to work his way out of a few jams during tonight’s game.
The first was in the bottom of the second. After walking Yasiel Puig and Yasmani Grandal, Nelson faced Alex Guerrero. Despite getting behind in the count, Nelson attacked Guerrero with his sinker. Guerrero eventually took the bait and grounded into an inning-ending double play. Then in the bottom of the fifth, Nelson got himself in trouble again. Grandal reached after being hit by a pitch and Puig would reach base, eventually reaching third. Nelson struck out Guerrero, again attacking him with his sinker, peppered with a couple of sliders. Sadly, Nelson saw the game slip from him after a throwing error that would have ended the inning instead kept it alive.
It was a thrill to see the young righty dominate a stacked lineup. Even when he was in trouble, Nelson coolly pitched his way out for the majority of the night. It was errant defense that failed him. That’s not to say that he is suddenly the savior of the rotation; however, it is a positive sign of what is possible with Nelson on the mound.
Taylor Jungmann takes the mound on Saturday at 9:10 PM CT. His 2.43 ERA does not lineup well with his 3.53 FIP and 3.16 DRA (Deserved Run Average). Keep in mind that this is Jungmann’s rookie season. While his ERA will not sparkle forever, the fact that his true skill level thus far is hovering just above a 3.00 DRA is promising.
Saturday’s start is against Brandon Beachy. He is making his first start after recovering from his second Tommy John surgery. As stated in previous recaps, Jungmann will have to watch his command as this Dodgers lineup is one that can easily punish pitching mistakes. The Brewers should find Saturday’s match-up favorable, provided they are able to score more than two runs.