by Rowan Kavner
Trevor Bauer said manager Dave Roberts made him a promise after replacing him following his six innings of work his last time out: In his next outing, he would get the chance to go the distance.
That moment arrived Thursday in Milwaukee. The Dodgers knew a bullpen game was on the horizon, and they needed length from their starter to begin the series. Bauer, despite not possessing his sharpest stuff and his body not feeling its best, battled through a season-low six strikeout effort to give the Dodgers the complete-game effort they craved.
“Unfortunately, it was an eight-inning variety, and not a win,” Bauer said after suffering his first loss of the year in a 2–1 defeat.
Roberts said the word “promise” might have been a little strong, noting his pledge would depend on the game situation. The way his starting pitcher competed, keeping the Dodgers within striking distance throughout the night — and with Bauer’s spot in the lineup never up in an opportune moment — he felt Bauer gave the Dodgers their best chance to win. Roberts let him throw a season-high 113 pitches in the Dodgers’ first complete game of the year.
“Credit to him,” Roberts said. “He held up his end of the deal.”
The Dodger offense did not reward his efforts.
Bauer only made one mistake, but with his offense unable to carry the momentum from a late-inning breakout the night prior, it was one mistake too many.
After two quick outs in the fourth inning, Bauer walked Avisail Garcia. He got down 2–0 to his next batter, Travis Shaw, before responding with two strikes. On the fifth pitch, he spun his first breaking ball of the at-bat.
Bauer wanted to keep the pitch away. Out of his hand, he thought it was a good curveball. But it caught too much of the plate, and Shaw sent it out for a two-run home run. It was one of two extra-base hits on the night, both of which belonged to Brewers batters.
Left-hander Eric Lauer, who had never lost in seven previous games against the Dodgers as a member of the Padres, made his first spot start of the year for the Brewers. The Dodgers again had no answer in five scoreless innings from Lauer, who lowered his career ERA against the Dodgers to 1.89.
“He’s got our number, I guess,” Roberts said.
The Dodgers outhit the Brewers 9–4 on the night, but they failed to string hits together. Most of the night, they failed to get the leadoff hitter aboard.
It seemed the eighth inning might be their chance once again, a night after plating six runs in the inning to end the homestand. Mookie Betts walked to start the frame on four pitches. Corey Seager swung at the first pitch he saw in the next at-bat, ripping a line drive up the middle. But shortstop Luis Urias was positioned perfectly to field the ball, flipping it to second baseman Kolten Wong, who turned a nifty double play.
“Corey’s an aggressive hitter,” Roberts said. “They were in the right spot. That could’ve easily went through the infield and been a first and third situation. He’s an MVP caliber player. I just don’t ever want him to be passive. I like him aggressive. It’s just unfortunate they made a great play.”
Justin Turner and Will Smith followed with singles, but a Max Muncy groundout ended the threat, compounding the bitterness of what could’ve been a difference-making inning.
The Dodgers would avoid a shutout defeat, striking in the ninth inning on an RBI single from Austin Barnes off closer Josh Hader. That gave Mookie Betts a chance to tie or take the lead with one swing, but a flyout to right field ended the night for a Dodger offense still looking to find its footing.
“You just understand that we’re taking good at-bats, we’re hitting balls hard,” Turner said. “Eventually they’ll get back to finding holes, and we’ll be able to pass the baton like we’re used to.”
- Before the game, the Dodgers placed Brusdar Graterol on the 10-day injured list with right forearm tightness and recalled pitcher Edwin Uceta. Roberts said said Graterol felt like he could go Wednesday but didn’t feel the same way Thursday, and he didn’t know much about the injury: “We want to make sure we take care of the player. If he feels like he can’t throw, just be proactive, put him on the IL”
Dodgers can’t back up Bauer’s complete-game effort in Milwaukee was originally published in Dodger Insider on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.