Brewers' Perez seizes opportunity to play on against Dodgers (Jun 03, 2017)
MILWAUKEE -- When the Milwaukee Brewers take on the Los Angeles Dodgers at Miller Park, it's a good bet that Hernan Perez will not only be in the lineup on Saturday afternoon but in left field filling in for injured Ryan Braun.
Perez, Milwaukee's super-utility man, has seen a bulk of the action in left with Braun out, despite the presence of a bumper crop of top prospects patrolling the outfield at Triple-A Colorado Springs.
And manager Craig Counsell doesn't expect that to change any time soon.
"I'll tell you, Hernan Perez has been one of the best outfielders in the big leagues this year," Counsell said. "So, defensively, I don't know if we can do better than that. I know there's the notion that he doesn't play in the outfield regularly, but he's been an outstanding defensive outfielder this year. Defensively, I think we'd have a hard time doing better than Hernan.
"I think offensively, we've put a mix of guys in there. ... Those guys are doing a pretty good job, so I'm very happy with where we're at."
Milwaukee, the NL Central leader, will be looking to regroup after striking out 26 times in a frustrating 12-inning loss to Los Angeles on Friday night.
To get back on track, the Brewers will turn right-hander Matt Garza, himself trying to snap a two-start losing streak -- his first two losses of the season.
He allowed four runs and seven hits while walking two and striking out four in 5 2/3 innings earlier this week against the Mets.
"I had that fifth inning when they kept finding holes," said Garza, 2-2 with a 3.98 ERA this season. "A couple of balls, they hit well. It's not like they were screaming liners; just enough to get over the infield. They pieced a few together and that was enough right there."
He has faced the Dodgers twice in his career, going 0-1 with three earned runs in 12 innings.
Los Angeles turns to left-hander Rich Hill, who had a victory his last time out by holding the St. Louis Cardinals to a run in five innings -- a bounce-back effort after from his previous outing, when he walked a career-high seven.
"It was just really staying over the rubber longer and getting the hand out of the glove," Hill said. "You saw what happened (today). It was much more crisp and clean. Two easy fixes."
He'll be making his seventh appearance -- sixth starts -- against Milwaukee, and has a 2-1 record and 3.86 ERA in those games but has faced just one member of the current Brewers roster -- utility man Nick Franklin.
Should Hill falter early, the Dodgers can take comfort turning the ball over to their bullpen, which had five shutout innings on Friday and leads the National League with a 2.61 ERA and 214 strikeouts.
"Our bullpen is pretty special," left-hander Clayton Kershaw said. "They throw that high fastball really well and guys don't know if it's a strike or not and feel like they have to swing, makes it really, really hard."
The Dodgers have won 12 of their last 16 games and will begin the day tied with the Colorado Rockies for first place atop the NL West.