Dodgers look to finish sweep of Brewers (Jun 04, 2017)

BY AP • June 3, 2017

MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee Brewers have made a habit of scoring early and often this season, putting 52 first-inning runs on the board through their first 56 games this season and have held the lead in 47 of those contests.

But if they get on the board early and take a lead Sunday when they meet the Dodgers in the series finale of a three-game set at Miller Park, it will be hard to count out Los Angeles, which has made a habit of rallying late for victories.

The Dodgers have done it in each of their last two games at Milwaukee and have come-from-behind in 16 of their 35 victories this season.

"It's been incredible," said reliever Josh Fields, who put the Dodgers in a late hole by allowing back-to-back home runs Saturday, including a grand slam to Travis Shaw.

"It definitely softens the blow for someone like me, who struggled in the game today. Coming out with a team win today, ultimately, that's what we're all here to do. We all want to contribute to that but when we don't, having the rest of the team pick us up is tremendous."

Los Angeles will look to Kenta Maeda to finish off a sweep of the Brewers, optimistic that he's fully recovered from a strained hamstring that landed him on the disabled list last month. He's made three starts since returning May 25 but has yet to get past five innings in either of those outings, both of which came against the Cardinals.

Maeda got off to a rough start this season, posting an 8.05 ERA through his first four starts but spun three straight gems after that, going 2-0 with a 2.21 ERA before suffering his hamstring injury.

"I changed my mentality a little bit in terms of pitching," said Maeda, who is 1-0 with a 1.46 ERA in two previous starts against the Brewers and 1-0 with a 1.50 mark in his lone career appearance at Miller Park. "The biggest thing though was I started throwing my cutter more. It increased my weapons to attack hitters.

"I think I was relying too much on my four-seamer, throwing it hard and not focusing enough on getting hitters out quickly. I think, looking back, I'm now relying on moving the ball more and making sure I'm more efficient. ... I've come to realize I am not a power pitcher."

Milwaukee will try to salvage the series behind right-hander Zach Davies, who is coming off a no-decision in his last outing, Tuesday against the Mets. Davies gave up two runs on six hits over five innings in that contest and is 0-1 with a 5.56 ERA in two previous meetings with the Dodgers.

Despite dropping four of their last six contests, the Brewers will begin the day still leading the National League Central, with a game lead over the second-place and defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs.

Manager Craig Counsell has been encouraged by his team's play this season, the second in a full-scale rebuilding process under general manager David Stearns, but after being in a position to beat a playoff-contending squad only to come out with a loss in two straight games, Counsell is looking for some improvement.

"We've got to play better against these teams to beat them," he said. "That's the bottom line. We did some really good things, but to beat teams like this, we've got to do more."



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