Make that 10 straight for red-hot Dodgers: 'Just great baseball'

August 17th, 2023

LOS ANGELES -- Despite winning a franchise-record 111 games in 2022, the Dodgers came into this season with some question marks. Most wondered if this would be the year they finally loosened the tight grip they’ve had over the National League West for most of the last decade.

Fast forward four-and-a-half months into the ‘23 season and nothing has changed. The Dodgers are still a machine during the regular season and, once again, one of the best teams in the Majors. All they do during the summer is win baseball games.

With a 7-1 victory over the Brewers on Wednesday at Dodger Stadium, the Dodgers did what they do best and have now won a season-high 10 consecutive games. They also improved to 14-1 since the start of August.

“Just great baseball,” said Dodgers left-hander . “Defensively, guys are making plays all over the field. Offensively, a lot of hits with runners in scoring position. And then pitching-wise, I think everybody has stepped up in the rotation. … And you can’t discredit what the bullpen is doing. They’ve been unbelievable. It’s been awesome.”

During the current streak, the Dodgers have won in a multitude of ways. The starting pitching and bullpen have been terrific, a constant throughout the streak. That continued on Wednesday, as Kershaw made his second start since coming back from the injured list with a left shoulder injury, allowing just one run and striking out two over five innings of work.

“Well, I thought the last one was better than this one,” Kershaw said. “There were some good throws in there, but overall, it wasn’t pretty. Really, there’s not a lot to build on. Just pitch better next time and hopefully, go a little deeper and maybe get some ground balls and strikeouts and not so many lineouts.”

Kershaw only threw 71 pitches before L.A. turned to the bullpen. Finding ways to limit Kershaw’s workload is something the Dodgers will continue to do for the rest of the regular season. The club’s goal is to get the likely first-ballot Hall of Famer into October feeling healthy. It’s a luxury they can afford given their 10-game lead over the second-place Giants atop the NL West.

“I think to get him out of the game right there, maybe wanting for more and being able to go maybe another inning,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “I thought, given where we were at, it was the right decision and I feel good about him getting an extra day to make the next start in Cleveland. And [we’ll] go from there.”

At the plate, the Dodgers have also shown they can win a game by any means necessary. On Tuesday, it was the bottom of the order and the bench that took care of business. On Wednesday, it was the star power that wore down Milwaukee.

went 3-for-4 with a walk, scoring every time he reached base -- in large part because of what was able to do right behind him. That’s been a theme all season long for the Dodgers.

“You really need a couple guys atop the lineup to get teams rolling,” Betts said. “If it’s not me, it’s Freddie. If it’s not Freddie, it’s me. Sometimes, it’s both of us. I think we both take ownership of getting us going.”

Freeman, who had gone hitless in three consecutive games -- which feels like an eternity given the extraordinary season he’s having offensively -- went 2-for-5 with a single and a double, which extended his Major League lead to 44 two-baggers. Freeman set a career high with 47 doubles last season. At this pace, he could have a new career high by the end of the weekend.

Aside from Freeman and Betts, the Dodgers also got contributions from and , both of whom hit solo homers. It continues to be a team effort for the Dodgers, who’ve outscored opponents, 61-22, during the 10-game streak.

And they’re not showing any real signs of slowing down any time soon.

“They match up well against anybody,” said Brewers starter Wade Miley. “That’s a really good team over there. They’re getting healthy on the pitching side again. You have to play clean baseball to beat a team like that, and we just haven’t the last couple of days.”