MILWAUKEE — Roberto Hernandez has faced the Milwaukee Brewers twice already this season. When he starts for the Dodgers today, as is expected, it will be his third start in Miller Park this season. Yet it’s hard to know what to expect.
On April 9, Hernandez gave up seven hits and four runs (three earned) in five innings at Miller Park. Ryan Braun was in the lineup that day, which goes only a short way toward explaining the Brewers’ success. Braun’s only time on base against Hernandez was when he drew a walk in the first inning. Carlos Gomez, Jean Segura and Aramis Ramirez went a combined 6-for-9 with two doubles and a home run against Hernandez, who left with a no-decision.
Exactly three months later, on July 9, Hernandez made a brilliant start in Milwaukee. He allowed three singles and walked two batters in eight innings. Hernandez was efficient too, throwing just 84 pitches. Braun wasn’t in the lineup, but Gomez, Segura and Ramirez went a combined 1 for 11 against Hernandez.
Those are the only two starts Hernandez has made against Milwaukee in his career. What’s to make of this?
Well, much like the man he is replacing (Josh Beckett), Hernandez’s season has been extremely streaky.
Five starts into the season, including his April 9 start in Milwaukee, Hernandez had a 5.81 ERA.
In May, his ERA was 1.73.
Right now, he’s in the middle of a good streak. In his last four starts, Hernandez’s ERA is 1.88. Opponents are hitting .170 off him, buoyed by a ridiculously low .174 BABIP rate.
That’s only four starts, but we’re talking about a pitcher whose 2014 resume begs to broken down into small sample sizes. The Dodgers are hoping to ride Hernandez’s latest streak as long as it lasts. At the very least, that’s a more successful strategy than hoping to ride Beckett’s latest streak as long as it lasts.