By Jon Weisman
Maybe Brock Stewart didn’t deserve better in his MLB debut tonight.
He did allow Kirk Nieuwenhuis’ no-doubt, three-run homer that put the Brewers ahead for good in a 7-0 victory over the Dodgers. And there were a couple of hard outs, including a 97-mph liner by Scooter Gennett that turned into an inning-ending double play.
On the other hand, after a three-batter, two-strikeout first inning, the two hits (right) that preceded Nieuwenhuis’ blast barely would have traveled hole-to-hole on a putt-putt course. More importantly, after taking his licks in a five-run inning, Stewart showed a level of competitiveness and resiliency that spoke loudly for him, even if it won’t be much comfort in tonight’s update of the standings.
Despite allowing eight hits and two walks (one intentional), the 24-year-old finished with seven strikeouts, more than all but three pitchers making their debuts in Los Angeles Dodger history. Reaching 95 pitches in his fifth and final inning, Stewart wiped out Ryan Braun, Jonathan Lucroy and Chris Carter in a row, with a particularly nasty changeup felling Lucroy for strike three.
Given that the Dodgers were shut out (for the fourth time in 80 games) and held to four baserunners, Stewart’s in-game progress is probably the best thing to focus on.
Already beginning the game with Joc Pederson unavailable because of Tuesday’s shoulder injury, the Dodgers lost Adrian Gonzalez to a quiet but quite firm fourth-inning ejection over balls and strikes, and Yasiel Puig left the game early following a collision with the outfield fence in the seventh.