D-backs @ Dodgers April 15, 2017: Jackie Robinson Day

Photo: Stacie Wheeler

Kenta Maeda has a difficult act to follow. The evening after Clayton Kershaw‘s gem, he will try to clinch a series win against the otherwise-surging Diamondbacks. Maeda has looked a little shaky in his first two starts, allowing seven runs in just ten combined innings of work. He is missing bats, but it hasn’t necessarily been transferring to strikeouts just yet. He’s also allowed homers in both of his starts, which will run up small sample ERAs and FIPs. It’s hard to diagnose any problems after two starts, especially since pitch tracking data is so weird right now (one of Maeda’s starts was removed from Brooks Baseball because the data was too weird, leaving us with just the Colorado start). Still, the Dodgers are still waiting for the command that made Maeda into a legitimate number three starter to make its first real appearance of the season.

D-backs
Dodgers
6:10 p.m.
Los Angeles
CF
 Hazelbaker
2B
Forsythe
RF
 Peralta
SS
Seager
1B
 Goldschmidt
3B
Turner
3B
Lamb
RF
Puig
2B
Drury
1B
Gonzalez
LF
 Descalso
CF
Thompson
SS
Ahmed LF Hernandez
C
Herrmann
C
Barnes
P
Corbin (L)
P
Maeda (R)

Facing the Dodgers is Patrick Corbin, who is unfortunately left-handed (and, as a side note, I still frequently confuse him for Trevor Cahill). Corbin has only allowed two runs in his first two starts, but like Maeda he has only made it through ten innings. Corbin’s peripherals are weird right now, as he has struck out and walked four batters in those combined starts. He hasn’t been missing many bats either.

As a result of the southpaw starter, Trayce Thompson is starting in center field today, with Enrique Hernandez in left. Joc Pederson is sitting, which is still incredibly annoying, because he makes up whatever’s missing with his bat (which probably isn’t even all that much compared to Hernandez) with a significant upgrade on defense.

Surprisingly on the young season, the Dodgers are “only” 19th in wRC+ against left-handed pitchers (they are first against right-handers). Still, the resulting batting line from non-pitchers is .218/.297/.331, which is not acceptable. Exasperating the problem is that they’re third in the league in plate appearances against left-handed pitchers entering tonight’s game. What’s worrying is that this isn’t really a BABIP problem, it’s a strikeout and power problem. It’s obviously still early in the season, and there is definitely room for positive regression, but this can’t just be hand-waved away as “bad luck on balls in play.” Still, as the Dodgers face more Patrick Corbins and fewer Jon Lesters, the overall line will probably improve.

—–

Today is April 15th, Jackie Robinson Day. Robinson debuted on this day in 1947, a momentous occasion in both baseball and world history. While I don’t have the profound words to give this day justice, I will say that it gives us an important reminder: we’re not done. Racism is not gone, in baseball and elsewhere. It’s obviously not as acute as it used to be, largely thanks to Robinson, but we must remember to keep fighting racism and bigotry.

It’s also on this day that Vin Scully’s absence in the booth is most felt. Listening to him tell the “let’s all wear 42” and ice skating stories is an annual tradition. Spectrum would do well to play a recording of those stories, even if it’s in place of narrating the action for an inning or two. Scully was on-hand for the dedication of a Jackie Robinson statue at Dodger Stadium today, but from a fan’s perspective I hope that we’re not done hearing from him today.

Speaking of the statue, here is the unveiling…

…and here is the statue itself.

About Daniel Brim

Daniel Brim

Daniel Brim grew up in the Los Angeles area but doesn’t live there anymore. He still watches the Dodgers and writes about them sometimes.