Cubs @ Dodgers May 26, 2017: Wood vs. Arrieta

(Via)

Coming off of their series victory against the Cardinals, the Dodgers will now face another NL Central team. Alex Wood (1.88 ERA, 1.89 FIP, 1.023 WHIP) is set to make his second start of the season against the reigning World Champion Chicago Cubs, resurgent and currently in first place in their division.

Cubs
Dodgers
7:10 p.m.
Los Angeles
LF
Zobrist
3B
Forsythe
3B
Bryant
SS
Seager
1B
Rizzo
C
Grandal
CF
Happ
1B
González
C
Contreras
CF
Taylor
RF
Heyward
LF
Bellinger
2B
Báez 2B Utley
SS
Russell
RF
Puig
P
Arrieta (R)
P
Wood (L)

Wood’s first start of the season came at Wrigley Field on April 10. He allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits and five walks while striking out four in a game the Dodgers lost, 3-2. As Wood has gotten more and more stretched out, he’s looked better and better. In four May starts, he’s pitched 23.1 innings, and allowed just five runs (four earned). He’s also struck out 33 batters, versus just five walks issued.

We likely all remember what happened last time Jake Arrieta (4.80 ERA, 3.92 FIP, 1.401 WHIP) pitched at Dodger Stadium in the regular season. For those of you who have blocked it out, on August 30, 2015, Arrieta no-hit the Dodgers (although Enrique Hernandez reached on an error that was totally actually a hit, what no I’m not bitter). Arrieta was in the midst of an incredible run to close out the season, a run which ultimately earned him that year’s Cy Young Award over Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw.

Arrieta has since appeared at Dodger Stadium again, during the 2016 postseason. In Game 3 of last year’s National League Championship Series, Arrieta allowed four runs through five innings, giving up home runs to Yasmani Grandal (batting third tonight) and Justin Turner (sadly on the DL). The Dodgers ultimately won that game, 6-0.

Something changed for Arrieta at some point last season, and he has not been the same pitcher as he was during his remarkable 2015, or even at the start of 2016. As explained by Jeff Sullivan at FanGraphs, Arrieta’s ground ball rate is way down, and his fly ball rate is way up. This has resulted in him giving up considerably more home runs than in the past few seasons. He gave up a total of 16 home runs in 2016; through just two months of 2017, he’s already allowed eight. It should be noted, however, that Arrieta’s last start was one of his best of the season so far, as he allowed just one unearned run through six innings pitched.

——

We got updates on a whole bunch of injured Dodgers today. JT could be back very soon:

It could be a while until we see Rob Segedin again, though, who developed a new ailment in addition to the one that originally sidelined him:

Scott Kazmir‘s future remains uncertain:

Meanwhile, Brock Stewart‘s rehab appears to be coming along:

The Dodgers also made a couple of minor moves today:

Mike Freeman is a 29-year-old utility player who was selected by the Diamondbacks in the 11th round of the 2010 draft. He didn’t make his major league debut until 2016, and, through 58 career plate appearances for Arizona and Seattle, is batting a paltry .135/.224/.212. Per Minor League Ball:

A left-handed hitter listed at 6-1, 190, Freeman has been groomed as a utility man, seeing substantial playing time at second base, shortstop, and all three outfield positions during his career. Second base is the best fit but he is competent everywhere. Despite the three strikeouts in his first MLB game his reputation is as a contact hitter; he lacks over-the-fence power but has shown some gap pop at times. He runs well and is very adept at using his speed on the bases and in the field.

29-year-old righty Chris Heston was a Giants 12th-round draft pick in 2009, and he made his MLB debut for them in 2014. He pitched a full season for the Giants in 2015, and, on June 29, recorded a no hitter against the Mets in which he struck out 11 batters. Heston spent most of 2016 either in the minors or on the disabled list, and was traded to the Mariners that offseason. Despite putting up decent numbers in Triple-A (3.41 ERA in 31.2 IP, 28 K, 11 BB), the Mariners DFA’d him following a disastrous start. He is now going to Oklahoma City as additional pitching depth for the Dodgers.

About Sarah Wexler

Sarah Wexler
Sarah Wexler is a native Angeleno and longtime Dodger fan. She began blogging about baseball in 2012 on her Tumblr, New Grass On The Field, where she covered an array of topics but especially enjoyed exploring baseball history. She is now a reporter/producer for MLB.com. She earned her master's degree in Sports Management from Cal State Long Beach. She graduated from New York University in 2014 with a bachelor's in History and a minor in American Studies. She's an avid Springsteen fan, which is a big boost to her baseball writer cred.