Braves @ Dodgers July 23, 2017: Kershaw Tries To Salvage Split

Photo: Stacie Wheeler

Trying to earn a split in their four-game series against Atlanta, the Dodgers will be facing Sean Newcomb, a young left-hander with a strong scouting pedigree. Newcomb has been included in Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects list in each of the last three seasons after being drafted by the Angels in the first round in 2014. He is just seven starts into his big league career, in which he has just been okay. He leans heavily on his four-seam fastball, which averages about 94 but can touch 97. His primary off-speed pitch is a plus curveball, which sits around 80. He will also mix in sliders and changes, but neither more than about 10% of the time. Newcomb is coming off a stretch of three straight rough starts, in which he has allowed 16 runs in 12-2/3 innings, striking out 14 but walking 9.

Braves
Dodgers
1:10 p.m.
Los Angeles
CF
Inciarte
LF
Taylor
2B
Phillips
SS
Seager
3B
Freeman
3B
Turner
LF
Kemp
CB
Bellinger
RF
Markakis
2B
Forsythe
C
Flowers
RF
Hernandez
1B
Adams C Barnes
SS
Camargo
CF
Pederson
P
Newcomb (L)
P
Kershaw (L)

Facing Newcomb will be the Dodgers’ normal set of starters against southpaws, with one notable exception: Joc Pederson starting over Trayce Thompson. Even ignoring Thompson’s early-season call-up (which can be partially dismissed as still healing from his back injury), Thompson really does not look like a major-league quality hitter right now. Since his recall in late June, he’s hitting .147/.256/.353 in 39 plate appearances. It’s a small sample size with a .222 BABIP, but even after ignoring that he’s striking out in almost 40% of his plate appearances. Pederson is at least on par (and in my estimation better) on defense as well, so this seems like the right call, and hopefully it continues like this going forward. Still, sliding Enrique Hernandez over to center to get Yasiel Puig in against what should be his stronger platoon side would probably help as well. It’s a bit easier to understand resting Puig against a lefty when he has plus fastball velocity, at least.

Clayton Kershaw is going for the Dodgers in his 21st start of the season, which will match his total from last year. He hasn’t quite matched last year’s legendary production, but he’s still basically on pace to throw a Clayton Kershaw season. Coming into this start, his DRA- is 53, which matches what he produced in 2014 when he won the MVP award.

Justin Turner is playing today despite having bronchitis, which seems unnecessary.

Adrian Gonzalez is still working his way back, though it’s not immediately clear where he will play when he’s healthy. There are worse bench bat options to have, but even with Cody Bellinger slumping a bit it’s difficult to see how Gonzalez would figure into a starting role without another injury.

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.