Phillies @ Dodgers May 29, 2018: Arrieta vs. Maeda

Photo: Stacie Wheeler

After a surprising comeback win in the series opener against the Phillies (29-22), the Dodgers (25-28) look to continue their recent run of strong play. With a win tonight, they’ll be only two games below .500 for the first time since May 4, when they were (15-17). It’ll be a tough matchup, as Jake Arrieta (2.45 ERA/ 3.25 FIP/ 4.18 DRA) takes the mound against Kenta Maeda (3.38/2.60/1.60). Arrieta always seems to pitch very well against the Dodgers, with a 1.64 ERA, 2.51 FIP, and a batting average allowed of just .096 over 22 innings since 2015. He’s given up only seven hits, and four earned runs over those 22 innings, however five of the hits and all four earned runs came in 2017 when the Dodgers beat the Cubs 4-0. This should be fun.

Phillies
Dodgers
7:10 PM
Los Angeles
2B
Hernandez
1B
Muncy
3B
Florimon
3B
Turner
CF
Herrera
CF
Bellinger
1B
Santana
LF
Kemp
RF
Altherr
SS
Taylor
LF
Williams
RF
Puig
SS
Kingery 2B Forsythe
C
Alfaro
C
Barnes
P
Arrieta
(R)
P
Maeda
(R)

The Phillies put out a similar lineup as last night, except Rhys Hoskins is out of the lineup tonight, after fouling off a Kenley Jansen cutter into his own face. The Dodgers meanwhile, shift a handful of things around. Max Muncy is leading off, followed by Justin Turner in the two spot, with Cody Bellinger batting third. Austin Barnes gets the start tonight behind the plate. Matt Kemp who is the best player in the world bats cleanup.

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98 starting pitchers have logged at least 50 IP this season, and here’s how tonight’s starters rank among those:

The last time the Dodgers faced Arrieta was Game 4 of the 2017 NLCS, the only game of the series that the Cubs won. Arrieta went 6.2 innings, allowing only one run and striking out nine, exiting the field to a round of applause for what would be his final start of his five year stint with the Cubs. Arrieta has only a few statistical advantages over Maeda. His ERA is lower because of a drastically lower BABIP (.263 vs. .333) and an incredibly (likely unsustainably) low HR/FB rate. Arrieta is allowing home runs on just 4.9% of his fly balls allowed, which is the fifth lowest rate in the league. He’s coming off a career high 14.0% HR/FB rate, and his career average is 10.7%, so as that starts to regress, his ERA will closer match his peripherals. Also noteworthy is that Arrieta is currently running a 56.3% ground ball rate, the second highest rate in the league and the highest of his career. In his 2015 Cy Young campaign, he ran a 56.2% ground ball rate, so hopefully the Dodgers don’t look like they’re facing 2015 Arrieta.

Maeda on the other hand, has been elite in almost everything besides ERA, and WHIP. Both of those are correlated to the same thing to an extent, which is that batters are hitting .333 on balls in play against him, which is the seventh highest clip in the league. Over his career, Maeda has allowed roughly a .280 BABIP on average, and if he ran the same BABIP this year, his WHIP would be 1.11 instead of 1.24 which would be the 27th lowest in the league, and a career low for him. DRA, FIP, and SIERA all prefer Maeda in this matchup and profile him as one of the elite pitchers in the league. Over his last two starts, Maeda has allowed just eight baserunners over 14.2 scoreless innings. He’s struck out 20, while walking just four and allowing four hits, for a WHIP of 0.55, and a FIP of 1.21. That’ll play.

——

Brock Stewart as usual is being tugged around between OKC and LA. Nothing new here.

Just as things seem to be turning around for Kenley Jansen and the Dodgers, the baseball gods are trying to take that away from us.

First pitch is at 7:10 PT on SNLA.

About Allan Yamashige

Allan Yamashige
Just a guy living in Thousand Oaks, CA who happens to love the Dodgers and statistics. I'm currently studying at Moorpark Community College and plan on transferring into UC Santa Cruz's Business/Economics/Computer Science program. Hated baseball practice as a kid, but writing about adults doing baseball is alright.