Dodgers @ Braves July 28, 2018: Puig returns in Atlanta

With their win last night, the Dodgers clinched at worst a .500 roadtrip. This is good, considering the three teams they visited all sit in first or second place in their divisions. With two games remaining on their road trip, the Dodgers currently hold a 58-46 record and are 1.5 games ahead of the Diamondbacks.

Dodgers
Braves
4:10 PM
Atlanta
SS
Taylor
LF
Acuña
3B
Machado
2B
Culberson
LF
Kemp
1B
Freeman
CF
Hernández
RF
Markakis
1B
Bellinger
C
Flowers
2B
Forsythe
3B
Camargo
RF
Puig CF Inciarte
C Barnes
SS
Swanson
P
Wood
(L)
P
Fried
(L)

Alex Wood starts for the Dodgers today. He’ll be making his team-leading 21st start of the season, but a lack of excellence and an abundance of starters could mean Wood won’t be in the rotation for long. Wood has been mostly fine this season with a 3.87 ERA/3.48 FIP, but nothing about him is really sticking out. His 21.1 percent strikeout rate is the 50th-best out of 84 starters with over 100 innings pitched this season. Removing that innings requirement, Wood’s strikeout rate is worse than that of Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, Ross Stripling, Kenta Maeda, Walker Buehler and Hyun-Jin Ryu. Buehler is the only pitcher of the group with a worse ERA than Wood, but throwing him in the bullpen would be a terrible idea for development reasons. Wood has been consistent lately, going exactly six innings in each of his last four starts. He’s allowed nine runs in those four starts, but has struck out more than four batters only once in that span and has walked seven batters in his last three outings. Wood struggled in his start against the Braves at Dodger Stadium earlier this season, lasting 4 2/3 innings and allowing four runs (two unearned) and nine hits while striking out six.

Max Fried makes his eighth appearance/fourth start of the season today. He was activated from a rehab assignment today and hasn’t pitched in a Major League game since July 5th due to blisters. Fried lasted only three innings and allowed four runs in that start against Milwaukee, but in two rehab starts (one in Triple-A, one in Double-A), Fried allowed one hit and four walks in 11 1/3 innings while striking out 16. Baseball Savant lists three different types of fastballs for Fried (four-seam, cutter and a rarely-used sinker) all averaging around 92 MPH. His curveball averages 73.8 MPH, so the dropoff could keep hitters off balance.

Cody Bellinger is the only lefty in the lineup for the Dodgers today. Logan Forsythe gets the start at second and Austin Barnes starts behind the plate. Ozzie Albies sits in game three with Charlie Culberson starting at second. Tyler Flowers also starts behind the plate.

——

Yasiel Puig is back.

Of course, Alex Verdugo has been optioned to make room for Puig. Verdugo has looked much better in the Majors this year than he did last year, but with the surplus of outfield options for the Dodgers, it’s tough to get him enough reps. He’s better served playing every day in the Minors than being a spot starter in the Majors.

——

The Dodgers have been rumored to be interested in a not-relief pitcher.

Chris Archer is one of the bigger question marks in baseball. Is he the borderline ace that his peripherals have said he was for a few years? Or is he the 4.00+ ERA guy that he’s been the last three years? He’s probably somewhere in between, but I would love to make Archer puns so I’m pro trading for him.

——

A source tells me that Dennis Santana is back to throwing baseballs.

Santana tweeted earlier seemingly from Camelback Ranch that he’s back throwing. He was scratched minutes before his first Major League start on June 7th in Pittsburgh with lat soreness and ended up with a rotator cuff injury.

About Alex Campos

Alex Campos
I'm a writer that has blogged at a whole bunch of places about a whole bunch of sports. I was most recently writing for Chavez Ravine Fiends, but was also the former editor at Dodgers Way. I graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Marketing. At Long Beach, I covered the Dirtbags in the 2014 season as an assistant sports editor at the Daily 49er.