Astros @ Dodgers August 5, 2018: Cole vs. Buehler

The Dodgers played the Astros last night, and it went poorly for the Dodgers. Today however, is a new day — meaning that the Dodgers haven’t lost to the Astros yet. They’ll have a tough task ahead of them, as the Astros send their second ace in Gerrit Cole. On the other hand, the Dodgers will send their own flamethrowing right-hander in Walker Buehler. The Dodgers will look to avoid being swept at home with a win today, and with a Diamondbacks loss — the two will be tied atop the NL West again.

Astros
Dodgers
1:10 PM
Los Angeles
CF
Springer
LF
Pederson
RF
Reddick
3B
Machado
SS
Bregman
C
Grandal
2B
Gonzalez
CF
Bellinger
1B
White
2B
Dozier
3B
Davis
1B
Muncy
C
Stassi SS Taylor
LF
Kemp
RF
Hernandez
P
Cole
(R)
P
Buehler
(R)

The Dodgers will go out with a very different lineup than yesterday, which featured right-handed batters at every starting position. That lineup was in an effort to combat Lance McCullers Jr. and his reverse platoon splits which worked poorly, as McCullers allowed just two hits in his four innings. Manny Machado, Brian Dozier, Chris Taylor, and Enrique Hernandez all start again today, with Dozier being the only one at the same position today. Justin Turner and Yasiel Puig get the day off presumably for rest, and Matt Kemp sits as he has just one hit in his last 39 plate appearances. Kemp also has an astonishingly low BABIP over this stretch (.040), but it probably doesn’t hurt to sit against one of the best right-handed starters in the game. Yasmani Grandal, Joc Pederson, Max Muncy, and Cody Bellinger are all back in the lineup today.

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There have been 141 starting pitchers to throw at least 60 innings this year. Buehler has thrown only 68 innings, compared to Cole (141.1), but Buehler matches up impressively against him regardless. This is slight cherrypicking, but excluding when Buehler returned from the DL out of the bullpen against the Cubs and gave up five runs in one inning, here’s how the two matchup:

Cole has had an incredibly strong first season with the Astros, forming the deadliest 1-2 tandem in the league with Justin Verlander. The two combine for 9.1 fWAR, ahead of Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber (8.7), and Jacob deGrom and Zack Wheeler (8.1 fWAR). Cole ranks out top-10 in almost every meaningful stat and he’s one of the elite pitchers in the game. He’s sitting at 194 strikeouts on the year, and unfortunately it’s very likely he becomes the fourth pitcher this year to reach 200. Buehler on the other hand has had a really strong rookie season, putting up very strong numbers in essentially ever category as well. Even factoring in his one relief dud, his peripherals are still really strong, and he’s primed for a strong final two months to the season. Perhaps the strangest but most welcome surprise is that Buehler has had a really strong stretch of elite command, with a measly six walks allowed in his last nine starts over 52 innings (2.9 BB%) while still striking out 51. He looks to build off a great performance against the Brewers where he allowed just five baserunners and one run over seven innings.

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In other news:

The Astros reinstated their new closer Roberto Osuna who was suspended 75 games for violating Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy. The Dodgers could get swept today and outscored by 20+ in this series alone, and I’d still be happier supporting the guys on this team as opposed to a guy like Osuna. If you’re not aware of the reason why everyone is up in arms about Houston trading for Osuna, check here, or here, or here, or here. It’s a bad look.

Strong agree with Dustin here, as Alex Verdugo deserves PT and if Puig or even Kemp is legitimately hurting, we have the depth to get them healthy.

——

First pitch is at 1:10 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.