Padres @ Dodgers September 21, 2018: Lauer vs. Stripling

(Via)

After a crucial sweep against Colorado, the Dodgers hold a 2.5 game lead in the NL West. They’re currently winners of 19 of their last 30 games (.633), and it’s looking more and more likely they reach the postseason for the sixth year in a row. They start the three game series against the Padres (61-92) with Ross Stripling taking the hill against rookie lefty Eric Lauer. Initially Rich Hill was slated to start, but if Hill is pushed back one day he gets to skip pitching against the Diamondbacks next week. This is noteworthy because Hill has a 9.64 ERA against Arizona this season, allowing 15 runs in 14 innings with a 1.061 OPS allowed. Outside of those starts, he has a 3.27 ERA allowing just a .674 OPS. To further increase their playoff odds, they need to take advantage of being able to play teams like the Padres.

Padres
Dodgers
7:10 PM
Los Angeles
3B
Myers
CF
Hernandez
RF
Reyes
3B
Turner
1B
Hosmer
SS
Machado
LF
Renfroe
1B
Freese
C
Mejia
LF
Kemp
2B
Spangenberg
RF
Puig
SS
Galvis C Grandal
CF
Margot
2B
Dozier
P
Lauer (R)
P
Stripling (R)

Lauer doesn’t really feature any splits, but because most Dodger left-handed batters tend to struggle against left-handed pitching they’ll roll with the right-handed heavy lineup. Yasmani Grandal is the only “left-handed” batter in the starting lineup just because he’s better from the left side, but obviously he’ll bat right-handed. Grandal has a 126 wRC+ against right-handed pitching and a 101 against left-handed, but Austin Barnes has a 70 wRC+ overall so there really isn’t another option.

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There are 126 starters who’ve logged at least 100 innings, and here’s how Stripling and Lauer matchup:

*These don’t include Stripling’s 15 innings in relief.

Stripling has gone 3.1 innings in each of his last two starts since his return from the DL. He threw 51 pitches in his first start and 72 in his most recent. He’s allowed four earned runs over those 6.2 innings, but his strikeout rate and walk rate seem to be where they were before he went on the DL which is nice to see. He’s allowed a .256 average this year which is actually 88th in the league —— relatively surprising for a pitcher as successful as Stripling. Part of the reason he’s been so successful is his improvement in generating strikeouts. The other is being able to limit his walks. Stripling has walked only 12 batters as a starter with 113 strikeouts. That’s how he’s able to keep his WHIP so low and limit damage. Hits happen, and it’s tough with so many great hitters in the league, but walks are relatively controllable and one of the most important assets a pitcher can have. Allowing free baserunners is a recipe for disaster.

Lauer the 23 year-old left hander has a chance to be a decent rotation piece someday, but he hasn’t been good in his rookie season. That’s totally normal and he’ll likely improve moving forward, but today that just means the Dodger batters should be ready to take advantage. Lauer allows a .288 batting average which is the fifth highest mark in the league, however he has been better as of late. He’s allowed just a .669 OPS in the second half compared to .853 in the first half. Still, over that stretch he has a 4.30 ERA/4.76 FIP. He’s primarily a three pitch guy featuring a fastball that sits 90-93, mixing in a slider and a curveball. The Dodgers should have the pitching advantage relatively easily, but they typically have a difficult time performing against mediocre pitchers.

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The Dodgers rotation for the remaining eight games is still up in the air, which isn’t exactly a surprise.

This is a nice gesture by the Dodgers organization recognizing some long-time legends.

Billie-Jean King and Ilana Kloss have now become co-owners of the Dodgers which is pretty cool.

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First pitch is at 7:10 PT on SNLA and MLB Network.

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.