Braves @ Dodgers May 6, 2019: Bellinger returns to the lineup as the Dodgers return home

The Dodgers failed to complete a sweep in San Diego yesterday, as a pair of bunt singles and a grand slam gave the Padres the rubber match of their first series with LA in 2019. Today, the Dodgers are back to begin a nine-game homestand that will end with a couple games against those same Padres. First, they welcome the Braves to LA. Atlanta is 18-16 on the year, good for second in the NL East right now. They’ve won six of their last eight games, including finishing off a sweep in Miami yesterday.

Braves
Dodgers
7:10 p.m.
Los Angeles
2B
Albies
LF
Pederson
3B
Donaldson
RF
Bellinger
1B
Freeman
3B
Turner
LF
Acuña Jr.
SS
Seager
RF
Markakis
1B
Muncy
SS
Swanson
2B
Taylor
C
McCann CF Verdugo
CF
Inciarte
C
Barnes
P
Gausman (R)
P
Buehler (R)

Walker Buehler starts for the seventh time this season. He’s 3-0 so far, but is rocking a 5.22 ERA in 29 1/3 innings. His FIP is more forgiving at 3.42, but Buehler has struggled coming off his phenomenal rookie season in 2018. Buehler’s allowed three runs in two straight starts, as he surrendered three in 5 1/3 innings in San Francisco last Tuesday. He held the Giants to one run through the first five innings, but allowed a single, double and triple in the fifth before being pulled.

Buehler’s main issue so far this season has been his strikeout numbers. After striking out 27.9 percent of batters in 2018, Buehler’s only striking out 20 percent so far this season. He struck out fewer than five batters in four of his 23 starts in 2018. In 2019, he’s already struck out fewer than five batters three times. While Buehler’s slider and curveball have seen an increase in swing-and-miss in 2019, the biggest decline has come from his fastball. Last year, Buehler got a swing and miss on 30.8 percent of his four-seam fastballs. So far through six starts, that number is down to 21.6 percent. Opponents are hitting .281 off his fastball this year after hitting only .176 off it last year, with expected batting averages of .270 and .208, respectively. The season is still young and Buehler didn’t really get a Spring Training, so it’s still early to be fully panicked about him.

Kevin Gausman starts for the Braves today. Earlier today, Major League Baseball suspended Gausman for five games for throwing at Jose Urena on Friday. Gausman was ejected from that game after 1 2/3 innings, leaving him fresh enough to start tonight while he appeals that suspension. Gausman’s first start of the season was an excellent seven inning shutout against the Marlins. Since then, Gausman has completed six innings only once and has allowed four runs or more in three of his four non-ejection-shortened starts. Prior to Friday, Gausman had allowed five runs in back-to-back starts.

Gausman really only throws two pitches. He throws a fastball 59.5 percent of the time and averages 93.6 MPH on it. He also throws a split finger 37.8 percent of the time. Gausman also has a slider, but only throws that 2.7 percent of the time.

Cody Bellinger is back in the lineup for the Dodgers after missing the last two games in San Diego. Chris Taylor started to heat up in San Diego, and he starts at second tonight.

——

California Love” won’t be played tonight.

Kenley Jansen looked like he had turned a corner as he allowed one baserunner in the first two saves of the series. He had some bad luck and gave up a grand slam last night though, and he’ll be unavailable after pitching three straight days.

——

A.J. Pollock will be out for a bit.

I’m not gonna pretend to understand what most of this means, but he’ll be out for at least six weeks as he recovers.


About Alex Campos

Alex Campos
I've been writing about the Dodgers since I graduated from Long Beach State, where I covered the Dirtbags in my senior year. I'm either very good or very bad at puns.