Braves @ Dodgers May 7, 2019: Low Walk Rates Collide

Photo: Stacie Wheeler

After last night’s win, the Dodgers are looking to clinch a series win against an excellent visiting Braves team. The Braves have underplayed their potential so far, sitting at just one game above .500, but that doesn’t take away from the talent on their roster. A series win would be a nice accomplishment.

Braves
Dodgers
7:10 p.m.
Los Angeles
2B
Albies
CF
Hernández
3B
Donaldson
3B
Turner
1B
Freeman
RF
Bellinger
LF
Acuña Jr.
1B
Freese
RF
Markakis
SS
Taylor
SS
Swanson
2B
Muncy
C
Flowers C Martin
CF
Inciarte
LF
Verdugo
P
Fried (L)
P
Ryu (L)

The Dodgers will try to reach that goal against left-handed starter Max Fried. Fried is having an excellent year so far, posting a 2.11 ERA across 38-1/3 innings. Fried has the eighth-lowest walk rate among pitchers who currently qualify for the ERA title. His opponent, Hyun-Jin Ryu, does not qualify for that leaderboard, but he’d be at the top of it if he did.

Fried sits at 94 mph with his fastball. He has also introduced a slider this year, though he still throws it rarely. He mixes in changes and curves to fill out his arsenal. He’s not a big time bat misser, but his walk rate combined with a very good ground ball rate has been a good way to keep runs off the board.

Corey Seager will not have the opportunity to face Fried at first, as he has the night off. Instead, Alex Verdugo will get another chance to face a lefty, something which has been happening a lot more often with A.J. Pollock on the shelf. Chris Taylor (whose recent hot streak has earned him a promotion in the batting order) will play shortstop and Max Muncy will play second in order to shuffle the pieces around.

Opposing Fried will be Ryu, who has been one of the best pitchers in baseball this year. Among pitchers with at least 110 innings between 2018 and 2019, Ryu owns the second-lowest walk rate at 3.7% and the eighth-best strikeout-to-walk differential. He owns the third-best adjusted ERA among that group, only behind Jacob deGrom and Blake Snell. Just thinking about where he had to come from to reach this level again is incredible. Ryu was one of the most underrated pitchers in baseball before he went down, and now he’s one of the most underrated pitchers in baseball again.

——

Both Caleb Ferguson and Tony Cingrani are on the mend. The former threw a simulated game today. The latter pitched an inning in Oklahoma City tonight, and may join the team soon. It’s hard to know what to expect out of Cingrani after so much time missed, but it’s also hard not to dream on his 2017 form, at least a little bit.

About Daniel Brim

Daniel Brim
Daniel Brim grew up in the Los Angeles area but doesn't live there anymore. He still watches the Dodgers and writes about them sometimes.