Phillies @ Dodgers May 31, 2019: The top two teams in the NL square off

Last night, the Dodgers held off the Mets and squeaked by Jason Vargas for their league-leading 38th win of the season. Tonight, the Dodgers open up a weekend series against the Phillies, a team they may see in October.

At 33-23, the Phillies currently have a three game lead in the NL East and the second-best record in the NL. Strangely, they only have a +33 run differential. It’s the fifth-best in the NL, behind the first-place Dodgers, first-place Cubs, fourth-place Diamondbacks and last-place Reds. Philly has won five of their last seven games, but dropped the finale against St. Louis yesterday. Today is the first of seven regular season games between the Dodgers and Phillies, as they play three this weekend and four in Philly in mid-July.

Phillies
Dodgers
7:10 p.m.
Los Angeles
CF
McCutchen
LF
Pederson
SS
Segura
3B
Muncy
RF
Harper
SS
Seager
1B
Hoskins
RF
Bellinger
C
Realmuto
1B
Beaty
2B
Hernandez
CF
Verdugo
3B
Kingery 2B Hernández
LF
Williams
C
Smith
P
Arrieta (R)
P
Maeda (R)

Kenta Maeda makes his 11th start of the season tonight. He came of the IL in his last start and turned in five innings in Pittsburgh, where he allowed three runs and five hits and struck out four Pirates. He hadn’t allowed a run in the two starts prior to hitting the IL, but gave up a pair of dongs.

In 56 1/3 innings this season, Maeda owns a 3.67 ERA/4.07 FIP and a 1.172 WHIP. He hurt himself early on with walks, as the usually-precise Maeda issued two or more walks in seven of his first eight starts. In his last two starts, Maeda hasn’t issued a free pass. He’s still currently riding the worst walk rate of his career and the lowest strikeout rate of his career (8.7 percent and 24.5 percent, respectively).

The Dodgers face a familiar foe in Jake Arrieta today. The former Cub threw a no-hitter at Dodger Stadium in 2015, but hasn’t been the same pitcher since that season. In 11 starts in 2019, Arrieta has a 3.60 ERA/4.38 FIP and a 1.30 WHIP. His strikeout rate is up from last season, but is still only 20.3 percent.

Arrieta is coming off an eight-inning, two run start in Milwaukee. The eight innings matched a season-high, and his eight strikeouts also matched a his high in 2019. He’s gone at least five innings in every start this season and seven or more innings four times already. Arrieta throws a sinker more than half time time and mixes in a changeup, slider and curveball.

The Dodgers lineup features six lefties in the first six spots. Justin Turner remains sidelined with his hamstring tightness, which is still not expected to lead to an IL stint. Will Smith gets his third start since being called up. Today’s Dodger lineup is not brought to you by Dave Roberts (but it’s probably still his fault anyway).

Solid excuses.

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Not much Dodger news today, but the Phillies made a roster move that impacts the pitching matchup in this series.

Old friend Zach Eflin was supposed to start tomorrow for the Phillies, but was placed on the IL with back tightness. Cole Irvin, the Phillies’ number 16 prospect on MLB Pipeline, will get the start in his place.

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If enough of you buy these I will cease all punnery.

(Ver)Do Go to that link and buy one.

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Cool stuff happening at the stadium today, as the Dodgers celebrate LGBT Night.

https://twitter.com/Dodgers/status/1134604507826966528

Do not read the comments. You’ve all been warned.

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.