Rockies @ Dodgers September 2, 2019: LUX SZN

The Dodgers narrowly avoided getting swept in a four-game series in Arizona, in a disappointing road series that saw their magic number shrink from nine to only seven. A combination of seven Dodger wins and Diamondback losses gives the Dodgers the NL West, and for the Dodgers to clinch at home they’ll have to win games against the Rockies and Giants while Arizona loses against the Padres and Reds.

Today begins a new week, and the Dodgers take on arguably the most disappointing team of the 2019 season. The Rockies took the Dodgers to game 163 last season, but were eliminated from playoff contention in August and currently sit at 59-79. The Dodgers have won 10 of the 13 games against Colorado in 2019. In weird scheduling news, this is only the second series between the two teams in LA. The Dodgers don’t have to travel to Satan Field any more until 2020, but the two teams will play two series’ in LA during the final month of the season. The first series in LA was pretty ridiculous, as the Dodgers won all three games on walkoff home runs by rookies (Matt Beaty, Alex Verdugo and Will Smith).

Rockies
Dodgers
5:10 p.m.
Los Angeles
SS
Story
RF
Pederson
RF
Blackmon
SS
Seager
3B
Arenado
LF
Pollock
1B
Murphy
1B
Bellinger
LF
Hillard
CF
Taylor
2B
Hampson
3B
Beaty
C
Wolters C Smith
CF
Daza
2B
Lux
P
Lambert (R)
P
Buehler (R)

Walker Buehler gets the ball for the Dodgers today and has been excellent in his last two starts. He bounced back from a rough start in Miami with seven shutout innings against Toronto. Buehler then went on the road, where he’s struggled so far in 2019, and tossed six shutout against the Padres last Tuesday. Buehler’s ERA currently sits at 3.03, which is the lowest it’s been since his last two starts against the Rockies in June. At Dodger Stadium, Buehler allowed two runs in nine innings and struck out 16 Rockies in what looked like a tough no-decision before Beaty’s ninth-inning homer gave him the win. Buehler’s next start came at Coors and didn’t fare as well, as he allowed seven runs and 13 hits in 5 2/3 innings (in a game the Dodgers ended up winning 12-8).

Buehler looks to continue his dominance in LA tonight, as he’s undefeated in 12 home starts this season. He’s only gotten the decision in five of those starts, but in 80 1/3 innings at home, Buehler has a 2.13 ERA and 102 strikeouts with only seven walks. In 74 innings on the road, Buehler’s ERA is 4.01 and he’s struck out 83 with 21 walks allowed.

Rookie Peter Lambert starts for the Rockies tonight for the 16th time this season. His career got off to a decent start, as his first two starts came against the Cubs and he held them to two runs over 13 innings. The wheels sort of fell off after those two starts. In his other 13 starts, Lambert owns a 7.61 ERA and has allowed 15 homers in 62 2/3 innings. Opponents since then are slashing .331/.386/.609 against Lambert. Only five qualified hitters have a higher OPS this season than opponents have against Lambert (.995). Lambert (and Coors, probably) basically turns every hitter into somewhere between Juan Soto and Nelson Cruz. Lambert has been *better* away from Coors. He owns a 7.00 ERA at home and a 6.07 ERA on the road. Away from home, opponents OPS drops down to .900 (so instead of Juan Soto, opponents are basically Max Muncy against Lambert on the road).

Lambert did fare relatively well in one of his two starts against the Dodgers this season. In LA, Lambert held the Dodgers to three runs in five innings on June 22. Lambert opposed Buehler in the game at Coors and allowed five runs in 4 2/3 innings.

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The headliner of the lineup is the debut of Gavin Lux. Lux was Dustin’s fourth-ranked prospect before the season and is now widely considered one of the 10 best prospects in all of baseball. In his age-21 season, Lux posted a .313/.375/.521 triple slash in 291 Double A plate appearances before being promoted to Triple A. Lux went stupid in OKC (hitter friendly league and juiced balls, but still), posting a .392/.478/.719 triple slash in 232 plate appearances. He now gets his chance to audition for the postseason roster and would be a lovely alternative if Muncy is out for longer than initially anticipated. Lux hits eighth and plays second in his debut. Justin Turner is out of the lineup with Beaty getting the start at third. Other than A.J. Pollock and Chris Taylor, this entire lineup was drafted by the Dodgers. Love to see it.

Also interesting, Pollock starts in left for the first time this season. His defense in center has been not great, so maybe this is a trial run for him to move to left.

——

Lux was added to the 40-man, along with a few other roster moves.

Julio Urias is back from his suspension and Josh Sborz gives the Dodgers another relief option for the month. It was reported yesterday that Tyler White wouldn’t return this season, and today that becomes official as he’s been placed on the 60-day IL with a trap sprain.

——

The Dodgers are making a change in their rotation.

Urias will return to the rotation and start tomorrow. Kenta Maeda will move into the bullpen in preparation for a potential postseason reliever role. He’s currently at 26 starts and 138 innings, so he’s two innings away from a bonus and four starts away. This move makes reaching 30 starts nearly impossible, but he’ll at least hit his next inning milestone. Urias is expected to throw around 45 pitches tomorrow.

——

The Dodgers may be getting more reinforcements next week.

Verdugo and Muncy could return in Baltimore, giving them ample time to get back in rhythm before the postseason.

——

The Dodgers are down two late-inning guys today.

Pedro Baez and Kenley Jansen are both unavailable tonight.

——

Pollock’s move to left field may be for more than just tonight.

Cody Bellinger could take over a bigger role in center, with Pollock playing left field with less ground to cover.

——

Rich Hill threw another bullpen.

He threw curveballs this time, and will reportedly face hitters in his next bullpen.

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.