Diamondbacks @ Dodgers September 2, 2020: Gallen vs. Buehler

Coming off a 6-3 win last night against the Diamondbacks (14-22), the Dodgers are now 27-10, leading the Padres in the NL West by five games. This being the teams 38th game of the season, they’re essentially in the home stretch. Meanwhile, Arizona has lost nine of their last ten, and now feature the sixth worst record in baseball. Walker Buehler will take the mound for the Dodgers as they look to maintain their lead in the division, and Zac Gallen will look to get Arizona back on track.

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6:40 P.M. Los Angeles
RF Calhoun (L) RF Betts
2B Marte (S) SS Seager (L)
1B Walker CF Pollock
LF Peralta (L) 1B Muncy (L)
3B Escobar (S) LF Taylor
DH Rojas (L) DH Pederson (L)
SS Ahmed C Smith
CF Varsho (L) 3B Ríos (L)
C Kelly 2B Lux (L)
P Gallen (R) P Buehler (R)

This lineup features some of the Dodgers best batters against right-handed pitching, starting with Mookie Betts who has a 202 wRC+, followed by Corey Seager with a 206 wRC+. Will Smith starts behind the plate, featuring a 150 wRC+ against RHP, while Edwin Rios and his 157 wRC+ against RHP starts at third in the absence of Justin Turner. Chris Taylor (133 wRC+) will bat fifth, and Cody Bellinger will sit again, still bothered by his minor lat issue he picked up the other day.

The Diamondbacks have just a 82 wRC+ on the season and a .681 OPS ranking 26th and 27th in baseball. The Dodgers are naturally on the other end of the spectrum, with a .805 OPS and 118 wRC+, ranking third and fourth overall. Starling Marte prior to being traded, had been Arizona’s best hitter on the year, featuring a .827 OPS and 123 wRC+. Meanwhile, the Dodgers also sport a .856 OPS and 130 wRC+ against right-handed pitching, ranking first in each. The loss of Marte combined with Buehler on the mound is not an ideal matchup for Arizona.

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Through his first five starts of the season, Buehler features a subpar 4.32 ERA and 4.71 FIP. He had his best start of the season in his last outing, before going on the IL with a blister issue. He struck out eleven batters over just six innings and allowed just one run. Hopefully as we approach the end of the season he can build on that, starting with a game tonight against a struggling Arizona offense.

The 25 year-old Gallen continues an excellent year, where he has just a 2.09 and 3.82 FIP over his first seven starts. He now owns a 2.56 ERA and 3.69 FIP on his short career over his first 123 innings. In his only start against the Dodgers this season, he allowed two runs over six innings while striking out nine. He also allowed four runs over two starts last season against the Dodgers, so it’s not a team he’s dominated against yet in his short career. He is also now the all-time leader in consecutive starts to a career with three or fewer earned runs allowed.

He’s been good, so the offense will need to show up.

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In other news,

It feels incredibly early to have a magic number already, but it’s just 19 with 23 games remaining.

It’s also encouraging to hear that Alex Wood will seemingly accept his role as long relief out of the bullpen while Tony Gonsolin continues in the rotation. It makes the most sense for both of them moving forward.

Hopefully Bellinger will be ready to get back in the lineup soon, but as the season comes to a close, health is the priority.

2020 continues to get worse with the loss of the legend, Tom Seaver.

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First pitch is at 6:40 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. Hated baseball practice as a kid, but writing about adults doing baseball is alright.