Dodgers @ Diamondbacks Sept. 8, 2020: A pair of cold teams meet in the desert

Losers in two straight, the Dodgers (30-12) face off against the D-backs (15-27) who have dropped 16 of their past 18.

Arizona is still just 6 games out of the playoffs despite sitting in 14th in the NL. Meanwhile, the Dodgers are 15 games up on the D-backs and 9 up on the Giants for the final NL playoff spot with 18 games to play.

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6:40 p.m. Phoenix
RF Betts SS Rojas (L)
SS Seager (L) 2B Marte (S)
DH Pollock 1B Walker
CF Bellinger (L) RF Calhoun (L)
1B Muncy (L) 3B Escobar (S)
LF Taylor LF Peralta (L)
2B Lux (L) DH Vogt (L)
3B Rios (L) C Varsho (L)
C Barnes CF Locastro
P Buehler (R) P Weaver (R)

Tonight’s lineup does not include Joc Pederson against a right-handed starter.

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On the mound tonight, Walker Buehler enters Tuesday with 30 IP across six starts this season while trending in the right direction.

After allowing 11 runs in his first 19 innings this year, Buehler allowed just one in his 11 innings against the Rockies and Diamondbacks. Tonight will be Buehler’s second straight start against Arizona, coming off last week’s 5 innings in Los Angeles, allowing just 2 hits and a walk to 6 strikeouts.

Buehler has seen nearly an even split of right and left-handed batters so far, with the results about as expected when looking closer. Holding a .158/.226/.246/.472 against 62 lefties, Buehler’s line against righties sits at .189/.271/.434/.705 with 59 batters faced.

His curveball has been the weak spot against right-handed batters, with three homers coming in just four batted ball events so far. Meanwhile, Buehler has leaned a little heavier onto his cutter as the usage is up to 21.6% after sitting at 12.8% in 2019 and 5.6% in 2018 against right-handed batters. He’s also yet to give up an extra-base hit to a righty off of his fastball, with batters just 2-for-24 while striking out 9 times. 

The curve has been working against lefties, with a 58.8% Whiff and 6 strikeouts in 11 PAs. Its usage is up a bit, to 20.7% from 13.8%, while the fastball is at 53.7%. With another 9 strikeouts in 24 at-bats to left-handed batters, Buehler’s fastball ranks third in runs above average at 10.8 and first in runs above average per 100 pitches at 3.71 for all pitchers at his innings total.

On the other hand, Luke Weaver’s 2020 hasn’t been great. Holding a 7.44 ERA/4.95 FIP/4.61 xFIP, Weaver has allowed 8 earned runs in 9 2/3 IP against the Dodgers this season. His last time out against the Dodgers on Sept. 3 included his highest pitch total of the season as he hit 92 in 5 1/3 innings. 

Save for a one-run outing at home against Oakland, last week may have been Weaver’s best start of the season. A trio of singles in the first brought the only 2 runs against Weaver in, with only 1 other hit allowed the rest of the night.

It went much better for Los Angeles back on Aug. 1 with homers from Edwin Rios and Matt Beaty among the five extra-base hits Weaver conceded. Some of Weaver’s bad luck seems to be coming from his HR/FB rate of 17.0%, well ahead of either of the past seasons. With 8 homers allowed in 32 2/3 IP, Weaver already surpassed last season’s 6 homers in 64 1/3 IP.

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In injury news…

And that’s about it for the day. First pitch is set for 6:40 p.m. on SportsNet LA, MLB Network for out-of-market areas and Fox Sports Arizona for me.

About Cody Bashore

Cody Bashore
Cody Bashore is a lifelong Dodger fan originally from Carpinteria, California (about 80 miles north of Dodger Stadium along the coast). He left California to attend Northern Arizona University in 2011, and has lived in Arizona full-time since he graduated in 2014 with a journalism degree. He now works for the university’s athletics department after spending seven years with the local newspaper.