Athletics @ Dodgers September 22, 2020: Dodgers return home looking to clinch

The Dodgers return home having survived their only look at Coors Field this season. There’s six games left in the regular season, as they open up a series with Oakland before finish off the season with a three-game series with the Angels. The Dodgers currently have a magic number of two to clinch the NL West, so a win tonight combined with a Padre loss against the Angels would clinch the Dodgers’ eighth-straight NL West title. Tonight, the Dodgers welcome the AL West-leading Oakland A’s. At 33-20, the A’s are only the second team with a winning record that the Dodgers will see this season (along with the Padres).

6:40 p.m. Los Angeles
DH La Stella (L) RF Betts
LF Grossman (S) SS Seager (L)
SS Semien 1B Muncy (L)
1B Olsen (L) CF Bellinger (L)
CF Canha C Smith
3B Lamb (L) 2B Taylor
RF Piscotty DH Pederson (L)
2B Kemp (L) LF Pollock
C Murphy 3B Ríos (L)
P Montas (R) P May (R)

Dustin May makes his first start since leaving his September 10 start after taking a comebacker to the foot. May pitched the bulk of a game in San Diego on September 16, where he came in in the third inning and tossed 5 1/3 innings while allowing one earned (and two unearned) runs in a 7-5 Dodger victory. May has yet to allow more than two earned runs in any of his 10 appearances this season, and overall hitters are slashing only .229/.277/.389 against him.

Opposing May is old friend Frankie Montas. Montas was the big return for the A’s in the trade that brought Rich Hill (and other) to the Dodgers at the 2016 trade deadline. He put together a huge great 2019, with a 2.63 ERA/ 3.00 FIP in 96 innings. However, his season was cut short in June as he was suspended 80 games or PED use. He’s struggled so far in 2020, with a 5.86 ERA/4.72 FIP in 43 innings.

Montas got off to a hot start in 2020, posting a 1.57 ERA in his first four starts. The wheels came all the way off in his fifth start, as he surrendered nine runs in 1 2/3 innings against Arizona. Including that start, Montas has allowed at least four runs in four of his last five outings.

Montas is a high-velo pitcher, and his sinker (that he throws 39.5 percent of the time) averages 95.5 MPH. His straight fastball averages 95.8 MPH this season, and his two offspeed offerings (slider and splitter) both average over 85 MPH.

Joc Pederson returned from the family emergency list and will serve as the DH today. For Oakland, Matt Chapman is sidelined for the remainder of the year. They signed Jake Lamb last week, and he’s slashing .364/.417/.727 in six games as an A.

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Pederson is back (Zack McKinstry was optioned yesterday to make room), but it’s unknown how long Joc will be back for.

This doesn’t sound great, and hopefully whatever the family matter is isn’t as serious as it seems.

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The Dodgers have some competition brewing for their playoff rotation.

May will start the finale on Sunday against the Angels. Julio Urias starts tomorrow for the Dodgers, and his postseason role is still up in the air. Both of them are expected to have normal, unabbreviated starts.

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Some late drama today.

Justin Turner was originally in the lineup and starting at third, but he was scratched about an hour ago. Edwin Rios will get the start at third. How soon after this publishes will the reason for Turner’s scratch be revealed? Stay tuned to find out.

First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 PST and will be shown on ESPN and Sportsnet LA.

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.