Dodgers @ Cubs May 4, 2021: Doubleheader Game 2 – Bauer vs. Thompson

Photo: Sarah Wexler

The Dodgers (17-13) lost the first game of their doubleheader against the Cubs (13-16) today to drop to 4-11 in their last fifteen games. It’s a little disappointing considering the offense looked like it might’ve turned the corner with their sixteen run performance on Sunday. They were also facing borderline the worst qualified starting pitcher on the season. Check out the classic recap here by Chad.

I hate to say it, because with the talent level of this team they should have the advantage in nearly every single game, however with Trevor Bauer on the mound against Keegan Thompson, who made his debut in a relief outing on Sunday, they should have the advantage. That’s pretty much all there is. The analysis is that the team needs to perform better in all aspects.

4:40 PM Chicago
RF Betts LF Pederson (L)
SS Seager (L) CF Bryant
CF Taylor 1B Rizzo (L)
C Smith 3B Bote
1B Muncy (L) RF Heyward (L)
LF Pollock 2B Vargas (S)
3B Ríos (L) SS Sogard (L)
2B Lux (L) C Wolters (L)
P Bauer (R) P Thompson (R)

The Cubs will shuffle things around entirely so that against the right-handed Bauer they have only two right-handed batters in Kris Bryant and David Bote, both who had doubles in the first game. World Series Champion Joc Pederson will hit leadoff and start in right field.

Well, the Dodgers actually outhit the Cubs in the first game despite losing by six runs. They had runners on first and second in each of the second third and fourth innings, but all with two outs – naturally all three chances resulted in no runs. Edwin Rios will start at third base as Justin Turner takes the second game off. With the Minor League season starting, it’s easy to see that Rios is almost on the chopping block. He likely will be sent down sometime soon to give him some plate appearances against easier pitching and less stressful at bats. With Keibert Ruiz hitting a home run in his first plate appearance of the season there’s a chance he sees more opportunities in the near future.

Additionally, we saw an awful defensive performance from the shortstops today. Javier Baez made three errors which is uncharacteristic of him, and he’s not starting tonight so the Dodgers won’t have an opportunity to take advantage of those miscues. Corey Seager once again couldn’t field a ball moving to his right. He won’t get an error for a lack of range and Kershaw will take the earned runs, but it’s tough to see. Out of 135 qualified infielders with enough balls put in play at their positions, Seager and Justin Turner have both logged -4 Outs Above Average per Statcast data. That’s tied for the sixth worst of those 135. Even without entirely following how that information is compiled, you can see the validity of the information as elite defensive players such as Matt Chapman and Francisco Lindor are at the top of that list as well as guys such as Brandon Crawford and Jake Cronenworth.

When you’re struggling, you need to win on the margins such as defense and baserunning. When you have a dynamite offense, those things are easy to look past, but if you look at the defensive plays that have been made against the team and then the defensive plays the team has put together, you can see just another reason the Dodgers are dropping games.

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Thompson doesn’t have any MLB stats so I’ll cover him briefly later, but here’s how Bauer looks on the season.

Keegan Thompson is making just his second MLB appearance after pitching one inning against the Reds on Sunday. He went one inning allowed two hits, one walk, and no runs. As far as I can tell, the 26 year-old right hander throws a fastball in the mid 90’s as well as a low 90’s cutter and a curveball. I could be wrong, but that’s what he threw Sunday. He only threw ten innings in 2019 in the minors, but overall since his debut in 2017, he features a 3.46 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 151 strikeouts across 158.2 innings. The highest level he’s been at for extended time was AA in 2018, where he had a 4.06 ERA and 1.40 WHIP in 62.0 innings.

Bauer is coming off a strong start in Milwaukee where he unfortunately took the loss, but with the team needing innings out of their starters to rest the bullpen, he took one for the team and threw an eight inning complete game. He’s given the team chances to win in each of his six starts thus far, with his lone loss coming in his last outing where he allowed just two earned runs. Outside of his four earned run outing to start the season in Colorado, he has a 1.87 ERA, 3.32 FIP, and a 0.65 WHIP over his last five starts.

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Some of these hits haven’t been pretty or especially impressive, but if Gavin Lux starts to feel better at the plate that can provide a spark this offense badly needs.

Not much else going on besides that. Win a game.

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First pitch is at 4:40 PM PST on SNLA.

About Allan Yamashige

Just a guy living in Southern California, having a good time writing about baseball. Hated baseball practice as a kid, but writing about it rules. Thanks for reading!