Dodgers @ Giants May 22, 2021: Buehler vs. Scott Kazmir

After an 2-1 win over the Giants (28-17) last night, the Dodgers (27-18) are now winners of nine of their last ten and have won five in a row. They now trail both the Giants and the Padres by just one game in the NL West. After an awful stretch, the team seems like they’re somewhat back in form, finally managing a win in a one run game. That improved their record in one run games to fourth worst in baseball at 6-11 or a 35.3% winning percentage, a 57 win pace over a full season.

Today Walker Buehler takes the mound looking to lead the team to their fourth consecutive series win, up against old friend Scott Kazmir making his first MLB start in….five years.

Image
4:15 PM San Francisco
CF Taylor RF Yastrzemski (L)
3B Turner C Posey
2B Muncy (L) SS Crawford (L)
1B Pujols 1B Belt (L)
SS Lux (L) 3B Longoria
C Barnes LF Dickerson (L)
LF Beaty (L) 2B Dubón
RF Peters CF Tauchman (L)
P Buehler (R) P Kazmir (L)

For the Dodgers, Mookie Betts is out of the lineup today as DJ Peters will start in right field. Chris Taylor will start in center field and hit leadoff while Betts has the day off. Gavin Lux keeps hitting, and as he does so he’ll continue to move up in the lineup, batting fifth today. Austin Barnes will catch Buehler today and Matt Beaty will start in left field. Ten hits and two walks last night was still a nice sight to see, so that the team managed only two runs was a blessing for the Giants. The Dodgers will need to be a little more efficient with their baserunners to continue their success as of late.

There isn’t much to write about for the Giants’ offense, as their bats were quiet yesterday, only managing two hits the whole night. One of those came on an accidental check swing and one on a catchable pop up down the left field line. Overall, their offense is middle of the pack thus far which is surprising for a team tied for the best record in baseball. Their 101 wRC+ is 14th in the game, while their .721 OPS is 12th. Their pitching staff has been one of the best in the league, but Kazmir is a bit of a wild card for them today.

As Kazmir hasn’t pitched in half a decade, here’s how Buehler has looked this season.

Buehler earned just his second win of the season last time out in his best start of the year, going seven scoreless innings allowing just one hit and four walks. The four walks were an anomaly for him having just three walks in his previous seven starts. He’s now gone at least six innings in all of his eight starts this season, coming off two consecutive outings going seven innings.

I’d normally have the opposing pitcher in the table adjacent to Buehler, but not only does Kazmir not have any MLB innings logged since 2016, he only has 18.1 minor league innings since then as well, including 6.1 this season over two outings. After a litany of injuries, it’s great to see the 37 year-old trying to make a comeback.

It would be nice to win the game while not absolutely destroying Kazmir in his comeback game, similar to yesterday where the team was able to beat Alex Wood without lighting him up.

——

I’m sure a lot of people could use this as well.

For what it’s worth, struggling for Betts has been a 129 wRC+ with an .818 OPS and 1.3 fWAR this season. It’s evident he hasn’t been playing up to his potential so hopefully they unlock something in his swing soon.

In an era where pitchers are targeting strikeouts, especially relievers, increasing usage on four-seam fastballs up in the zone usually tends to do the trick. Jones looked great last night, and with the status of the bullpen thus far, it wouldn’t take much for him to earn a high leverage role.

——

At this point, any legitimate Major League caliber pitching can be used. Hopefully Tony Gonsolin gets healthy and can build on his great 2020 season.

Just need to hold off a little bit longer until the reinforcements arrive. The team has managed to right the ship as of late and could really use the help soon.

——

First pitch is at 4:15 PM PDT 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!