After a dominant 9-2 win last night over the Houston Astros (26-22), the Dodgers (30-18) have now won eight consecutive games and trail the San Diego Padres (31-18) by just half a game in the NL West. Clayton Kershaw was excellent despite allowing a solo home run to Alex Bregman that had a .160 expected batting average, went 350 feet, and would’ve come up short of the left field wall in 29 of the 30 MLB parks.
Today, Trevor Bauer takes the mound against Luis Garcia, as Bauer and the Dodgers look for their ninth win in a row and the Astros look look to avoid dropping their fifth consecutive game after getting swept this weekend by the Texas Rangers (22-28).
With Clayton Kershaw pitching last night, Austin Barnes was behind the plate as usual and Will Smith was the designated hitter. With Bauer pitching tonight, Will Smith will be catching as he has for every Bauer start. Justin Turner will be the DH tonight, Sheldon Neuse will start at third base, and Yoshi Tsutsugo will get the start in left field. For the Astros, Taylor Jones will be the DH after Yordan Alvarez was hitless in his four plate appearances last night, all by strikeout.
Both of these teams can hit right-handed pitching (both of them can hit in general), but with right-handed pitchers on the mound for both sides, here’s how these two teams look. The Astros feature the fourth ranked offense by wRC+ against right-handed pitching at 110, while the Dodgers rank first at 124. The Dodgers also feature the highest OPS at .794, while Houston is ninth at .735. At the same time, Houston excels at avoiding strikeouts, leading the league at a meager 18.7% against RHP, compared to the league average of 24.2%. Meanwhile, the Dodgers’ main offensive woes have come against left-handed pitching with the 24th ranked OPS at .675 and a 90 wRC+. The Astros seemingly have only one healthy left-handed reliever in Brooks Raley who features a 6.52 ERA thus far, so they won’t be able to exploit that weakness.
Here’s how Bauer and Garcia matchup.
Last time out, Bauer got his fifth win of the season, going 6.1 innings and allowing one unearned run on two hits and four walks while striking out 11 in San Francisco. His current stats this year are looking similar to those of his last year, where he had a 1.73 ERA, 2.88 FIP, 36.0% strikeout rate, and a 0.79 WHIP. Over his last eight starts, he has a 1.42 ERA with just 25 hits allowed, striking out 68 in 50.2 innings. His 88 strikeouts are the third most in baseball, trailing Shane Bieber (98) and Gerrit Cole (92), and leading the National League. He is 8-0 all time against Houston.
Garcia is a 24 year-old right-hander in his first full season in the Majors, after just 12.1 innings last season. Besides the point, he did also throw two scoreless innings in the playoffs which was probably super cool for him. He’s been a solid prospect in the Astros’ system, and he’s had a good start to his season with just a 3.38 ERA thus far. He’s made seven starts now with a 3.71 ERA over 34 innings as a starter, allowing just one run over six innings as a reliever. Last time out, Garcia allowed two runs on three hits and two walks with seven strikeouts over five innings.
It would’ve been great to see arguably the Dodgers’ top prospect Josiah Gray, get some Major League reps, but obviously health is the main priority.
First pitch is at 4:40 PM PDT on SNLA and ESPN.