Giants @ Dodgers May 29, 2021: Bellinger is back

Finally some reinforcements have arrived.

Cody Bellinger is back for the first time since April 5 while Zach McKinstry hasn’t played since April 20. Bellinger has just 21 PAs this season for Los Angeles, a number he matched on his rehab assignment in Oklahoma City. The Dodgers went 3-1 in Colorado with Bellinger and are 28-19 without him in the lineup.

McKinstry (and his slash line of .296/.328/.556/.883) has just 58 PAs this season, but drove in 14 runs and hit 3 homers in his 17 games. They are both in the lineup immediately, though Mookie Betts is not with them as Dave Roberts mentioned last night.

Roberts also said Bellinger should be in the lineup pretty consistently over this next week.

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Once again the Dodgers and Giants are tied in the NL West standings at 31-20, both 1.5 games back of the Padres.

San Francisco also made a few moves before today’s game, including activating today’s starting pitcher and first baseman.

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4:15 p.m. Los Angeles
LF Slater SS Lux (L)
C Posey 2B Muncy (L)
RF Yastrzemski (L) 3B Turner
3B Longoria CF Bellinger (L)
1B Flores C Smith
2B Solano 1B Pujols
SS Crawford (L) LF Beaty (L)
CF Dubon RF McKinstry (L)
P Webb P Urias (L)

Julio Urias is back on the mound, already 17 1/3 innings away from matching his career high in a season. He’s also just 15 strikeouts away from matching a career high thanks to his career-best 29.4 K% this year. Holding a 3.03 ERA/3.05 xERA/2.82 FIP/3.10 xFIP, Urias’ exit velocity is 4th-best among pitchers with at least 150 batted ball events this year.

Part of that is likely due to an increase in curveball usage (and its rather different shape/speed the past two years), with it rising to 32.6% this season from 22.5% in 2020 and 6.1% in 2019. The rise coincides with a drop in his slider, which was 17.3% in 2019 to 5.8% last season and now he’s thrown 1 all year.

While he pretty much already was a 2-pitch pitcher to lefties, Urias is now 53% fastball and 45.7% curve while holding them to a .147/.159/.265/.424 line with a 32.8 K% to the 70 batters faced. Unsurprisingly, lefties are really struggling against his curve now with a .061 BA, .152 SLG and a .089 WOBA. That’s just two hit allowed, one being a homer by Colorado’s Ryan McMahon back on April 15. The only homer by a right-handed batter off the curve was a two-run homer by Austin Slater last week as the Dodgers led 11-0.

Opposing Urias will be Logan Webb, facing the Dodgers for the first time this year. In his 9 games, including 8 starts, Webb holds a 4.09 ERA/3.65 xERA/ 3.53 FIP/ 3.09 xFIP across 44 innings. He’s struck out 47 to 17 walks so far, and is coming off the IL following a shoulder strain that caused him to miss just one start. His last two times out went pretty well, throwing 6 innings apiece against the Rangers and Reds with just 1 earned run allowed between the two starts.

Webb pitched the first half of a doubleheader against the Dodgers on Aug. 27, allowing 5 runs across 3 2/3 IP thanks to 4 hits, 2 walks and 2 hit batters.

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In a little more injury news, the Dodgers might finally be getting near a regular 5-man rotation again as Tony Gonsolin nears his own return from a rehab assignment. Impressively, the Dodgers are actually 2-1 in bullpen games since Dustin May made his final start on May 1. They won both starts by David Price on May 20 and 27 and lost Jimmy Nelson‘s May 16 start against Miami 3-2.

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First pitch is scheduled for 4:15 p.m. on FOX with Joe Davis and Eric Karros.

About 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.