Somehow this 9:35 a.m. start isn’t even the earliest this season, as an 8 a.m. game awaits on July 4, but here we are as the Dodgers look for a sweep and their 13th straight victory over the Pirates dating back to 2018. At least everyone can see the game on YouTube if you aren’t busy at from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on a weekday. And the rain doesn’t end it before it begins.
As Chad mentioned in last night’s recap, the Dodgers are now in sole possession of second place in the NL West with a 36-25 record. The first-place Giants (38-23) face the Nationals at 4 p.m. while the third-place Padres (37-27) are idle today.
Julio Urias (3.48 ERA/3.13 FIP/3.27 xFIP) is coming off a pair of 5-inning starts with pretty different outcomes. After allowing six runs against the Giants in Los Angeles, Urias gave up just one to the Braves last Friday. Urias combined for 10 strikeouts across the 10 innings after striking out 10 in 6 innings on May 23 in San Francisco. The Dodgers may not have Kenley Jansen, Joe Kelly or Blake Treinen for the game, so a slightly longer out from Urias would be a little helpful.
He’ll face off with Mitch Keller and his 6.65 ERA, 4.56 FIP and 4.84 xFIP. The 25-year-old righty is just 27 starts into his career, with Thursday marking a career-high 12th this season. It’ll be his first career start against the Dodgers and enters the day coming off of a short 2-inning start against the Marlins last Friday.
Leaving early due to the heat, Keller allowed 2 runs on 2 hits and 3 walks on just 45 pitches. Keller shut out Colorado across 5 innings back on May 29, but has given up at least 4 earned runs in 4 of his 11 starts. He’s topped out at 92 pitches and 5 2/3 innings this year, and hasn’t really done anything that well.
It’s 57.7% fastball, 23.0% slider and 15.4% curve for Keller with an xSLG of .446, .395 and .501 on the three pitches respectively.
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With Chris Taylor and AJ Pollock getting the day off, the Dodgers are sending out a lineup of five lefties (not counting Urias) to face Keller. Considering left-handed batters are slashing .310/.408/.529/.937 against Keller, it seems like a wise idea. Keller’s fastball is at 61.5% to lefties again, with a .394 xSLG, and has been the best he’s got in 68 PAs to them this season. His three other pitches, a curve, slider and changeup, at best hold a .551 xSLG and .420 xWOBA (both against the curve) to lefties with the numbers only rising even higher from there.
Given how early in the day it is, there’s not much news to share, but once again the weather isn’t looking the best so who knows when/if this game gets going today.
Dodgers-Pirates had a 30-minute rain delay before Tuesday’s game, and a 70-minute delay before tonight’s game.— Eric Stephen (@ericstephen) June 10, 2021
Thursday: 🙃 pic.twitter.com/ba94W8LP0q
For now, first pitch is 9:35 a.m. PT on YouTube.