Rangers @ Dodgers June 13, 2021: Dunning vs. Buehler in pitchers’ duel?

Photo: Stacie Wheeler

After Trevor Bauer shat the bed last night against the lowly Rangers, the Dodgers are looking to take the rubber game of this 3-game interleague series. Walker Buehler gets the ball for LA, while Dane Dunning gets the call for Texas.

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1:10 p.m. Los Angeles
SS Kiner-Falefa CF Betts
LF Calhoun SS Lux
CF García 2B Taylor
RF Gallo 1B Beaty
1B Lowe LF Pollock
2B Solak 3B McKinstry
3B Holt RF Raley
C Heim C Barnes
P Dunning (R) P Buehler (R)

Buehler is making his 13th start of the season, and he’s been kinda flying under the radar. He owns a 2.56 ERA, 3.66 FIP and a 19.6 K-BB%. His strikeouts have been down a bit this season, as he’s running a career-low 24.3 K% (8.38 K/9, if you’re into that sort of thing). A quick peek at his other numbers shows his average velocity is down across the board.

Yearv4FBvSLvCBvCTvSI
202096.887.581.992.797.2
202195.385.580.491.795.1
Difference-1.5-2.0-1.5-1.0-1.1

This could explain his lack of strikeouts (compared to his career), but it isn’t like he’s getting hit terribly hard otherwise. His average exit velocity against is 89 MPH — down 1 MPH from last season, and his average launch angle is down almost 6 degrees. Despite that, his FIP is would be the highest of his career (full seasons only) , yet his ERA would be the lowest. This might warrant a deeper dive, but Buehler is still getting outs, even if his numbers are a bit off from what we’ve come to expect. Luckily for him, he’ll be facing a Rangers’ offense that’s in the bottom-third of baseball in a lot of categories: wRC+, OPS, runs scored, SwStr% and more.

Dunning, acquired from the White Sox in the Lance Lynn trade in December, is also making his 13th start of the season. He has pitched to a 4.26 ERA, but a very healthy 2.92 FIP. He’s good at keeping the ball in the yard (4 HR in 57 IP) and can miss some bats. He has faced a lot of strong offenses (Anaheim, Houston, Minnesota, Tampa Bay, Toronto), so his numbers might be skewed in the negative direction a bit more than they could be.

The Dodgers are running out a Jim Tracy-esque lineup on this Sunday. Coincidentally or not, Dave Roberts played with the Dodgers while Tracy was manager. Justin Turner is getting a planned day off, while Cody Bellinger is still ailing a bit (but available to pinch-hit). The only true regulars in the lineup are Mookie Betts, Gavin Lux and Chris Taylor. Let’s see how this goes.

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Getting Corey Seager back sooner than expected would be quite good. Still, let’s hope the Dodgers don’t rush him back.

I honestly didn’t expect Corey Knebel back this season.

Speaking of all the injuries…

Eric is truly the best.

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If it goes that way again, let’s hope it’s in the Dodgers’ favor.

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First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. Pacific time.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosted a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He was a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times and True Blue LA. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.