The Dodgers won again last night, giving them a third straight win and their seventh win in the last eight games. Tonight they wrap up a homestand, looking to make it a 5-1 stay in LA before heading off to Arizona and San Diego. The Dodgers still find themselves a game behind the Giants for the top record in the NL, thanks to Arizona’s inability to unable to hold a 7-0 lead last night.
|7:10 PM||Los Angeles|
|RF||Miller (L)||RF||Souza Jr.|
|P||Wheeler (R)||P||Kershaw (L)|
Clayton Kershaw gets his 15th start of the season today. Kershaw was in quite a slump prior to his last outing, posting a 5.12 ERA in five starts between May 14 and June 5. He bounced back in excellent fashion in the first game of this homestand, as he held the Rangers to an unearned run and three hits in six innings. The Dodgers should at least consider giving Kershaw six first-inning runs and 12 runs in the game once again. Even during his rough stretch, Kershaw was not having issues striking batters out. He’s struck out 49 batters and issued only six walks over his last six starts.
Zack Wheeler gets the start for the Phillies. He’s been one of the best starters in the NL this season, with a 2.29 ERA/2.39 FIP in 90 1/3 innings. Wheeler leads qualified NL starters in FIP (important to note that Jacob deGrom and his what-the-fuck 0.93 FIP does not qualify, seriously what the fuck) and leads the NL in strikeouts. Wheeler has reached double-digit strikeouts in four of his last five starts (the slacker only struck out eight Nationals on June 4) and has the eighth-best strikeout rate in all of baseball (why is deGrom striking out 46.2 percent of batters).Wheeler has been a workhorse, throwing at least 90 pitches in each of his 13 starts and throwing 100 or more pitches in seven of those starts.
Wheeler has one of the highest average velocity fastballs (97.3 MPH) in all of baseball, and he throws it nearly 44 percent of the time. He’s thrown a slider 91.4 percent of the time and opponents are hitting only .162 with a .297 slugging against it. He throws a sinker and mixes in a curve and changeup as well.
The Dodgers are certainly rolling out a lineup. Justin Turner gets the day off and Austin Barnes catches Kershaw again after Will Smith caught him last Friday. The Phillies are also missing key players, as Bryce Harper and Jean Segura both left yesterday’s game with injuries. Segura was placed on the IL, but at least for now Harper is still active.
You’ll notice a new name in right field for the Dodgers.
Steven Souza Jr. has joined the Dodgers and will start in right field today. The six-year Major League veteran struggled with the Cubs last season and signed a Minor League deal with the Dodgers in April. At Triple A OKC, Souza posted a .279/.444/603 slash line and hit six homers in 22 games.
Nate Jones was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man for Souza. Jones weirdly got some run as a leverage reliever for the Dodgers and turned in some excellent outings, but really struggled the last couple times out.
Corey Seager injury updates.
Seager could take batting practice in Arizona, and might begin a rehab assignment after. Seager’s been out since May 15 and was initially given a 4-6 week timeframe on his broken finger, which lines up with him potentially returning in the next couple weeks.
If you’re reading this and going to the game, I hope you’re already at the stadium.
Last night’s game seemed like a mess traffic wise, nature is healing. Get there early, more time to spend too much money on one beer.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM PDT and will be shown on Sportsnet LA.