Contrary to popular belief, the Dodgers (47-31) only have one rival in the National League West, and it’s the San Francisco Giants (50-27). The Giants have the best record in baseball, and also hold a 3.5 game lead over the Dodgers. This is just a quick two game series, featuring likely the two best starting pitchers on each team. That begins with Anthony DeSclafani against Trevor Bauer tonight, and with Kevin Gausman against Walker Buehler tomorrow. This is an important series for the team, as they don’t play the Giants again until after the All-Star Break.
|7:10 PM||Los Angeles|
|1B||Wade Jr. (L)||RF||Betts|
|RF||Yastrzemski (L)||1B||Muncy (L)|
|LF||Dickerson (L)||CF||Bellinger (L)|
|CF||Duggar (L)||SS||Lux (L)|
|P||DeSclafani (R)||P||Bauer (R)|
In the first series they played, the Dodgers swept the Giants in a three game series in San Francisco. When the Giants came to Los Angeles, they proceeded to win three of four games. Overall, the team is 4-3 against the Giants this season, with a total of twelve games left to play against each other.
In that last series, the Giants got to face Sheldon Neuse, Yoshi Tsutsugo, and DJ Peters, three players who haven’t had plate appearances in weeks. They were also facing Zach McKinstry and Cody Bellinger, both returning from weeks on the Injured List, facing Major League pitching for the first time since they had been reinstated. McKinstry was also apparently swinging with his eyes closed.
With the team getting healthier, the Dodgers run out the best lineup they have without Corey Seager, with all the best players starting in their respective positions (more or less). Overall, the Dodgers have the second best wRC+ against right handed pitching at 118, and the third best OPS at .773. The Giants just trail them in both, with a fifth ranked .762 OPS and fourth ranked 112 wRC+. The team has a few exceptional hitters against right-handed pitching thus far, led by Will Smith (.960 OPS, 167 wRC+), and all of Smith, Max Muncy, Justin Turner, Cody Bellinger, and Mookie Betts owning an OPS above .840, and a wRC+ above 138. Naturally, all five are starting.
Here’s how Bauer and DeSclafani matchup.
If you like DRA (Deserved Run Average) by Baseball Prospectus, that has Bauer (3.31) at 16th amongst 84 starters with at least 70 innings pitched, and with DeSclafani 28th at 3.74.
Bauer had a great outing against the Giants back in May, allowing one unearned run in 6.1 innings, on just two hits and four walks while striking out eleven. In that start, Bauer threw his four-seam fastball 57.1% of the time and his sinker/ two-seamer just four times. Last time out against the Padres, he threw his four-seam fastball just 23.5% of the time, his lowest mark of the season, compared to his season high of 57.1% in that start against the Giants. He also threw his sinker 19 times last start, or 18.6% of the time, his highest rate of the season. It’ll be interesting to see how that looks moving forward, if it was a game plan idea, or if it’s his adjustment to the foreign substance enforcement MLB has started. He threw six innings in that 5-3 loss to San Diego, allowing three runs on five hits and four walks with ten strikeouts.
In his last start, DeSclafani threw seven scoreless innings against the Angels, where he allowed three hits and two walks while striking out nine. He’s had a great year. If he didn’t face the Dodgers on May 23 earlier this season, he would be having an incredible year. If you removed that start against the Dodgers he’d have a 1.80 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP. Unfortunately, he did have to face the Dodgers and proceeded to give up ten earned runs on nine hits and three walks while getting just eight outs.
He also faced the team in his next start, with better results (couldn’t possibly get worse), allowing two runs on five hits and four walks over 4.2 innings. In his last five starts since that blowup, he’s had a 1.42 ERA, 2.89 FIP, and a 0.85 WHIP. If you’re interested to see how a guy who had a 7.22 ERA last year (also in only 33.2 innings) has made such a big leap this season, I recommend reading this article, by Jake Mailhot of FanGraphs.
Yeah, the Giants have simply outplayed the other teams in the NL West. The Dodgers are significantly more talented, but the amount of talent doesn’t matter as much as winning percentage does.
Scott Alexander hasn’t pitched since May 1, but was solid prior to his injury, with a 2.31 ERA and 63.2% ground-ball rate over 11.2 innings. Would be nice to get him back.
I didn’t expect his rehab to plateau, but I always expected that the team would lean on the patient/safe side and keep Seager out till after the All-Star Break.
I would also assume that the team wouldn’t rush Josiah Gray back either, but the idea of adding a possible electric arm to the team is exciting.
First pitch is at 7:10 PM PDT on SNLA.