D-backs @ Dodgers July 11, 2021: End of the first half

Alright everyone, one last game until the All-Star break. After a 22-1 win over the Diamondbacks (26-65) last night, the team has just this one remaining game to finish up the first half. The Dodgers are now 55-35, a very respectable record, albeit most likely a little worse than people would’ve projected preseason. Regardless of outcomes today, they’ll enter the break trailing the first place San Francisco Giants (56-32). While not ideal, with very inconsistent and at times downright bad play throughout various stretches of the season, 55-35 is a solid record. They’ll likely need to do better than that in the second half of the season to end up on top of the NL West, but they have the talent to manage that. Today, the team has Tony Gonsolin on the mound, up against the right-handed Merrill Kelly.

Image Image
1:10 PM Los Angeles
SS Rojas (L) RF Betts
2B VanMeter (L) 1B Muncy (L)
3B Escobar (S) 3B Turner
1B Walker CF Bellinger (L)
RF Reddick (L) C Smith
LF Peralta (L) 2B Taylor
C Vogt (L) LF Pollock
CF Varsho (L) SS Lux (L)
P Kelly (R) P Gonsolin (R)

The team put up 22 runs yesterday. They’re capable of doing big time damage against teams like Arizona every single time out, but the offensive performances have been very inconsistent. The same team that scored 22 runs yesterday is the same team that scored twice the night prior. Games like that will obviously inflate run differential, (at +139, the Dodgers are now first in baseball, narrowly leading the Astros at +135) and overall team wide offensive stats. Regardless, 22 runs is great and they should do it again.

There isn’t much going well for the Diamondbacks. However, what is pretty cool is that Arizona is one of the few teams that has the personnel to field a lineup that has all the position players batting from the left side. They’re not all great, but it’s pretty cool.

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Here’s how Gonsolin and Kelly matchup.

Gonsolin has been solid this season in his limited outings, allowing one run or less in every outing. He had his best start of the season last time out, going 5.1 innings against the Marlins on just 72 pitches. He allowed two hits and a walk while striking out three. I’m going to post the same excerpt I wrote about him prior to his previous start in Miami, with a few updates.

“A few good things about his start to the season, is that his strikeout rate has been impressive at 30.6%, with 22 strikeouts in 16 innings, tied with Yu Darvish at 30.6%, just trailing guys like Zack Wheeler (31.3%), and Brandon Woodruff (30.7%). Another positive is batters are hitting just .203 against him, once again trailing the likes of Walker Buehler (.194), Darvish (.197), and Wheeler (.198). The issue has been the walks. He’s issued 13 walks in 16 innings, with an 18.1% walk rate, resulting in a 1.56 WHIP. I don’t really need to explain why that’s bad. With improved command and control, it seems like he’s on track to have a successful season once again, but he needs to throw more strikes.”

Due to variance with a very small sample size, after logging just three strikeouts last time out, his strikeout rate is now 27.5%, but the average against him is now down to .182, and the WHIP is down to 1.31. The one time he faced Arizona this season he went 3.2 innings allowing one run on three hits. There isn’t much new to say until he logs more innings, but he’s looking better each time out.

Kelly is having a solid season, despite the 4.60 ERA. The gap between his ERA and his FIP (4.00) is the sixth largest gap in baseball, and he also features a very respectable walk rate at just 5.9%. (The same as Walker Buehler). He isn’t some miraculous ace, but he’s been a very solid pitcher, especially for a bad Diamondbacks team. Last time out, he went 5.1 innings against Colorado, allowing two runs on six hits and one walk while striking out one.

He has a 2.31 ERA and 3.13 FIP with a 0.99 WHIP over his last four starts and 25.1 innings. If you take out his two biggest blow up starts in his season coming in early April, he’s had a 3.90 ERA and 3.65 FIP and 1.20 WHIP. He faced the Dodgers once earlier this season, having one of his best starts of the year. He went seven strong innings, setting a season high in strikeouts with twelve while allowing three runs. It’d be nice if they didn’t strikeout twelve times again against a pitcher who averages less than eight strikeouts per nine innings.

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The MLB Draft is today at 4 PM PDT. Dustin has been covering all the Mock Draft’s and providing a ton of research and information over the last few weeks. Check out the final Big Board here.

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All Albert Pujols stats are insane. He’s played for so long and was one of the most feared players in the game for over a decade. It’s not completely out of the realm of possibility that he reaches 700 home runs. He needs 697 to pass Alex Rodriguez for fourth all time, but with a 1.014 OPS against left-handed pitching, a lot of team could honestly use that. He’s not the superstar he used to be, but a 1.014 OPS platoon first baseman or DH is a big help for a lot of teams.

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https://twitter.com/FabianArdaya/status/1414294496225812482

With Clayton Kershaw not throwing over the All-Star Break, Josiah Gray being stretched out, and the trade deadline approaching, I have no idea what the rotation will look like, but this is the plan for now.

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At least Corey Seager is approaching a return. He’s one of the best players in the National League and the team will need him down the stretch.

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First pitch is 1:10 PM PDT on SNLA.

About Allan Yamashige

Just a guy living in Southern California, having a good time writing about baseball. Hated baseball practice as a kid, but writing about it rules. Thanks for reading!