Dodgers @ Rockies July 18, 2021: Price vs. Gray

The Dodgers (58-35), won their fourth consecutive game last night, by a score of 9-2 against the Colorado Rockies (40-53). The team is 8-1 against Colorado thus far, losing on Opening Day and winning the next eight in a row. With a San Francisco Giants (58-33) loss last night, their lead in the NL West is down to just one game, with a four game series in Los Angeles right around the corner. Today, the team will go for the sweep with David Price on the mound, up against Jon Gray for Colorado.

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12:10 PM Denver
CF Bellinger (L) CF Hampson
1B Muncy (L) 2B Rodgers
3B Turner SS Story
C Smith RF Blackmon (L)
2B Taylor 1B Cron
RF McKinstry (L) 3B McMahon (L)
LF Pollock C Díaz
SS Lux (L) LF Owings
P Price (L) P Gray (R)

Mookie Betts is out of the lineup today after exiting the game last night with right hip irritation. He’s been on fire as of late, including 4-4 last night with a home run and three doubles before leaving the game. Over his last four games, he now has twelve hits in his last sixteen at-bats (.750), including four walks. He’s reached base in 16 of his last 21 total plate appearances.

Max Muncy also had a big offensive night in the win last night, going 4-5 with two home runs and five RBI. Since 6/11 and over his last 21 games, Muncy is slashing .324/.425/.757, good for a 1.182 OPS and a 212 wRC+. When it comes to OPS, it goes Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (1.111), Fernando Tatis Jr.,(1.036), Shohei Ohtani (1.035), and then Muncy at .997.

Dating back to their 22-1 blowout win over the Diamondbacks, the team has now scored 48 runs in their last four games, while allowing just eleven runs. Adding +37 into the run differential column over those last four games has the team squarely in the lead at +155, ahead of the second ranked Houston Astros (+133). Run differential has it’s flaws, but good teams have good run differentials.

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Here’s how Price and Gray matchup.

David Price is seemingly being built back up towards being a starter, but for now that likely means looking for four or so innings and 60-70 pitches. He went three full innings his last game out, throwing his season high in pitches at 51. He’s made only four official starts, totaling 9.1 innings, but he features a 1.93 ERA and 1.57 FIP in that short span, allowing two earned runs while striking out twelve. Over his last eleven appearances and 12.1 innings, he’s allowed just two earned runs for a 1.46 ERA. That’s impressive, but in total if you strip out his first two appearances of the season, where he allowed a total of five earned runs on nine hits and two walks over 3.2 innings, his season looks much better. Just removing those two, his ERA drops from 3.23 down to 2.00, and his FIP from 3.69 to 2.25. Additionally, among 329 pitchers with at least 30 innings pitched, Price has the fourth highest BABIP against him at .402, well over his career mark of .292, and the league average of .289.

Jon Gray has a career 4.55 ERA against the Dodgers over 87 innings pitched, which admittedly is not that bad for pitching at Coors in half those games, against the offensive powerhouse the Dodgers have been over the last few years. He’s been the third best starter on the Rockies, which is solid on a Rockies’ pitching staff that actually hasn’t been half bad. The Dodgers won’t have to face either of their best starters in All-Star German Marquez, while Austin Gomber has also been good. The Rockies have the 18th ranked starting pitching staff by ERA at 4.31, which once again is impressive for a team pitching in Coors half the time.

Gray has been slightly worse against left-handed batters, which is very normal. He’s allowed a .735 OPS against left-handed batters, compared to a .598 OPS against right-handed batters. He also features a 4.33 FIP and 1.37 WHIP against LHB, compared to a 3.57 FIP and 1.04 WHIP against RHB.

In his last appearance, he got the win against San Diego, allowing just one run on three hits and three walks with seven strikeouts in six innings. He’s faced the Dodgers twice already, both early in the season, going a total of nine innings, allowing four earned runs on nine hits and three walks. Over his last four starts, he has a 2.35 ERA, 2.30 FIP, and 1.04 WHIP with 30 strikeouts in 23 innings. He’s also an upcoming free agent and likely to be dealt if the Rockies get the right offer. Interesting.

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Josiah Gray and Ryan Pepiot are both exciting prospects in the Dodgers’ system, with the former being their top overall prospect.

Give or take, this is how the rotation is looking for this upcoming series against San Francisco.

Cody Bellinger hasn’t been hitting well, but he has elite defense in center field, allowing the 5 time Gold-Glove winner Betts, play his natural position in right field.

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It seems like this has been a bit of a lingering issue, and getting too many hits lately has led to him being on the bases and running more often. For now it seems like no huge deal.

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First pitch is at 12:10 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!