Dodgers @ Giants July 29, 2021: Price vs. Cueto; Scherzer incoming?

Photo by: Stacie Wheeler

The Dodgers are going for the series win in San Francisco Thursday afternoon after dropping 3-of-4 last week at home. David Price will be opposed by Johnny Cueto.

Yet, that doesn’t feel like the most important thing happening today. Yes, the Dodgers are two games out in the NL West and should be getting much healthier soon, but with the trade deadline just a little more than 24 hours away, all eyes (no pun intended) are on Max Scherzer.

Image
12:45 p.m. San Francisco
SS Taylor CF Slater
2B Muncy (L) 3B Flores
3B Turner RF Yastrzemski (L)
CF Bellinger (L) 1B Ruf
LF Pollock 2B Solano
1B Pujols SS Crawford (L)
RF McKinney (L) LF Estrada
C Barnes C Casali
P Price (L) P Cueto (R)

Scherzer started the first game of the doubleheader against the Phillies. His command was a bit off, but seeing as this was his first start since July 18 due to a sore right triceps, that’s understandable. The main goal was for him to go out and show he was healthy, and he did so. His velocity was normal (hit 97 MPH in the 6th inning) and his offspeed pitches looked good at times. He threw six innings of 1-run ball on Thursday.

The Nats have already made one trade today.

They sent Brad Hand to the Blue Jays for 25-year-old catcher Riley Adams. That’s somewhat significant since the rumor is Washington wants Keibert Ruiz in any Scherzer deal, but the Dodgers are reluctant to trade Ruiz for a potential rental. I’m not saying Adams fills the void the Nats have at catcher, but maybe they’ll be more willing to accept someone else as the headliner (Michael Busch? Diego Cartaya? Ryan Pepiot?). It could also not have an bearing on a Scherzer deal whatsoever. We’ll see what ends up happening.

But the Dodgers are also interested in an old friend.

Daniel Hudson pitched for the Dodgers in 2018 and was decidedly average: 4.11 ERA, 4.38 FIP, 13.2 K-BB%. However, since leaving the Dodgers, he has flourished. He closed out Game 7 of the 2019 World Series for Washington and is having a great 2021 season (after a 2020 hiccup): 2.20 ERA, 2.50 FIP, 32.3 K-BB%.

Cody wrote about Hudson on July 20 as part of the trade value series.

“Hudson is actually pitching better than he has at really any other point in his 12 major league seasons. Holding a 2.63 ERA/2.92 FIP/3.02 xFIP, Hudson holds a 37.7 K% to a 6.6 BB% in 27 1/3 IP for the Nationals. That’s the best K% of his career and the best BB% in nearly a decade. Hudson is doing it with primarily a fastball (72.2%) and a slider (24.5%). The fastball is averaging his highest average mph of his career at 97.1 and is used 80.5% against left-handed batters. Adding in change-up to lefties, Hudson has held lefties to a .186/.234/.349/.583 line this season. There’s barely a platoon split for Hudson, as righties are at a nearly identical .167/.220/.333/.553 thanks to his slider that is at a 52.8 Whiff% at a 34.6% usage rate.”

He’s currently on the COVID-19 injury list, but he still makes a ton of sense for a bullpen that needs help.

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Price is making his fourth consecutive start after spending the overwhelming majority of the 2021 season in the bullpen. He has gone longer and longer each time out.

  • July 9: 3 IP, 51 pitches
  • July 18: 4 IP, 66 pitches
  • July 23: 5 2/3 IP, 74 pitches

It seems stretching him out is working so far. His velocity has dropped on all his pitches, in those three outings, but that’s to be expected when he’s trying to build stamina.

Price may not ever be a consistent 100-pitch guy again, but he could be a consistent 5-6-inning guy who’s consistent — at least until the postseason, when he’ll likely fill the Julio Urias role from 2020 (provided they make it that far).

Cody Bellinger is back in center field for the Dodgers today. He fucked up real bad on Tuesday night with that throw in the eighth inning. Tio Albert gets the start at first base. He figures to match up well with Cueto and his (fun) bullshit on the mound.

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First pitch is set for 12:45 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.