Dodgers @ D’backs August 1, 2021: Urías vs. Smith

The Dodgers (63-43) are coming off a convincing 8-3 win last night, featuring eight runs on sixteen hits while allowing just three runs on five hits in a bullpen game. In the third and final game of the series, the Dodgers look to Julio Urias to help the team go 3-3 on this six game road trip, before five games at home against the American League. The Diamondbacks (33-72) will look to the left-handed Caleb Smith as they also try to win the series, while Urías attempts to keep up with Kyle Hendricks in wins, who just added his league-leading 13th win.

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1:10 PM Phoenix
2B Betts SS Ahmed
CF Taylor CF Marte (S)
3B Turner 3B Ellis
1B Pujols 1B Walker
SS Seager (L) RF Reddick (L)
LF Pollock 2B Hager
C Barnes LF Varsho (L)
RF McKinney (L) C Holaday
P Urías (L) P Smith (L)

With sixteen hits last night, nearly everyone contributed in some way or another. Chris Taylor continued his impressive form, adding two more hits. Over his last 30 games, Taylor is slashing .328/.365/.597, with a 159 wRC+. Definitely an All-Star. Max Muncy added another two hits and a walk, currently sitting with a 163 wRC+, and his .413 OBP is second in the National League to just Juan Soto. If Fernando Tatis Jr. misses extended time with his shoulder injury, Muncy might very well be the current frontrunner for NL MVP. Cody Bellinger had two hits, although not pretty, but at this point for him, hits are hits.

Mookie Betts, second baseman, is back in the leadoff spot and looks to jump right back into the swing of things. Before irritating his right hip, he had twelve hits and reached base sixteen times in his last five games. The idea is that playing second base for now will help reduce strain on that right hip. We’ll see what happens once Trea Turner gets here, but it’s an idea that makes sense to explore for now.

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Here’s how Urías and Smith matchup.

Last time out, Smith allowed five runs on three hits and three walks while striking out eight over six innings against the Cubs. He hasn’t been in the best form recently, allowing 23 earned runs in his last five starts and 24.2 innings pitched, resulting in an 8.39 ERA, 7.13 FIP, and a 1.46 WHIP. The worst of those starts was back on 7/10, when he went just one inning against the Dodgers, allowing nine earned runs on six hits and three walks. Hard to have a worse outing than that. In his other nine innings against the team this season, he’s had nine scoreless innings over three separate appearances. He has a 5.67 ERA and 5.84 FIP in 54.0 innings as a starter, compared to a 2.70 ERA and a 3.22 FIP in 30 innings as a reliever.

Last time out, Urías allowed only one run over 5.2 innings, giving up six hits and issuing no walks while striking out five. He’s coming off two consecutive strong starts against the first place San Francisco Giants (65-39), allowing just one run in each start, going 5.2 innings last time, and 7.0 the time before. After a bit of a rough patch in the middle of the season, Urías now has a 2.45 ERA over his last six starts. He’s faced Arizona just once this season, going 6.2 innings while allowing just one run on three hits while striking out eight. Like mentioned earlier, Hendricks and Urías have been tied atop the wins leaderboard for awhile now, and with Hendricks getting a win in his most recent start, Urías will need to match that to keep up. It’s not incredibly important, but he has an outside shot at 20 wins, which isn’t common anymore.

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There’s a lot going on here. Betts is back. Mitch White was optioned for space on the roster as he won’t be available for four days and bullpen games are taxing. Jimme Sherfy is injured. Zach McKinstry started the season off well, but then missed five weeks with an oblique injury, and has slashed .175/.232/.330 in his 113 plate appearances since returning, with a 31.0% strikeout rate. Hopefully he figures it out soon, his versatility helps the team significantly if he can hit at a decent clip. Yefry Ramirez is a 27 year-old right hander with a 6.32 ERA in 89.2 MLB innings.

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Once again, the team will need Clayton Kershaw at some point down the stretch, but he needs to be fully healthy before he returns.

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Danny Duffy gets it. Also, his UCL is in tact which is good.

Considering he won’t be built up to a starter, a multi-inning relief role looks to be the case.

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First pitch is at 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!