Angels @ Dodgers August 8, 2021: Buehler goes for the series win

Dodger Stadium
Photo by: Cody Bashore

After today’s game, there will be just 50 left in the regular season for the Dodgers.

Nine of those will be against San Diego, six against Arizona and six with Colorado. Just three will be against the San Francisco Giants, who hold a 4-game lead in the NL West over the Dodgers entering Sunday.

It appears it will take the Dodgers finishing with the best record in baseball to extend their run of eight consecutive division titles. The Giants, 70-41 and three games up on the rest of the league, have 10 more games against the Padres, 10 against the Rockies and five with the Diamondbacks. Obviously there’s time to make up the difference, but falling behind by two more games in the past 10 has made it a bit more of a challenge.

Of course the Dodgers are on pace to be the run differential champs, and I don’t even want to look up what their expected/pythagorean record is because it’s likely to annoy me.

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Walker Buehler takes the ball on Sunday, looking to win this series against the Angels and somehow only split the season series with Anaheim. The Dodgers swept the six meetings in last year’s weird schedule, but lost all four in 2019, split in 2018 and 2017, and lost three of four in 2016. All of that is to say I honestly can’t believe how often the Dodgers struggle with the Angels, but this season’s result isn’t really outside of the norm.

Buehler did not pitch in the first series back in May, so he will get his first look at the team since last August. Meanwhile, Reid Detmers makes the second start of his career after being drafted 10th overall last June.

Between 12 starts in Double-A and one in Triple-A, Detmers struck out 106 across 60 IP. As a… Rocket City Trash Panda… Detmers finished with a 3.50 ERA/3.30 FIP/2.41 xFIP before throwing 6 scoreless innings in his lone start for the Salt Lake City Bees on July 24.

Allowing 6 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks in 4 1/3 IP against the A’s in his MLB debut on Aug. 1, Detmers homers to Matt Olson and Yan Gomes in the 3rd inning accounting for five of the six runs allowed. The lefty threw 31 four-seamers, 22 curves, 14 sliders, 11 sinkers and 4 changeups in his debut. The fastball sat right around 93 mph and the curve was as advertised in his scouting report, leading to just one base runner (a hit by pitch) in the 6 PAs it finished.

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1:10 PM Los Angeles
2B Fletcher 2B T. Turner
RF Eaton (L) 1B Muncy (L)
C Stassi LF Pollock
1B Gosselin 3B J. Turner
SS Iglesias SS Seager (L)
LF Adell CF Taylor
CF Marsh (L) C Smith
P Detmers (L) RF Bellinger (L)
3B Mayfield P Buehler (R)

It is a regularly scheduled off day for Mookie Betts which pushes AJ Pollock back into the lineup with Chris Taylor taking over center field for Cody Bellinger, who shifts to right. Pollock slashed .371/.424/.697/1.121 in 99 July PAs and is at .444/.474/.722/1.196 in his 19 through August so far.

The numbers say Pollock is having the best offensive season of his career with a 139 wRC+ and a .888 OPS, with his 2015 season at a 131 wRC+ and .865 OPS the only argument. Playing in a carer-high 157 games with 673 PAs that season makes 2015 a little more valuable overall, but a 33-year-old Pollock won’t be playing that heavy of a load again in his career. Safe to say that’s likely more than they could have asked for in the third year of his deal.

Meanwhile the Angels, who released their lineup less than an hour and a half before first pitch and annoyed me because I couldn’t just schedule this post early, there’s still no Jared Walsh and Shohei Ohtani is of course not in the field.

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Let’s welcome Justin Bruihl to the bullpen, as the Dodgers continue to make it hard to remember who is even out there each day.

An undrafted free agent signing at of Cal Poly SLO back in 2017, Bruihl just landed on Dustin’s list of guys who would likely land in the Top 50 last week. He was 74th in Dustin’s rankings in January 2020 and landed a mention in the All-Prospect Team back in September 2019 thanks to his .452 allowed that season.

Now 24 years old, Bruihl holds a 2.63 ERA between 26 games in Double-A and Triple-A. He’s struck out 50 in 37 2/3 IP this season whole walking just 10. He shifted up to OKC about a month into the season, meaning if he makes his MLB debut he will have debuted at three levels in 2021.

With Kevin Quackenbush called up yesterday, there’s now two options to become the 31st pitcher as well as the two needed on the roster to break the franchise record by becoming No. 32.

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As the tweet mentions, Garrett Cleavinger is headed to the IL and may be there for awhile. Meanwhile, the lineup is going to get even more crowded soon as Gavin Lux begins his rehab assignment.

Speaking of rehab, Corey Knebel is just about to return and push one of these recently recalled bullpen arms back out.

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In case you are planning to catch the Dodgers in Philadelphia, here’s when you can catch Max Scherzer in person.

Looking at the Dodgers schedule, there’s a chance it is Phillies, Mets and Mets for Scherzer’s next three starts. You have to admit, that’s pretty funny.

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First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m.

About Cody Bashore

Cody Bashore is a lifelong Dodger fan originally from Carpinteria, California (about 80 miles north of Dodger Stadium along the coast). He left California to attend Northern Arizona University in 2011, and has lived in Arizona full-time since he graduated in 2014 with a journalism degree. He now works for the university’s athletics department after spending seven years with the local newspaper.