Dodgers @ Reds Sept. 19, 2021: Kershaw (and Gonsolin) vs. Miley in rubber match

The Dodgers are going for the series win against the Reds this morning in Cincinnati. They remain two games back of the Giants in the NL West, while the Reds are two games back of the Cardinals and their Devil Magic for the second NL Wild Card spot. Seems like a big game for both teams.

10:10 a.m. Cincinnati
RF Betts 2B India
2B T. Turner SS Farmer
3B J. Turner RF Castellanos
1B Pujols 1B Stephenson
SS Seager 3B Suarez
C Smith LF Aquino
CF Taylor CF Barrero
LF Lux C Barnhart
P Kershaw (L) P Miley (L)

The duo of Clayton Kershaw and Tony Gonsolin get the ball for LA today, while the Reds counter with the good(?) Wade Miley. Where’s Scott Van Slyke when you need him?

Miley is pitching to a 3.09 ERA, 3.73 FIP and a 3.2 WAR. All would be career-bests if the season ended today. His profile hasn’t changed much in the last few years. The biggest difference in his pitch mix this year is a reduced number of curveballs (11.2% to 3.9%) with a slight uptick in slider (1.8% to 4.8%) and changeup usage (23.5% to 27.4%). Other than that, you’re going to see an 89-90 MPH fastball, a mid-80s cutter he’ll throw almost half the time and the aforementioned offspeed pitches.

For the Dodgers, Kershaw isn’t expected to go terribly deep in the game as he’s making just his second start back from the injured list. He lasted 4 1/3 innings in his previous start, so if he can make it through five innings, the Dodgers would probably consider that a win. The off day tomorrow means Gonsolin’s next turn in the rotation wouldn’t come until Saturday in Arizona, so he’ll throw a little bit today to try to stay on schedule.

The lineups for both teams look a bit different today with left-handed pitchers starting for each side. Albert Pujols, per usual, gets the start at first base, while Trea Turner moves up to the No. 2 spot in the lineup, which drops Corey Seager down to the No. 5 spot. Max Muncy is getting the day off. Cody Bellinger is still out with that fractured rib, so the suddenly resurgent Gavin Lux gets another start in the outfield.

In fact, the Reds have just one left-handed hitter starting today’s game. Tyler Stephenson — a catcher — is playing for Joey Votto at first base. Eugenio Suarez makes his first start of the series at third base. Suarez had been one of the best-producing third basemen in the NL over the past few seasons, but he’s in the midst of a miserable season that sees him hitting .178/.266/.386 with a 73 wRC+. He still has some sock (26 homers), but he has taken a step back this season. Also, the Reds’ potential shortstop of the future Jose Barrero is doing his best Lux/Chris Taylor impression and playing center field today.

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This isn’t terribly surprising. We’ll have to wait until 2022 to get the Tommy Kahnle experience (lots of fastballs and changeups).

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Last series of the year at Hell Field, and the Dodgers are throwing their best. Jon Gray was slated to pitch Tuesday against LA, but the Rockies moved his start up to today.

If you don’t live the LA viewing market and don’t have MLB TV, here’s an alternative to view today’s game.

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.