The Dodgers returned to action yesterday after an off day and a rainout gave them two days off. They responded pretty well, winning both games of the doubleheader and outscoring the Cubs 13-2 in the two games. The Dodgers got 12 innings combined out of their starters and Reyes Moronta was the only reliever to throw over 20 pitches (though Brusdar Graterol did toss two innings in the nightcap), so they should be in relatively good shape tonight. On the other hand, the Cubs had a bullpen game in the nightcap and used seven different pitchers in just the night game (and three in the day game). Furthermore, their schedule starter for tonight’s game was scratched a few hours before gametime.
|SS||T. Turner||LF||Happ (S)|
|3B||Muncy (L)||1B||Rivas (L)|
|CF||Bellinger (L)||3B||Villar (S)|
|P||Buehler (R)||P||Steele (R)|
Walker Buehler starts tonight, looking to give the Dodgers their sixth straight win. He turned in a solid start last time out despite struggling with efficiency. He needed 92 pitches to complete five shutout innings against the Tigers and allowed six hits, a walk and a hit batsman. Buehler has nearly halved his ERA over his last two starts. He left his third start of the season with a 4.02 ERA and currently sits at 2.11 (starts against Arizona and Detroit will do that), as he hasn’t allowed a run in 14 consecutive innings. Buehler saw the Cubs twice in 2021 and lasted six innings in both starts. He allowed two earned and five hits in Chicago and allowed three earned and six hits at Dodger Stadium.
Marcus Stroman was the scheduled Cub starter today, but he was placed on the IL with no injury designation (which generally means COVID-related) earlier today. Justin Steele was originally scheduled to start the Cubs opener in San Diego tomorrow, but instead starts tonight. He made five starts in April and didn’t last very long in any of them, only making it into the fourth twice and completing five once. His last three starts have been especially rough, as he’s combined for 8 2/3 innings in his last three outings and allowed 11 runs (nine earned) and walked eight batters while striking out only seven. The Dodgers saw Steele once last season, in the ninth inning of the second game of a double header (which was technically extra innings last season). He stranded the free runner on second by getting two strikeouts and a fly out (and intentionally walking AJ Pollock) and picked up the win as the Cubs walked off in the bottom of the inning.
This could be classification error, but Steele seems to be changing up how he pitched in 2021. Last season, he threw a four-seamer 45.4 percent of the time and a sinker 20.4 percent of the time (while also throwing a slider and curveball each >15 percent of the time). So far this season, he’s using his four-seamer 60.9 percent of the time and has only thrown what’s been classified as a sinker 4.7 percent. Steele has allowed 60 “batted ball events” this season and has only allowed four extra-base hits (three doubles and a homer).
Both teams were granted a 27th player for the doubleheader yesterday. They had to get back down to 26 today.
Some promising Andrew Heaney news.
Heaney will start a throwing program tomorrow after being sidelined since April 17 with a shoulder injury. Tyler Anderson has held his own in the rotation in Heaney’s absence, but Heaney was throwing the ball real well in his first two starts. Despite Heaney’s injury, the Dodger pitching staff has been incredible this season.
Some less-promising injury news.
Victor Gonzalez will be sidelined at least a month after undergoing a procedure in his left elbow. Seems bad, IMO.
More bad bullpen news.
Not the biggest surprise that he’s opting to do his own research on this, but Blake Treinen will likely be sidelined until after the All Star break.
Seems good, imo.
The Dodgers will call up a pitcher for the series finale in Pittsburgh on Wednesday.
First pitch is scheduled for 4:00 PM PDT and will be shown on ESPN. Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there.