The Dodgers couldn’t have had a better start to their eight game road trip last night, beating the Rockies by a score of 13-0. They hit well off struggling pitchers, while Tyler Anderson put together yet another great performance. The offense scored those 13 runs on 14 hits and five walks with no home runs surprisingly. Anderson went seven innings with only four hits and no walks, lowering his ERA to 2.61 and improving his record to 11-1. Great stuff.
Tonight, the team will send out Julio Urias, forcing the Rockies to deal with yet another strong left-handed starter, while Colorado will start Chad Kuhl who dominated the Dodgers last time he faced them.
|3B||Muncy (L)||3B||McMahon (L)|
|P||Urías (L)||P||Kuhl (R)|
The Dodgers are the best offense in baseball against right-handed pitching, with a 121 wRC+ and a .779 OPS. Trayce Thompson has a 188 wRC+ and 1.022 OPS against RHP this season which leads the team, with Freddie Freeman (172 wRC+, .983 OPS), Gavin Lux (141 wRC+, .841 OPS), Trea Turner (134 wRC+, .831 OPS), and Mookie Betts (132 wRC+, .823 OPS) all performing excellent against righties as well.
If we look at the MLB leaders in hits, we see Trea (124 hits) and Freeman (123 hits) sitting first and second. The NL leader in batting average is Paul Goldschmidt at .335, with Freeman second at .323, Trea third at .312, and Lux fourth at .307. Freeman is second in the NL in OBP at .401, Lux is fifth at .382, and Trea is 15th at .356. Some very very high level hitters in the heart of this order.
Here’s how the two starters compare amongst 77 starting pitchers with at least 90 innings pitched.
Urías allowed two hits and two walks while striking out five over six shutout innings, earning his ninth win last Saturday over the Giants. Austin Slater got on base three times against Urías, but he allowed only two other baserunners besides that. This was Urías’ third quality start in four outings in July, as he continues to post excellent ratios with a 2.72 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 99 strikeouts to just 24 walks in 102.2 innings across 19 starts. He has struggled in Colorado however, allowing six earned runs across 7.1 innings in two starts at Coors Field this season, accounting for two of his five outings with three or more runs allowed. He’s made 11 appearances in Colorado in his career, with a 5.81 ERA and 1.44 WHIP over 48.0 innings. Easily his worst numbers in any singular park.
After a very abnormally low strikeout rate to start his season, over his last ten starts and 55.2 innings pitched, he’s had a 29.1% strikeout rate with 65 strikeouts in that stretch. He had just an 18.3% strikeout rate over his first 9 starts, with 34 strikeouts in 47 innings. Additionally, he averaged 94.6 MPH on his fastball last outing which is an extremely promising sign after sitting in the 91-92 MPH range earlier this season.
Meanwhile for Kuhl, he allowed five runs on five hits, two walks and one HBP while striking out four in 2.1 innings in his last outing. He faced eight batters and yielded three runs in the first inning and two more runs on a Hunter Renfroe homer in the third. Altogether, eight of the 16 batters that Kuhl faced reached safely. It’s been feast or famine for him all season, as he’s pitched six innings and allowed one or fewer runs five times and been knocked around for five or more runs five other times. Last time he faced the Dodgers, he had his best start of his career, throwing a complete game shutout in Colorado, allowing just three hits with five strikeouts. He had a 3.95 ERA and 4.21 FIP going into that start, and has allowed 17 earned runs in his last 17 innings and four starts to move his ERA and FIP up into the mid 4’s. He has a career 4.45 ERA and 4.61 FIP in 534.0 MLB innings, the Dodgers should be able to hit him.
His Statcast profile doesn’t look particularly pretty. He’s primarily a three pitch guy, with a low to mid 90’s sinker he throws 42.3% of the time, a slider as his main offspeed pitch that he throws 35.7% of the time in the mid 80’s, with his curveball and changeup taking up the remaining 20% of his arsenal.
Max Muncy has plenty of time to figure things out as the division race isn’t tight this year, but it’s hard to see him getting consistent AB’s in the postseason if he keeps performing how he has been.
Danny Duffy getting healthy enough to join the team out of the pen down the stretch would be exciting as he’s still yet to make his Dodgers debut.
Dustin May getting closer to returning is super exciting for him and the team.
They could just put him on the IL to ensure he gets fully healthy, especially as the team has a 12 game division lead and guys like Jake Lamb deserve more at bats to see what their potential roles could look like later in the season. I don’t know why they do this but they know more than me.
First pitch is at 5:40 PM PDT on SNLA.