Chad summed up the Dodgers’ seven-game road trip well in his most recent recap, “In the series finale of a four-game series against the Brewers (63-55), the Dodgers (81-36) ended up with a split thanks to a 5-3 loss. Their road trip came to a close at a decent 4-3 clip, but one far off their season pace.“
Going into tonight’s game, the Dodgers hold a 17.0 game lead in the NL West over the Padres (66-55), a 6.0 game lead in the NL over the New York Mets (76-43), and a 5.5 game lead over the Astros (77-43) for the best record in baseball. They’ll play six games here at home, three against Miami (52-66) followed by three more against Milwaukee. After that, they’ll go on the road to once again face the Marlins. These two teams will play six games against each other within the next ten days, and the first of these features a strong left-handed matchup, with Tyler Anderson up against the 24 year-old Jesus Luzardo.
|7:10 PM||Los Angeles|
|P||Luzardo (L)||P||Anderson (L)|
Here’s how the Dodgers and Marlins compare offensively.
Starting with the good, the Marlins lead all of baseball with 100 steals. Jon Berti has 30 steals which leads all of baseball and has been caught just four times, all in just 64 games. Overall, offensively Berti has been one of their better players with a 114 wRC+ and .735 OPS, but with his plus defense and base running, that puts him at 2.0 fWAR over his 64 games played. Solid.
Now to start the bad, the Marlins had two All-Star position players this season, however both are currently out with injuries, with Jazz Chisholm on the 60-day IL with a back injury, and Garrett Cooper on the 7-day concussion IL. Since 7/29, the Marlins have just a 76 wRC+ and have scored a total of 41 runs over their last 19 games, hardly over two runs per game. The Marlins can pitch, but they were never going to hit enough to contend for anything. For comparison, the Dodgers have scored 112 runs over that same stretch.
Against left-handed pitching, the Dodgers are led by Mookie Betts (174 wRC+, .984 OPS), Trea Turner (169 wRC+, .973 OPS), Will Smith (156 wRC+, .904 OPS), and Freddie Freeman (130 wRC+, .808 OPS). It’s tough to figure out, but Trayce Thompson will likely need to start hitting better against left-handed pitching. He’s been great for the Dodgers overall, but with Joey Gallo likely getting a good chunk of plate appearances against right-handed pitching, Thompson will need to be the opposite side of that platoon for this to work. Thompson features drastic reverse splits, currently slashing just .179/.258/.321 against left-handed pitching, good for a 67 wRC+, compared to .323/.429/.600 against right-handed pitching, a 188 wRC+.
Here’s how the two pitchers matchup, and as Luzardo has thrown just 46 innings, the rankings are how Anderson looks against 59 qualified starters.
Anderson has been excellent on the year, overall performing as a top twenty pitcher in baseball the entire season. Last time out however, he took his second loss of the season, coming Sunday in Kansas City. He allowed three runs on seven hits, a walk and a hit batter while striking out four in six innings. He allowed a run to score in the first, third and sixth innings. He managed to navigate other trouble as he left a runner in scoring position in four of his six frames. Overall, he has seven quality starts in his last eight outings and has compiled a 2.15 ERA, and a 0.97 WHIP, with just two homers allowed in 50.1 innings in that span.
Coming off a pretty excellent July, Anderson has made three starts in August thus far and has had mixed results. Against the Padres he went seven scoreless innings allowing just a total of three baserunners, but that start is sandwiched in between a five run outing against the Giants and a three run outing his last time out against the Royals.
Anderson might not rack up the strikeouts, but he hardly walks anyone, gets chases, and generates soft contact at an elite rate.
Luzardo allowed four earned runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out six across five innings to take the loss in the first game of a doubleheader against Atlanta in his last time out. He worked three scoreless innings but allowed five batters to reach base in the fourth frame, resulting in all three earned runs. He also served up a solo home run to Matt Olson, the only long ball he’s surrendered across 17 innings since returning from the injured list on 8/1. Despite the relatively poor outing, he has has maintained a 3.18 ERA and 17 strikeouts to just three walks in that span.
He was one of the best pitching prospects in all of baseball by multiple outlets for awhile, and is now currently in his fourth season but is still incredibly young and has had limited amounts of consistent playing time. He’s made a total of 52 appearances, with 36 starts over 212.1 innings in four seasons, with a 5.00 ERA, 4.48 FIP, and 1.35 WHIP. FanGraphs however puts it well, “Luzardo has upper-90s gas, perhaps the best slider in the minors, and impressive command for someone with such a high-effort delivery. He’s a front-end talent with a semi-scary injury history.”. He’s made just three starts in August after missing almost three months, but with his improved performance this year, he’s matching that description pretty well.
He throws four pitches, a fastball/sinker combo that sits in the upper 90’s throwing each roughly a quarter of the time. His primary off-speed pitch is a low to mid 80’s curveball that he throws more than a third of the time, and an upper 80’s changeup that rounds out his arsenal. The fastballs feature premium velocity, but both of his off-speed pitches are his bread and butter, so if he gets ahead in the count he’ll be a tough pitcher to face.
Overall it seems like both Clayton Kershaw and Yency Almonte are likely on pace to be activated in the first or second week of September. Additionally, Brusdar Graterol is almost back. One of Phil Bickford or Reyes Moronta might be the odd man out.
First pitch is at 7:10 PM PDT on SNLA and MLB Network.