Dodgers @ Padres September 11, 2022: Heaney on the mound with NL West clinch growing closer

After dropping the first game of this series against the Padres (77-63), the Dodgers (95-43) bounced back last night in dominant fashion, beating San Diego by a score of 8-4. The team got ahead early and never looked back, and it only ended up being a four run victory due to some Heath Hembree shenanigans in the ninth inning. With that win, the Dodgers’ magic number to win the NL West is down to just four games. They’re 11-4 against San Diego this season and have outscored them 89-39. They lead the Astros by 6.5 games and the Mets by 8.0 games for the best record in baseball and the National League respectively. The team looks for the series win today with Andrew Heaney on the mound up against the right-handed Joe Musgrove.

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1:10 PM San Diego
RF Betts SS Kim
SS T. Turner RF Soto (L)
1B Freeman (L) 3B Machado
C Smith DH Bell (S)
DH Muncy (L) 1B Myers
3B J. Turner 2B Cronenworth (L)
LF Gallo (L) LF Profar (S)
2B Taylor C Nola
CF Bellinger (L) CF Azocar
P Heaney (L) P Musgrove (R)

Gavin Lux is still out, so Chris Taylor will play second base. Max Muncy is back in the lineup and will be the designated hitter and bat fifth. Joey Gallo will be in left field against the right-handed Musgrove, with Cody Bellinger back in the lineup and starting in center field. It’ll be interesting to watch this unfold, as Trayce Thompson has been crushing right-handed pitching, Taylor has been struggling as has Bellinger. When Lux is back, can Chris Taylor go back to left field over the likes of Thompson or Gallo? Or both? Bellinger has been bad at the plate and it’s likely that if this were a game seven, the best lineup (health permitting) might include Gallo and Thompson over Bellinger and Taylor.

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Here’s how Musgrove and Heaney matchup.

Musgrove allowed four earned runs on nine hits and two walks while striking out three over 4.1 innings against the Diamondbacks last Tuesday. He snapped a seven-start streak of allowing a home run in his last outing, but the Diamondbacks had no trouble teeing off on him last time. All three of the homers he allowed were solo shots, and he was let off the hook for the loss as the Padres rallied for a walkoff win. He now owns a 3.16 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 152 strikeouts and 33 walks through 153.2 innings this year, though he’s posted a 4.70 ERA across seven starts since the beginning of August. He faced the Dodgers just once this season, going seven innings allowing three earned runs with ten strikeouts.

Heaney allowed six runs on six hits, a walk and one HBP while striking out eight over 5.1 innings as he took the loss versus the Giants on Monday. All of the runs against Heaney came via the home run, allowing four home runs in this outing and has now given up an astonishing ten over his last four starts. This was arguably his worst start of the season, and it raised his ERA to 2.94 with a 1.08 WHIP and 78 strikeouts to 13 walks through 52 innings across 11 starts. His strikeout rate is elite at 35.1%, clearing Shohei Ohtani (33.0%) who is first among qualified starters. Shane McClanahan leads all starters in strikeout rate minus walk rate at 27.1%, and Heaney is at an exceptional 29.3%. His issue is obviously the long ball, as his home run to fly-ball rate of 20.4% would be the highest among qualified starters as well, clearing German Marquez at 18.0% who obviously pitches at Coors Field.

It’s very tricky. When Heaney gives up even a normal rate of home runs to fly-balls, he’s among the most elite starters in all of baseball. However, when he gives up ten homers in four starts, it’s hard to have much faith in him. Hopefully the Dodgers and him figure it out over the next few weeks, because if they do he’s a huge weapon for the team.

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Dave Roberts much like myself is very high on Julio Urias.

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This seems as if it could be great news for Blake Treinen, and hopefully he’s back soon.

Good updates on lots of players.

More good updates.

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First pitch is at 1:10 PM PDT on SNLA.

About Allan Yamashige

Just a guy living in Southern California, having a good time writing about baseball. Hated baseball practice as a kid, but writing about it rules. Thanks for reading!