Diamondbacks @ Dodgers September 22, 2022: Five-game series comes to a close

Dodger Stadium Entrance
Photo by: Cody Bashore

Dropping a second straight game for the first time since Sept. 1 and 2 against the Mets and Padres, the Dodgers will look to avoid a losing a series for the first time since New York took two of three back at the start of the month as well.

Entering the Thursday night at 103-46, the Dodgers lost last night as Madison Bumgarner earned his first victory since July by allowing just one run and one hit across 6 innings of work. Mookie Betts‘ homer was the only offense while Dustin May allowed five runs on seven hits and two walks in 4 innings.

With Julio Urias and Zac Gallen on the mound, two of the leagues top 10 in ERA face off as the Diamondbacks look to secure their first series victory in Los Angeles since 2018.

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7:10 PM Los Angeles
2B Marte (S) SS Turner
LF Garrett 1B Freeman (L)
1B Rivera C Smith
DH Walker 3B Muncy (L)
C Kelly DH Turner
RF Luplow RF Gallo (L)
3B Alcantara (S) 2B Lux (L)
CF Varsho (L) LF Thompson
SS Perdomo (S) CF Bellinger (L)
P Gallen (R) P Urias (L)

Betts gets the day off and there’s five lefties in the order against Gallen. Right-handed batters have actually had more success this season at .222/.287/.340 and a wOBA of .279 to lefties’ .148/.223/.251 and wOBA of .216.

Over the past 15 days, Freddie Freeman is slashing .404/.517/.617/1.134 with three homers and 12 walks while Max Muncy is .308/.413/.615/1.028 and Justin Turner is .333/.407/.604/1.012.

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Gallen’s scoreless innings streak of 44 1/3 innings came to an end back on Sept. 11 when he allowed three runs across 6 innings to the Rockies. The Padres scored two more in Gallen’s 5 1/3 innings the next time out on Sept. 17, the first time he allowed runs in back-to-back outings since July 27 and Aug. 2.

As the season has gone on, Gallen has slightly upped his curveball usage, throwing the pitch 23.1% of the time in August and 27.7% in three September starts, after sitting at 16.6% back in May. Excluding his slider that he’s thrown just 29 times this season, Gallen’s curveball holds the best BA (.168), .xBA (.180), SLG (.248), xSLG (.239), wOBA (.192), and xWOBA (.198) of his five pitches. Sitting at a 33.8 Whiff%, the curveball has predictably been incredibly effective when Gallen has two strikes or is at least ahead against batters.

Sitting at -11 in Run Value, the curve is tied for 44th among all qualified pitches in the league (with Tony Gonsolin‘s slider) while his four-seamer at -15 is tied for 22nd in the league (along with Gonsolin’s splitter). Point being, Gallen’s top two pitches have essentially been as effective as Gonsolin’s prior to the injury, which has pushed the D-backs’ righty up to a tie for 8th in ERA (2.52), tied for 10th in FIP (3.03) and tied for 16th in xFIP (3.41) across 164 innings which ranks just outside the Top 30 in the league. The ERA peaked at 3.62 in early July before coming down more than a run thanks to the scoreless innings streak that included games against the Pirates, Rockies, Giants, Royals, Phillies and Brewers.

Somehow Gallen has faced the Dodgers just once this season when he held Los Angeles scoreless in 6 innings with just two hits and two walks allowed in a 3-1 victory. In 2021, Gallen faced the Dodgers three times from July 30th on, allowing 16 hits, seven runs and six walks while striking out 20 in 17 1/3 innings.

For Urias, it has still been two runs or less allowed in each of his past 11 outings since July 16th.

Last time out against the Giants, Urias allowed just one run on five hits and a walk, but struck out eight batters to match his third best total in a game this season.

At 47.6% fastball and 32.7 curveball, Urias is down to just 17.7% change, though the pitch holds his best Whiff% at 30.6 this year. In his age-25 season, having turned 26 in mid-August, Urias has impressively followed up last season’s 20-win season and 2.96 ERA with another 17 wins, career-best 2.27 ERA and best batting average against as it has dipped below .200 to 1.96 this year.

The difference has seemed to be at least in part to the curveball, was used at 22.6 during the pandemic season. At a -10 Run Value, the curve is tied for 57th this season and his four-seamer is at -16 (T-18th) with one of the league’s best Hard Hit % at that usage of the pitch. Among the pitchers with at least 250 PAs against a four-seamer, Urias trails only Max Fried, Justin Steele, Pablo Lopez and Dylan Cease in Hard Hit %, with two of those four among the league’s best pitchers alongside Urias himself.

Using the same minimums, Urias’ 23.2 Put Away % with the four-seamer is fifth best, trailing Gerrit Cole, Carlos Rodon, Robbie Ray and Spencer Strider this season.

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Brusdar Graterol is back, Justin Bruihl is optioned out. Graterol last pitched on August 28, his fourth appearance in seven days before going on the IL. Previously, he’d been out from July 10 to August 22.

David Price and Gonsolin threw simulated innings ahead of today’s game as they work their way back from the IL Also, Daniel Hudson who will not return from the IL will be back in 2023.

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Here’s the probables, with one TBA, for this weekend against the Cardinals. Honestly, just let Hanser Alberto go out there on Sunday and make sure Albert gets 700.

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First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. on SportsNet LA.

About Cody Bashore

Cody Bashore is a lifelong Dodger fan originally from Carpinteria, California (about 80 miles north of Dodger Stadium along the coast). He left California to attend Northern Arizona University in 2011, and has lived in Arizona full-time since he graduated in 2014 with a journalism degree. He now works for the university’s athletics department after spending seven years with the local newspaper.