Rockies @ Dodgers July 2, 2016: Chad Bettis’ Big Splits

Following up on last night’s victory, the Dodgers will take the field to face the Rockies’ Chad Bettis, who is having a very strange season. In 89 innings spread across 16 starts, Bettis has a 5.84 ERA (good enough for replacement-level in Colorado) to match a 4.27 FIP (almost two wins above replacement). Bettis’ big ERA-FIP gap is partially due to the fact that he simply has not been as effective with runners on base: He has a decent 13.3% K%-BB% with the bases empty and a 9.2% mark with runners on. When those runners reach scoring position, that number drops to 6.5%. Such a split could indicate that he has trouble pitching from the stretch when runners find the basepaths, something that happens often when pitching for the Rockies. It could also be luck. I don’t know, I haven’t really watched him before. Bettis’ velocity has been trending up lately: he averaged nearly 94mph on his fourseamer in June. He will also mix in a slider, two-seamer, change, and curve.

7:10 p.m. PT
Los Angeles
CF  Blackmon  2B  Kendrick
2B LeMahieu  SS  Seager
3B Arenado  3B  Turner
RF Gonzalez  1B  Gonzalez
LF Raburn  RF  Puig
1B Reynolds  CF  Thompson
SS Adames  LF  Van Slyke
C Wolters  C  Ellis
Bettis (R)
Kazmir (L)

The Dodgers have shuffled their lineup slightly to face the right-handed Bettis. Howie Kendrick is batting leadoff, something that would have made a lot more sense before the season began. Kendrick is playing at second base tonight, giving Chase Utley a rest. Scott Van Slyke will get the start in left field as a result. Yasiel Puig is back in the lineup after tweaking his shoulder on a slide home last night, and is hoping to continue his stretch of good hitting since his return from the disabled list. Puig is hitting .364/.417/.485 in 36 plate appearances since his arrival. The batting average is a little hollow since he’s only walked twice since (one in each of the last two games), but he only has five strikeouts in that span as well. Given how ugly his plate discipline numbers were before the injury, it’s still a step in the right direction.

Scott Kazmir takes the ball for the Dodgers tonight, hoping to look past his rough June. In that month, he pitched 25 innings in five starts, and didn’t make it past the sixth in any of them. He allowed a 5.40 ERA in that stretch. If you’re looking for good news, he only allowed two home runs in that span and managed a 3.84 FIP. Kazmir’s stuff is still there, and his changeup can look downright nasty at times, but his command simply has not come back. He’s also struggled to find the strike zone, something that hasn’t really happened since his return from indie ball. Somebody who is frequently throwing 77mph changeups down the middle might not be the right person to point to and say “he’ll match his FIP one day.” It’s frustrating because it all seems so close to working. With Clayton Kershaw gone, Kazmir will need to step up and take some of those innings on. It’s not impossible that it can happen, but it needs to happen soon.

As of now, Hyun-jin Ryu‘s timetable remains a mystery. Ryu “touched 90” in yesterday’s six inning rehab start in Rancho, which is a more charitable way of saying that he averaged 87-88. Ryu would average between 91 and 92 before his injury, and his performance was tied pretty directly to his velocity on any given day. If his fastball now is slower than his slider was then, that’s not exactly encouraging. He may have to become a different type of pitcher if he wants to find success again.

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About Daniel Brim

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Daniel Brim grew up in the Los Angeles area but doesn't live there anymore. He still watches the Dodgers and writes about them sometimes.