Rockies @ Dodgers July 3, 2016: Welcome Back, Brandon McCarthy

1:10 p.m. PT
Los Angeles
CF  Blackmon  2B  Utley
2B LeMahieu  SS  Seager
RF Gonzalez  3B  Turner
3B Arenado  1B  Gonzalez
1B Descalso  CF  Thompson
C Hundley  LF  Kendrick
SS Adames  RF Puig
LF Barnes  C  Grandal
Gray (R)
McCarthy (R)

Brandon McCarthy‘s last major league game was on April 25th, 2015. He allowed six runs on six hits to the Padres and surrendered three home runs. He only made four starts the year after signing his four year contract. His strikeout rate was sky-high, but he also allowed nine homers over that span. Fourteen months later, he’s back in Dodger blue, taking the ball as the Dodgers attempt to sweep the Rockies. Nobody really knows what to expect from McCarthy, but it will be good to see him back on the mound. The Dodgers will certainly be hoping for the 2014 Yankees version of McCarthy, not the 2014 Diamondbacks version.

To make room for McCarthy on the roster, Brock “Brock Brock” Stewart has been optioned. That’s kind of a shame, because despite the results, Stewart looked quite good in his major league debut. His fastball has a lot of natural sink and run to it, and his changeup looked pretty good at times. He still has things he can work on in the minors (slider), and his arm may still be needed as the season continues on. If nothing else, Stewart could be an emergency ground ball pitcher in the bullpen down the stretch, something which the Dodgers (27th in bullpen GB/FB ratio) could definitely use.

The Dodgers are putting their standard RHP lineup against Rockies starter Jon Gray. Gray has had an okay year by FIP, but like Chad Bettis, Gray has struggled with runners on base. Gray has a 20.1% K%-BB% with the bases empty, 16.1% with runners on, and 13.8% with runners in scoring position. On top of that, Gray has a home run problem (beyond what you’d normally expect for a Rockies pitcher). He’s allowed 11 homers in his 13 starts so far this season, and about 20% of his fly balls have gone over the fence. MLB as a whole has been on the edge of steroid-era home run rates this season, but Gray has felt this worse than most in his short major league stint. Vin Scully teased today’s game by claiming that Gray is a real-life Ghostbuster, so there will at least be some interesting stories.

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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.