Dodgers @ Nationals July 21, 2016: Julio Urias vs. Stephen Strasburg

The Dodgers are looking for the series win today, but it isn’t going to be easy. They’re facing one of the game’s best pitchers in Stephen Strasburg. They’re countering with Julio Urias. In a couple years, this is going to be a true marquee matchup.

9:05 a.m. PT
2B Utley 2B Turner
LF Kendrick CF Taylor
1B Gonzalez 3B Murphy
3B Turner RF Harper
CF Pederson 3B Rendon
SS Taylor C Ramos
RF Toles LF Heisey
C Ellis SS Espinosa
Urias (L)
Strasburg (R)

Urias has thrown all of one inning since last starting on July 4. The plan with him continues to be incredibly baffling.

I’m done trying to figure out what this team’s plan is for Urias this season.

The lineup looks good through the first five hitters (although, I’m not sure why Justin Turner and Adrian Gonzalez are flip-flopped), but then I remembered this is Dave Roberts. It’s a morning game on a get away day, so there has to be a couple wrinkles.

One isn’t his fault, as Corey Seager is missing his third consecutive game with a stomach virus. Here’s hoping he’s well enough to play this weekend in St. Louis.

After Joc Pederson hitting fifth, the lineup really thins out. Chris Taylor is having a nice start to his Dodger career, but has no business batting sixth. Andrew Toles is not your prototypical right fielder. I guess Yasiel Puig needs a day off (I know he doesn’t do well against high velocity), but if that’s the case, why not play Scott Van Slyke? And A.J. Ellis is, well, ‘tevs.

Anyhoo, onto some news.

To make room for these two lefties, Charlie Culberson and Zach Walters were optioned to Triple-A.

Grant Dayton, 28, is a soft-tossing lefty whom the Dodgers acquired for Chris Reed last year. Chris Hatcher was placed on the 60-day disabled list to make room for Dayton on the 40-man roster. He cannot return until almost late-September, so I’m guessing the MLB portion of his 2016 season is, in effect, over.

In 32 1/3 innings with OKC, Dayton struck out 57 batters (15.9 K/9) and walked just seven (1.9 BB/9). That also works out to a 45.6 K% and 5.6 BB%. He also had a 15 2/3-inning stint with Tulsa (48.3 K%, 5.3 BB%).

So, how does Dayton get so many strikeouts?

Fun! That makes four lefties in the Dodgers’ pen: Luis Avilan, Dayton, Adam Liberatore, J.P. Howell. There are now the same number of southpaws and righties in there, which isn’t a thing anyone thought would happen.

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About Dustin Nosler

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Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosted a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He was a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times and True Blue LA. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.