Dodgers @ Padres June 21, 2021: Urias vs Darvish to open the series

Despite the end of the bullpen’s best (or worst?) efforts, the Dodgers took care of business in Arizona with a three game sweep of the Diamondbacks. A 9-2 lead became 9-8 in the eighth inning, forcing the Dodgers to use two leverage arms for no reason other than avoiding a humiliating defeat to a team that’s lost 17-straight. They escaped, and begin a three-game series in San Diego.

The Padres were on a downward spiral of their own, as they lost seven of eight and were swept by the Rockies. They turned the tide before the Dodger series, sweeping the Reds in a four-game set and outscoring them 24-15. The Dodgers sit 1.5 games behind the Giants, who are off today but begin a series against the Angels tomorrow. They’re also 3.5 games up on the Padres, so no matter what happens this series the Dodgers will be no worse than second place in the NL West.

7:10 PM San Diego
CF Betts LF Pham
SS Lux (L) SS Tatis Jr.
3B Turner 1B Cronenworth (L)
C Smith 3B Machado
1B Beaty (L) RF Myers
2B Taylor CF Grisham (L)
RF McKinstry (L) 2B Kim
LF Reks (L) C Caratini (S)
P Urias (L) P Darvish (R)

Julio Urias will make his 15th start of the season tonight, which matches his career high from his rookie season. Urias has statistically been the worst Dodger starter this season, which says more about the quality of the pitching staff than it does Urias. His 3.54 ERA is the worst in the Dodger rotation and nearly exactly middle-of-the-pack of all qualified starters (32nd out of 63). His 1.000 WHIP is 15th in baseball and his 3.9 percent walk-rate is the fourth best. Not too shabby for the number four starter.

Urias threw a season-high 96 pitches in his last start against the Phillies and allowed two earned runs (three runs total) in 5 2/3 innings. He’s struck out five batters and allowed one home run in each of his last four starts. This will be Urias’ first look against the Padres this season, but he had success against them in 2020. He allowed two runs and five hits in 6 1/3 innings when he saw the Padres in the regular season, and held them to an unearned run in five innings of relief in Game 3 of the NLDS. The Dodgers scored 11 runs in the regular season game and 12 in the playoff game, so they should consider that strategy again.

It’ll be a tiny bit tougher today, as Yu Darvish starts for the Padres. Darvish has been excellent in his first season as a Padre, with a 2.57 ERA/3.25 FIP in 15 starts/84 innings. He’s had a rougher go of it of late, as he’s allowed 12 runs in his last 22 1/3 innings over his last four starts (one of which came at Coors). Darvish saw the Dodgers in back-to-back April starts and dominated both games. He allowed one hit and one run over seven innings in San Diego on April 17, and followed that up allowing four hits and a run over seven innings in Los Angeles on April 23.

Baseball Savant has seven pitches listed for Darvish, which seems like a fun thing to deal with. One of those is a changeup that he’s allegedly thrown exactly once in 2021. He primarily throws a cutter, slider and four-seam fastball, and mixes in a curve, splitter and sinker. His cutter has been his most-thrown pitch this year (38.7 percent) and it’s also been the pitch thats been hit the most. Opponents are hitting .356 (xBA .288) and slugging .635 (xSLG .498) against it.

The Dodgers are running out a mostly-normal lineup with one exception that I’ll get to in a bit. Fernando Tatis Jr. is back in the lineup after injuring his shoulder again in Saturday’s game against Cincinnati.


Zach Reks SZN

The Dodgers promoted Reks today and sent Edwin Uceta to OKC. Uceta was the main culprit in Arizona’s near-comeback yesterday, and he’s been demoted.

Reks will make his Major League debut, hitting ninth and starting in left. Reks was Dustin’s 33rd-ranked prospect in his preseason rankings, and he pointed out that power would determine Reks’ value. Reks has been lighting up Triple-A, with a .341/.445/.577 slash line in 147 plate appearances. 18 of his 42 hits this season have been for extra bases (five homers and 14 doubles).

He’s (don’t do it) been (stop it) wrecking Triple-A this year, so his reward is a debut against one of the best pitchers in baseball.


Reks might have a short-lived call up, as two key bats are slated to return from the IL over the next two days.

Max Muncy is slated to return tomorrow, and Cody Bellinger should be back for the series finale on Wednesday. The Dodgers caught a bit of a break, losing both of them during a stretch of games against lower-quality opponents. It’ll be good to have them back in the lineup against the Padres and with series against the Cubs and Giants upcoming.


New shirt alert.

Definitely in the top-two shirts about dunking on someone that I’ve seen in the last couple days.

Trust the process. Buy a shirt.


First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM PDT and will be shown on ESPN (if you don’t live in-market or are a masochist) and on Sportsnet LA. It might start at 7 ESPN is being weird about it.

About Alex Campos

I've been writing about the Dodgers since I graduated from Long Beach State, where I covered the Dirtbags in my senior year. I'm either very good or very bad at puns.