Coming off a nine game winning streak, the Dodgers (53-33) have now dropped the first two games of a four game series against the last place Miami Marlins (37-47). The San Francisco Giants (53-32) lost again, so their division lead remains just half a game. The team had plenty of opportunities to win both of these first two games, but haven’t been able to muster anything together offensively or defensively. The game tonight features a matchup between two bullpens, led by Ross Detwiler and Jake Reed.
|RF||Betts||2B||Chisholm Jr. (L)|
|CF||Bellinger (L)||LF||Sánchez (L)|
|P||Reed (R)||P||Detwiler (R)|
The offense has been struggling as of late (for players of their caliber), with that nine game winning streak primarily being carried by their pitching. Considering they had that winning streak, it’s impressive that the team managed that with a relatively mediocre offense over that stretch, with the 16th ranked OPS at .748, and 15th ranked wRC+ at 109, with the fifth highest strikeout rate in baseball. Over their last three games, the team has 40 strikeouts in 127 plate appearances. That’s a 31.5% strikeout rate, compared to their season average of just 23.1%, which is just ahead of the major league average at 23.8%. A 31.5% strikeout rate is just below that of slugger Joey Gallo at 31.7%, the king of three true outcomes.
Cody Bellinger has five hits in the last two weeks, hitting .135 with a .589 OPS, AJ Pollock has six, hitting .171 with a .723 OPS. Over the last two weeks, the team has just two full time players with an OPS above .750. For reference, Zach McKinstry has a .736 OPS on the season, and league average OPS is .717. Those two are Justin Turner and Max Muncy, both of which have been absolutely crushing it. Turner has a .958 OPS over the last two weeks, with 16 hits, hitting .381 with a .458 On-Base Percentage. Muncy has a 1.075 OPS over that stretch, with ten hits, four homers, ten walks, and just six strikeouts.
Albert Pujols hits second for the first time this year, most likely just to get him a couple friendly matchups against the left-handed opener. If the team hits how they can and pitches how they can, they should have the advantage both today and tomorrow, however, they need to execute. If it’s a close division race which it looks like it will be, these are the games you need to win.
Detwiler has made two starts this season out of his 30 total appearances. His most recent outing was three scoreless innings against the Atlanta Braves, pitching the first three innings of the game after yesterday’s starter, Pablo Lopez, was ejected after just one pitch in that start. That was Detwiler’s season high for innings, and he’s pitched more than one inning on just five other occasions. He threw 41 pitches in that most recent outing, so I’m sure Miami would love to get three innings from him again. Overall, he’s been strong for the Marlins, with 36 strikeouts in 30.2 innings, good for a 27.9% strikeout rate. He’s also a little susceptible to issuing walks, with eleven allowed, for an 8.5% walk rate.
Miami has the seventh lowest bullpen ERA in baseball at 3.45, compared to the fourth ranked Dodgers’ bullpen at 3.39. (No clue how this is possible, feels like a lie). The Marlins also have the lowest FIP of all relief staffs at 3.45, while the Dodgers are fifth at 3.74.
In his MLB debut last night, Reed recorded two outs against the Marlins, allowing one run (unearned) on two hits and a walk with one strikeout. Now he’ll have a quick turnaround and open the game for the team. Dating back to 6/28, the Dodgers’ bullpen has just a 1.09 ERA over 33 innings, far ahead of the Brewers who are second in ERA over that stretch at 1.82. Their 2.90 FIP since then is also the lowest in the league. Overall, the team has been carried by the pitching, with just a 1.81 ERA, 2.86 FIP, and a 1.06 WHIP since their winning streak began. That total ERA and FIP are the lowest among the league since that stretch began, with only the Rangers featuring a lower WHIP at 1.02. The team is good enough to go on stretches like this previous one all the time, but it’s hard to expect that out of their pitching constantly.
This is not what you want. Let’s hope that this is a precautionary move in order to get Clayton Kershaw extra rest, and he doesn’t need to start until after the All-Star break. If he were to start the first game after the All-Star break on July 16, that would be almost a full two week rest for him, last starting on July 3.
I really want Mitch White to be good. He has a 3.77 ERA and 3.80 FIP over 14.1 innings in the MLB this season, but has a 1.60 WHIP with eight walks in those 14 innings. It seems like anytime he comes in, either he gives up a run, or an inherited runner scores. Naturally, the corresponding move in hindsight of me posting this is Kershaw going on the IL.
I don’t know much about Darien Nunez at all. He’s a 28 year-old lefty who has averaged more than 12 strikeouts per nine innings at every level he’s been at in the Minor Leagues. He’s had 39 strikeouts in 29 innings in Triple-A this season, with a 2.79 ERA.
I don’t know what the Dodgers love so much about Yoshi Tsutsugo, but they have faith in the former Japanese slugger. Currently he’s only 32 home runs away from catching Shohei Ohtani for the most home runs in baseball.
First pitch is at 4:10 PM PDT on SNLA.