Braves @ Dodgers August 30, 2021: Urias and the Dodgers welcome Atlanta to LA

Dodger Stadium
Photo by: Cody Bashore

The Dodgers topped their frustrating Friday night loss with an even more frustrating Sunday afternoon loss. They lost two of three against the Rockies, who entered the series with 15 wins away from Coors Field. Sunday’s game was impressively awful, as the Dodgers only managed three singles and three walks on offense. Justin Turner pitched in the ninth inning of a 5-0 game as Dave Roberts apparently thought the game was out of reach (and was super right).

Today, the Dodgers look to turn the page and welcome a team that tried to do the Dodgers a favor over the weekend. The Braves took two of three against the Giants this weekend, which under normal circumstances would be a big favor to a team hosting the Rockies for a weekend series. Instead, the Dodgers failed to gain ground and still sit 2.5 games back in the NL West. The Dodgers have 12 more wins this season than the 70-59 Braves, but Atlanta sits 4.5 games up in the shitshow that is the NL East.

7:10 P.M. Los Angeles
2B Albies (S) 2B T. Turner
RF Soler 1B Muncy (L)
1B Freeman (L) RF Betts
3B Riley 3B J. Turner
C d’Arnaud LF Pollock
SS Swanson SS Seager (L)
CF Duvall CF Taylor
LF Rosario (L) C Smith
P Smyly (L) P Urias (L)

Julio Urias gets the ball for his 26th start of the season. Urias has thrown 144 2/3 innings this season, which is more than he threw in the Majors from 2018-2020 combined (138.2). This is why the Dodgers opted for extra rest for the rotation in the Rockies series, pushing Max Scherzer out of the Giants series this weekend. Urias has been consistent in August, completing exactly five innings in each of his last four starts. Three of his four starts this month have been scoreless, and the other was a game against the Angels in which he allowed two earned runs (and one unearned). Urias has allowed one or fewer runs in seven of his last nine outings and opponents own a .546 OPS against Urias since July 2. Urias has topped 100 pitches only once this season and has been under 90 in six of his nine starts since July 2. Urias pitched in two games in the 2020 NLCS against the Braves. He allowed one run in five innings in Game 3 and the bullpen Urias legend began in Game 7, when Urias threw three perfect innings to close out the game and send the Dodgers to the World Series.

Opposing Urias is lefty Drew Smyly. Smyly is making his 23rd start of the season and has not been great this season, with a 4.54 ERA/5.04 FIP in 111 innings. The Braves are 8-1 in Smyly’s last nine starts despite him averaging under five innings per start and allowing three runs in six of those nine starts. Smyly is coming off a start in Baltimore where he allowed three runs, all on solo homers, over five innings. Smyly has had an issue with the longball this year, as his 23 home runs allowed are the fifth-most in the National League

Smyly only throws three pitches. He throws a four-seam fastball (average 92.1 MPH) 48.6 percent of the time, a curveball 78.8 percent of the time and a cutter 10.6 percent of the time. His fastball has been getting rocked this season, as 26 of the 62 hits he’s allowed off the fastball have gone for extra bases (including 11 home runs). Smyly is a lefty with slight reverse splits, with lefties OPSing .806 against him and righties OPSing .788, albeit in less than a third as many plate appearances.

The Dodgers run out their best (offensive) lineup, with Chris Taylor starting in center over the struggling Cody Bellinger. Bellinger showed his value with the glove yesterday, but his bat has been a glaring hole in a lineup that can’t afford many holes in it at this point. Joc Pederson is out of the lineup as the Braves also face a lefty.


Pitchers on the mend.

Tony Gonsolin and Clayton Kershaw each threw to hitters today. Gonsolin seems to be a bit closer to a potential return and could go out on a rehab assignment soon. Kershaw is still on the bullpen session/sim game side of the rehab process.


Your daily roster move.

Mitch White was optioned after his start yesterday. Evan Phillips, who I for one definitely remember throwing 2 1/3 innings against the Mets on August 19, returns from his IL stint for a quad sprain.


First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM PDT and will be shown on Sportsnet LA and ESPN.

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.