Braves @ Dodgers April 18, 2022: Kershaw starts series as Braves face a batter they used to Ynoa

Dodger Stadium
Photo: Cody Bashore

I’m sorry.

Unlike my puns, the Dodgers have started the season strong. After dropping two of three in Colorado, the Dodgers have won six straight and sit tied with the Mets and Giants with an MLB-high seven wins. The offense showed its explosiveness in the series against Cincinnati, as they had four separate innings scoring three or more runs. Andrew Heaney was great once again in his home debut, and the Dodgers outscored the Reds 26-7 in the four games.

Tonight kicks off a bit of a tougher week for the Dodgers, who host the reigning World Series champions for three games before heading down the 5 for their first look at the Padres. Atlanta sits at 5-6 on the young season. They’re looking for their first series win of the season after splitting series against the Reds and Padres and dropping two of three against the Nationals. The narratives will be in full force for this series, as Freddie Freeman gets his first look at his old club. Kenley Jansen will likely take the mound at Dodger Stadium in a different jersey for the first time in his 13-year career.

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7:10 PM Los Angeles
2B Albies (S) RF Betts
1B Olson (L) 1B Freeman (L)
3B Riley SS T. Turner
DH Ozuna 2B Muncy (L)
CF Duvall 3B J. Turner
C d’Arnaud C Smith
LF Arcia CF Bellinger (L)
RF Heredia DH Rios (L)
SS Swanson LF Lux (L)

Clayton Kershaw gets the ball for the Dodgers tonight. You may have heard about his first start of the season. Kershaw tossed seven perfect innings in his season debut in Minnesota, but was pulled at 80 pitches. Many were upset about this (rule number one of being a baseball fan, anything you disagree with is analytics), despite it probably (definitely) being the right decision for the team and for Kershaw’s arm.

Will Smith is catching Kershaw instead of Austin Barnes tonight, so we can all blame him if Kershaw allows a baserunner tonight.

Kershaw struck out 13 Twins in his first start of the season. The seven batters that put the ball in play didn’t do much, as he had a 78.8 MPH average exit velocity against him. Kershaw saw Atlanta once last season and struggled, allowing five runs and eight hits in six innings. All five runs came in the third inning, as he allowed a single and a walk before allowing two run-scoring singles and two run-scoring doubles.

Opposing Kershaw is 23-year-old Huascar Ynoa. Ynoa has appeared in parts of four big-league seasons, but didn’t get substantial innings until last season. He appeared in 18 games in 2021 (17 starts) and posted a 4.05 ERA/3.93 FIP in 91 innings. Tonight marks Ynoa’s first regular-season appearance against the Dodgers, but he did face them in the 2020 postseason. In Game 3 of the NLDS, the Dodgers scored 11 runs in the first inning off starter Kyle Wright (I remember this well, as I had a work meeting like half an hour before the game and ended up missing like seven runs). The Dodgers scored four more runs in the next two innings, but Ynoa took over for the last out of the third and ended up throwing four shutout innings. He allowed one hit and struck out four Dodgers in his four innings, but also issued four walks.

Ynoa had a rough 2022 debut against the Nationals. He allowed seven hits and five runs in only three innings. Ynoa faced three fewer batters in three innings than Kershaw did in seven innings.

Ynoa is primarily a fastball/slider pitcher. In 2021, Ynoa threw a slider 48.2 percent of the time and a four-seamer 40.5 percent of the time. He mixed in a changeup (mostly against lefties) and an occasional fastball that was classified as a sinker. He averages 96.5 mph on the fastball and his slider sits around 85 MPH.

Chris Taylor gets the day off today, with Gavin Lux starting in left, Max Muncy at second and Justin Turner at third. Edwin Rios will serve as the DH.


Kershaw was expected to go 75 pitches in his last start. There is a pitch count again tonight, but it might be a bit looser.

Would love for Roberts to have to decide whether or not to pull him from a perfect game again.


Freeman will add to his trophy case tonight.

Atlanta manager Brian Snitker will present Freeman with his 2021 Silver Slugger award before the game.


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

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.