Guardians @ Dodgers June 17, 2022: Kershaw opens the weekend interleague series on Apple TV+

Photo: Stacie Wheeler

The Dodgers hit a rough stretch over the last couple weeks, as a 2-6 stretch allowed the Padres to creep up into a tie for first in the NL West. The Dodgers rebounded with a two-game sweep of the Angels, but now trail the Padres by a half game as they won yesterday during the Dodgers day off. Today the Dodgers open another interleague series, this time against the surprising Cleveland Guardians. Cleveland didn’t enter the season with high expectations and were rumored to be shopping their franchise player in the offseason, but currently find themselves in second place in the (weak) AL Central and ahead of the White Sox, who were a popular preseason World Series pick.

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7:10 PM Los Angeles
CF Straw SS T. Turner
SS Rosario 1B Freeman (L)
3B Ramirez (S) C Smith
RF Gonzalez DH Muncy (L)
1B Naylor (L) 3B J. Turner
DH Miller CF Bellinger (L)
2B Gimenez (L) LF Taylor
C Maile RF Alvarez (L)
LF Kwan (L) 2B Lux (L)
P Plesac (R) P Kershaw (L)

Clayton Kershaw makes his seventh start of the season and his second start since returning from the IL. Kershaw had a decent return in San Francisco, throwing 71 pitches in four innings and allowing two runs three hits, all of which came in the second inning. His fastball velocity was 91.1 MPH, which is the second-highest it has been in any start this year and would have been his second-highest average velocity in a start last season. This is only Kershaw’s third look at the Cleveland Baseball Team with a previously racist name. His first look at them came in his sixth career outing in 2008. Kershaw allowed a home run to Kelly Shoppach in the third inning and an RBI double to future old friend Casey Blake. He walked the first two batters of the sixth inning (including future old friend Jamey Carroll), and Scott Proctor came in and allowed an inherited run. He had another start in Cleveland in 2017 and allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings.

Zach Plesac gets the start for the Guardians. After a breakout 2020 season, Plesac has struggled for the last couple years. This season, Plesac has a 4.70 ERA/4.52 FIP and only seven qualified starters have a lower strikeout rate than Plesac’s 16.3 percent rate. Plesac started the season strong, allowing three runs in his first three starts. Things have fallen off the rails since, with 29 earned runs allowed in his last eight starts. He’s struck out more than five batters only once in his 11 starts. Plesac’s coming off a few good starts, registering quality starts in each of his last three outings. He’s completed six innings in six of his 11 starts and has yet to throw over 100 pitches in a game this year (though he’s hit 99 pitches twice).

Plesac is mostly a four-pitch pitcher (Baseball Savant has five pitches classified as sinkers, but those feels like just misclassified fastballs). He throws a fastball 44.7 percent of the time, a slider 22.9 percent of the time, changeup 21.5 percent and curve 10.3 percent. His fastball has been his worst pitch for most of his career, with the worst expected batting averages and slugging percentages of all his pitches in 2020 and 2021. It’s been even worse this season, as opponents are hitting .315 with a .483 slugging against it. Those are both cases of Plesac getting lucky, as the xBA and xSLG are .350 and .669. Not great.

Mookie Betts was in the original lineup, but was scratched (no reason has been given at the point of scheduling this post). Eddy Alvarez starts in right and Trea Turner leads off.


The Dodgers had listed Sunday’s starter as TBA.

Provided nothing comes up after his side session, Andrew Heaney will get the start in the series/homestand finale on Sunday. Heaney threw 77 pitches in his final rehab start on Tuesday, so should be decently built up to give the Dodgers 5-6 innings.


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First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM PT and will be shown exclusively on Apple TV+.

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.