The Dodgers, somehow, took two of three in St. Louis and have now won 13 of their last 15 games. They had a 1.5 game lead in the NL West when the Padres came to LA on June 30, and now sit 9.5 games up with a chance to go up double-digits with a win and a San Diego loss to Arizona.
The All-Star break is two days away for the Dodgers, who end their first half with a quick series in Anaheim. The Angels are not doing great, as they’re 2-8 in their last 10 and haven’t won a game started by not-Shohei Ohtani since June 27. They’ve been crushed with some injuries, but their recent lineups have been historically uneven.
|SS||T. Turner||DH||Ohtani (L)|
|LF||Lux (L)||LF||Marsh (L)|
|P||Kershaw (L)||P||Sandoval (L)|
Clayton Kershaw makes his final start of the first half. He’ll appear in his ninth All Star game on Tuesday (hopefully as the starter), with a 2.40 ERA/2.57 FIP and 1.005 WHIP in 63 2/3 innings. Kershaw made a strong case to start the All Star game in his last start against the Cubs, as he pitched into the eighth inning for the first time this season. Kershaw allowed two runs (one earned) over 7 2/3 innings and allowed a single with two outs in the eighth to prevent him completing eight innings for the first time since last June, also against the Cubs. Kershaw’s allowed 17 earned runs this season, with six of those coming in one Coors ass start on June 28. Since then, Kershaw’s had two starts and combined to allow one earned run in 14 2/3 innings with 18 strikeouts and only one walk.
Opposing Kershaw is Angel lefty Patrick Sandoval. Sandoval has continued to be good after breaking out last season, with a 2.95 ERA/3.00 FIP in 76 1/3 innings this season. He’s allowed two or fewer runs in 10 of his 14 starts and didn’t allow a homer in his first nine starts this season. He’s walked two or more batters in 12 of his 14 starts and is coming off a start where he struck out a season-high 10 batters.
Sandoval offers one of the best changeups in the sport, with a 48.5 percent whiff rate and and xBA and xSLG of .202 and .273 off it, respectively. His slider falls just short of a 40 percent whiff rate (39.9 percent), but his fastball has been very hittable. Fangraphs broke down his fastball issue, and it only has a 7.5 percent whiff rate and xBA and xSLG of .391 and .680 against it.
Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy both sit against a lefty. Gavin Lux starts in left, with Hanser Alberto starting at second, Trayce Thompson in center and Will Smith DHing (with Austin Barnes behind the plate). For the Angels, Mike Trout is out of the lineup for the third straight game with back spasms.
The Dodgers made a signing.
Hansel Robles was signed to a minor-league deal. Robles made 26 appearances for Boston this season and allowed 16 earned runs in 24 2/3 innings before being DFA’d. He also only allowed two of seven inherited runners to score.
This feels like it could be a good Dodger pitching development heat check.
Some pitching injury updates.
Andrew Heaney will potentially start a rehab assignment tomorrow in Rancho.
Brusdar Graterol‘s MRI didn’t show anything serious, which is a huge bullet dodged for an already-injury-riddled bullpen. Graterol will be out a couple weeks, which feels like best-case scenario when dealing with shoulder inflammation.
Dustin May is still being targeted for a mid-August return, but no rehab start date has been decided on.
Good labor news today.
MLB will be paying minor leaguers in a class-action lawsuit and Levy and their workers have made enough progress to avoid a work strike during the All-Star festivities. Pay your employees fairly, people.
First pitch is scheduled for 6:38 PM PT and will be shown on Sportsnet LA (or whatever the Angels channel is).