Nationals @ Dodgers July 27, 2022: Trade for Juan Soto before you get swept

Dodger Stadium Pano HR Derby
Photo by: Cody Bashore

Looking to break even in the six-game season series with the Nationals (34-65, .343 winning percentage, worst team in baseball), the Dodgers will send out Andrew Heaney for the first time since June 19 when he allowed 5 hits and 1 walk across 5 innings against the Guardians as the Dodgers lost 5-3 after a run against Alex Vesia tied the game in the eighth and Craig Kimbrel allowed a two-run homer in the ninth.

Heaney did strike out 7 batters in that game and just one of the two runs he allowed we earned, but he immediately landed right back on the IL with left shoulder inflammation. He’s facing Patrick Corbin, who I guess is no longer a future Dodger based on some info from today that we will get to a little lower.

12:10 PM Los Angeles
CF Robles RF Betts
2B Hernandez (S) SS T. Turner
RF Soto (L) 1B Freeman (L)
1B Bell (S) DH Smith
DH Cruz 3B J. Turner
LF Thomas CF Thompson
SS Garcia (L) 2B Alberto
3B Franco C Barnes
C Barrera LF Lux (L)
P Corbin (L) P Heaney (L)

Gavin Lux, who is now slashing .269/.347/.343/.690 with a 102 wRC+ against lefties this season is in left while Hanser Alberto is at second (.262/.262/.385/.646, 80 wRC+ vs. lefties) in 65 PAs) with Max Muncy (.139/.256/.319/.575, 66 wRC+ in 86 PAs), Cody Bellinger (.198/.239/.311/.550, 55 wRC+ in 113 PAs) and Jake Lamb (.000/.333/.000/.333, 54 wRC+ in 3 PAs) all on the bench.

Just for no reason at all, the left-handed Juan Soto who faces Heaney today is slashing .224/.362/.400/.762, 119 wRC+ in 152 PAs against lefties this season.


It’s an early first pitch, so this is going to be a briefer Game Thread, especially because Heaney still doesn’t have much for us to go off of this season. He’s still thrown just 15 1/3 innings in three starts for the Dodgers, with 23 strikeouts and just four walks. Adding in all his rehab assignments this season, and that’s just 20 more innings across another five games with 29 strikeouts and one walk.

Before his start against the Guardians, I’d mentioned he had swung heavily into using a slider 48.1% of the time, with his fastball at 48.7% and his changeup just 3.2%. That game against the Guardians shifted a bit again, with Heaney going with his four-seamer 74% of the time, the slider just 26% and not throwing one change in the game.


Corbin? Well he hasn’t been too great the past few seasons as he finished 2021 with a 5.82 ERA/5.41 FIP/4.29 xFIP in 171 2/3 innings for the Nationals. This season, it’s 6.02/4.60/3.97 with his HR/FB rate back down and his K% back to 19.9% after being at 19.0% last season. That’s all quite a far dip from the 30.8% it was in his final season with Arizona or the 28.5% it was in 2019 after he signed with Washington.

Owed $23 million this season, $24 million in 2023 and $35 million in 2024 with $10 million deferred to 2025, Corbin’s contract had been rumored/assumed to maybe be included in a Soto trade. Then today Mike Rizzo said this:

I suppose we shall see soon.

As for his performance, well just look at this.

As you can see, it isn’t good.

He’s mixing and matching the sinker, slider and four-seamer over the past few years, with the sinker leading the way at 36.4% this season, those it’s primarily used against right-handed batters at 41.3%. Left-handed batters get a pretty split mix off the four-seamer at 39.7% and the slider at 38.2%. None of these pitches are producing amazing results, but the slider is still at a 36.4 Whiff% to left-handed batters and and a 40.2 Whiff% to right-handed batters. Corbin’s change, which is used essentially exclusively to righties, is also at a 30.4 Whiff%.

However, all these pitches run a xSLG% of almost .400 or better, with the slider’s .398 the outlier as the sinker’s .504 is the next best and a wxOBA of .350 or worse, with the slider once again leading the way followed by the sinker (.379).


Garrett Cleavinger‘s stay back in the majors was short-lived as the team needs a fresh arm after his outing last night and Mitch White is back out for now given he can’t help the bullpen for a few days and Heaney back in the rotation. Jake Reed, designated for assignment by the Dodgers on July 21 of last year, was claimed by the Dodgers about two weeks ago after the Mets designated him for assignment following five appearances this season. Throwing 6 1/3 innings, Reed allowed eight runs on four hits, walking six to six strikeouts. Down in Oklahoma City, Reed struck out three batters in his 2 innings of work since being claimed.

Honestly, this is why it seems like even a trade for a guy who can just eat some innings whenever needed might be valuable, even if they aren’t a huge difference maker.


And the pitching matchups for this weekend in Colorado:


First pitch is set for 12:10 p.m. on SportsNet LA.

About Cody Bashore

Cody Bashore is a lifelong Dodger fan originally from Carpinteria, California (about 80 miles north of Dodger Stadium along the coast). He left California to attend Northern Arizona University in 2011, and has lived in Arizona full-time since he graduated in 2014 with a journalism degree.