Now holding a Major League-best 13.5-game lead in their division over the Padres, the Dodgers enter Saturday night’s game looking to win the series and improve to 7-2 against San Diego this season.
Including tonight, the teams still have 11 games against each other with five left in Los Angeles and six in San Diego. Having allowed just four hits last night, and just one after the 3rd inning that came in the infield, the Dodgers send Andrew Heaney to the mound for his second start of August and sixth of the season.
For the Padres, Mike Clevinger makes his 16th start for the Padres and first ever against the Dodgers (in the regular season, realized I didn’t clarify that).
|6:10 PM||Los Angeles|
|RF||Soto (L)||SS||T. Turner|
|2B||Cronenworth (L)||2B||Lux (L)|
|P||Clevinger (R)||P||Heaney (L)|
The right-handed Clevinger’s splits are probably pretty obvious when you take a look at the lineup as lefties hit .232/.304/.432/.736 with a .322 wOBA and a .501 FIP/.409 xFIP compared to a .196/.239/.255/.494 with a .221 wOBA and a 1.96 FIP/3.41 xFIP against righties.
For the Padres, the top six is the same as yesterday with a slight change in the order. Wil Myers is in center for the first time this season as well as the first time since 2019 as the Padres now have Juan Soto and Josh Bell in his previous two positions.
Somehow this is the third or fourth time in six starts that I have had Heaney’s game thread, and there’s still very little to say after his 4-inning game last week against the Giants. Striking out seven in his four innings of work, Heaney allowed four hits and two walks that led to just one run.
Heaney continued the heavy fastball usage in that last start, but did bump the slider back up to 31.1% from the 23.9% on July 27 and the 26.0% on June 19. The horizontal movement on Heaney’s fastball is 14.2 inches, ninth in baseball, and 5.4 inches vs. the average, 12th in baseball. Meanwhile his slider’s horizontal movement is at just 4.7 inches, -5.4 vs. the average which is the 24th lowest versus the average in the league.
That should make for an interesting match-up with Soto, who is third in baseball with an 18 Run Value and 3.5 RV/100 which rank third and eighth in baseball. Myers’ 1.8 RV/100 is tied for 50th in the league against fastballs, with Bell just behind at 1.7 RV/100. As for the slider, Brandon Drury (9 RV, 2.5 RV/100) and Manny Machado (7 RV, 2.2 RV/100) both rank in the top 20 of the league against the pitch.
Turning to Clevinger’s usage this season and that’s a bit tougher to get a read on as he’s at 33.6% with his four-seamer, 23.9% with his slider, 16.8% with his cutter, 12.6% on the change and 10.5% on the sinker.
In his most recent start, Clevinger used his sinker (28.9%), slider (27.8%) and four-seamer (26.8%) all nearly even with the sinker up considerably.
It’s effectively two different arsenals to rightes and lefties. The slider (35.1%), the cutter (25.6%) and four-seamer (25.3%) the primary pitches for righties and a four-seamer (39.9%), change (21.2%) and slider (15.3%) are the primary options for lefties (though the sinker and cutter are both 10.1%).
As mentioned above, lefties have had some success against Clevinger this season, with his cutter really struggling (.412 BA/.941 SLG/.572 wOBA). The change’s average against for lefties is .182, but the slugging (.455) and wOBA (.303) while the fastball is .176 batting average to a .353 slugging and .273 wOBA. For right-handed batters, the sinker has only been used 11.2% but has been hit hard (.333 BA/.444 SLG/.425 wOBA) when it’s been used.
This is where I tell you how well Freddie Freeman hits all of these pitches, as he’s tied for first in RV (7) and tied for fourth in RV/100 (4.3) among batters with at least 25 PAs while Mookie Betts is tied for fourth in RV (5) and tied for eighth (4.1) in RV/100 against cutters as well.
As a team, the Dodgers aren’t great against four-seamers with only Betts inside the Top 70, but Freeman (12 RV, 5.0 RV/100), Betts (8 RV, 5.4 RV/100), Trea Turner (6 RV, 3.2 RV/100), Will Smith (5 RV, 3.8 RV/100) and Max Muncy (5 RV, 2.8 RV/100) all in the Top 40 against changeups.
The first news to pass along comes from last night, with Clayton Kershaw hopefully back sooner rather than later.
First pitch is set for 6:10 p.m. on SportsNet LA.