Dodgers @ Giants April 11, 2023: The Dustin May return continues in San Francisco

About 7.5% of the season will be over after tonight’s game in San Francisco, with the Dodgers entering the day with the league’s second-best run differential (+24), which has been aided by the second-most runs per game (6.27). Both of those totals trail only the 10-0 Tampa Bay Rays, so really they are the best among teams who are actually beatable.

Through those 11 games, in which the Dodgers have managed a 6-5 record with all five losses coming to the D-backs (despite a 42-38 total in favor of the Dodgers in those eight games), Los Angeles has hit 21 home runs. That includes three for Max Muncy after his pair last night, as well as three apiece for Will Smith, James Outman, Trayce Thompson and Jason Heyward. In this still incredibly small sample, the Dodgers are pretty consistently the second-best offense in the league, as they rank second in wRC+ (131), fWAR (3.2), offensive bWAR (2.4) and OPS (.870). I could keep going, but I’ve probably made my point for the purpose of today’s intro to the Game Thread while relying on stats that don’t mean much less than two weeks into the season.

That Dodgers’ offense will face off against an old friend as Alex Wood faces Dustin May tonight at Oracle Park. 

6:45 PM San Francisco
RF Betts 1B Wade (L)
1B Freeman (L) RF Conforto (L)
C Smith 3B Davis
DH Martinez DH Pederson (L)
CF Thompson LF Yastrzemski (L)
2B Vargas 2B Villar
3B Taylor SS Crawford (L)
LF Outman (L) C Sabol (L)
SS Rojas CF Johnson (S)
P May (R) P Wood (L)

As Dave Roberts said following last night’s game, Muncy is not in the order against the left-handed starter tonight because he failed to hit three home runs last night (he’s also 2-for-9 in his career against Wood with four strikeouts to one home run). That leaves Freddie Freeman and Outman the only lefties in the order. My count could be off, but I believe that makes it 11 starts in 12 games for Outman, having only sat back on April 1 (though he did come in to play center field for the final two innings of the game).

The only Dodgers to appear in all 12 games so far? Freeman, Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez, who already has 47 PAs at DH this season. Obviously this was going to be much more of a set position compared to 2022, but just five Dodgers reached 50 PAs at DH a year ago. And one of those was Jake Lamb.

As for the Giants, the right-handed May shifts the order pretty significantly as LaMonte Wade, Michael Conforto, Joc Pederson and Blake Sabol all into the order as left-handed batters.


Since leaving the Dodgers a second time after the 2020 season, Wood has compiled a 4.43 ERA/3.61 FIP across 272 1/3 innings for San Francisco. Now in the second year of his two-year, $25-million deal signed after finishing a one-year, $3-million deal in 2021, Wood was worth 4.2 fWAR in his first two seasons with the Giants.

In six starts against the Dodgers in the past two seasons as a Giant, Wood has allowed 20 runs in his 31 2/3 innings for a 5.68 ERA with 41 strikeouts to 8 walks. There’s also 9 home runs allowed in those starts, with at least one in all six starts. Betts connected on one in all three games against Wood in 2022 and holds a career line of .643/.688/.1.500/.2.188 across 14 career at-bats. Chris Taylor also has a pair of homers against Wood, both coming in 2021, with a career line of .286/.286/.857/1.143 in 14 career at-bats, thought that also includes seven strikeouts.

Wood is pretty much still the same pitcher he was in 2020 with the Dodgers, with a sinker-slider-change combination according to Baseball Savant. Starting just once this season, Wood lasted just 3 innings against the White Sox on April 6 and allowed three runs, one earned, in addition to six hits, two walks and three strikeouts. The sinker was hit hard a few times, with a Jake Burger double going 116.5 mph off the bat and a Tim Anderson single going 107.0. Wood’s slider got 4 Whiffs on 15 Swings, and was his top swing and miss pitch over the past four years with a 42.4 Whiff% in 2020, 39.9% in 2021 and 28.7% in 2022. That happens to correlate with when he first started throwing a slider upon his return to Los Angeles in 2020.


As for May, he’s 13 innings into his 2023 season with one run allowed in his two starts against the D-backs. That’s been aided by a .143 BABIP while his K% is at just 19.1% for now that helps create an xFIP of 4.17 compared to a 2.70 FIP while his xERA is at 3.17.

Honestly, it’s a bit weird to compare much of May’s numbers to past seasons because all of them are pretty small sample sizes. With that said, you’ll see below May threw his four-seamer at a much higher rate in those two starts with that primarily going to left-handed batters. The 67 fastballs to lefties, compared to three to righties, makes up 55.8% of his pitches to left-handed batters, with the cutter making up 20.8% and the sinker at 10.0%. Meanwhile, it’s 53.2% sinker and 34.0% curve to righties.

It’ll be interesting to see the approach to a different team and different lineup as the Giants have six lefties (and one switch hitter) in the order tonight. May threw just seven curves to lefties so far (5.8%) after it had been at least 10.7% in every other season of his major league career.

May faced the Giants once in 2022, throwing 5 no-hit innings with four strikeouts to one walk on Sept. 16. After the 2nd-inning walk to Brandon Crawford was erased by a double play, May struck out the side in the 3rd and finished the outing with 10 consecutive batters retired.

This Giants’ order has a grand total of 13 career at-bats against May, led by Mike Yastrzemski‘s five that includes a pair of hits. Everyone else is hitless in the very small sample


MLB is very proud that it can get children back home early on school nights now.


First pitch is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. PT on SportsNet LA and MLB Network.

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.