Last night, the Dodgers (8-7) found some magic behind the bats of James Outman, Miguel Vargas, and David Peralta, scoring two runs in the bottom of the ninth to both avoid a shutout, and walk it off for the first time this year. The offense was sad in the first game of the series with the Cubs (7-6), and they looked to be at it again, with just two hits prior to the ninth inning. The bats need to find some semblance of consistency. Julio Urias will be on the mound, looking for his fourth win of the season, as the Dodgers look to win this series. The left-handed Drew Smyly will take the ball for Chicago as they also look to win the series.
|1:10 PM||Los Angeles|
|CF||Bellinger (L)||LF||Outman (L)|
|P||Smyly (L)||P||Urías (L)|
Will Smith has officially hit the 7-Day Concussion IL, so Austin Barnes will start. He’s eligible to return on the 20th, but concussions are to be treated seriously, so if he needs more time it’s important he takes that. Barnes is the only player in baseball with at least 15 plate appearances that is still hitless. Maybe today is the day. Outman starts against the left-handed Smyly, as Chris Taylor moves to short and Miguel Rojas has the day off.
The Dodgers are facing a left-handed pitcher, so let’s check in real quick and see how they have performed against lefties. They haven’t been able to hit for any average thus far, hitting .179, dead last. Their OPS of .746 is 14th, mainly due to a 17.0% walk-rate, leading to a still respectable .341 OBP. I will say, walks are great, but it’s difficult to score by only walking. Eventually you need to actually get a hit. To be fair, the team has a .174 BABIP against left-handed pitching, by far the lowest mark in all of baseball. The Yankees have the second lowest BABIP at .228. Hopefully today is the day the Dodgers turn it around.
The veteran Smyly went five innings against the Seattle Mariners (7-8) on Monday, allowing one run on two hits and one walk while striking out seven batters. That was much better than his season debut, in which he yielded six earned runs over 4.2 innings against the Reds. He limited the Mariners to just three baserunners, all of whom reached in the fourth inning. Smyly finished his outing by striking out the side in the fifth, and he racked up 11 swinging strikes in the contest. That was a strong bounce-back performance, and he’ll look to take advantage of the Dodgers’ woes against left-handed pitching.
Urías earned the win during Monday’s 9-1 victory over the Giants, allowing one run on four hits and two walks over six innings with eight strikeouts. He looked strong as usual, and looks to be the first starting pitcher to four wins today. In his last outing, he got early run support from the Dodgers’ offense, and aside from a solo home run by Wilmer Flores in the fourth, he cruised through six innings. Urías has gone exactly six innings in each of his first three outings, totaling 20 strikeouts to just two walks while posting a spectacular 1.50 ERA, 2.37 FIP, 0.83 WHIP, and a 30.3% strikeout rate.
Austin Wynns is a 32-year-old veteran catcher, who has played in just one game this year, coming for the San Francisco Giants before being designated for assignment. He featured a 92 wRC+ last year, slashing .259/.313/.358 in 177 plate appearances. It’s doubtful he’s with the team for long considering the familiarity of the pitching staff with Barnes, but if he continues to provide nothing on offense…
Like I mentioned, concussions are very serious, and getting hit by foul tips in the wrong way can do this relatively easily. Alex Reyes was placed on the 60-Day IL to make room for Wynns.
If you care about other LA-based sports, the Lakers postseason starts today at 12 PM, and the Kings postseason starts tomorrow evening in Edmonton.
First pitch is at 1:10 PM on SNLA and MLB Network.