Cardinals @ Dodgers April 28, 2023: Dodgers return home looking to get back on track on Apple TV+

Photo: Stacie Wheeler

The Dodgers technically had a winning road trip, but after a 3-1 series in Chicago they really struggled against the surprisingly good Pirates. They needed a five-run comeback to take the opener of the series, and then hardly put up a fight in the other two games as they were outscored 14-3 (and it honestly didn’t even feel that close). The Dodgers were 9-10 when they left LA and return home 13-13, good for second place in the mediocre-so-far NL West.

Today, they return home to open up a series against the surprisingly bad Cardinals. St. Louis has stumbled out the gate even harder than the Dodgers have, with a 10-16 record. They’ve dropped seven of their last 10 games, including three of four in San Francisco this week.

7:10 PM Los Angeles
CF Nootbar (L) SS Betts
1B Goldschmidt 1B Freeman (L)
DH Gorman (L) DH Smith
3B Arenado 3B Muncy (L)
C Contreras RF Heyward (L)
RF Burleson (L) CF Outman (L)
LF O’Neill 2B Vargas
2B Donovan (L) LF Peralta (L)
SS DeJong C Barnes
P Flaherty (R) P May (R)

Dustin May gets his sixth start of the season. He bounced back from his worst start of the season with a solid outing in Chicago, where he allowed two runs in 5 1/3 innings. He got in early trouble as he allowed a leadoff single and a pair of walks to start the game, but escaped with only one run allowed on a groundout before getting a strikeout and popout. He settled in and only allowed three more baserunners through the next 4 1/3 innings. This will be May’s first look at the Cardinals since the second start of his career. He allowed five hits and a run in 5 2/3 innings, with the lone run coming with one out in the sixth.

Overall, May has been solid this season with a 3.07 ERA and .920 WHIP in 29 1/3 innings. He’s only had one poor outing (against the Mets two starts ago), but he’s been getting hit more than he has in the past. In his shortened 2022 season, May had a whiff rate above 24 percent on four of his five pitches (everything but his sinker). So far in 2023, May has a 20 percent whiff rate on two of his pitches (fastball and curveball) and everything else is short of that number. He struck out 37.6 percent of batters in 2021 and 22.8 percent in 2022, but so far this year is running a 16.7 percent strikeout rate. Despite their struggles, the Cardinal offense has the ninth-best strikeout rate in baseball, so it’ll be interesting to see if May can get back on track in that regard.

Jack Flaherty gets his sixth start of the season as well. The former Cardinal ace has struggled with injuries over the past few years and has only made 31 appearances (28 starts) since the Covid-shortened 2020 season. He posted a 4.25 ERA/4.97 FIP and a 1.611 WHIP in nine outings last season and ended up on the 60-day IL on two different occasions. So far this season, Flaherty has a 3.29 ERA and a 5.18 WHIP, surely mostly due to the fact that his walks are up. He walked 13 batters in his first two starts of the season and has walked 19 total in his five starts. He did strike out a season-high nine in his last start in Seattle.

So far in 2023, Flaherty has thrown his fastball at a lower rate than he has in any other tracked season on Baseball Savant (excluding a 21 inning rookie season in 2017). He’s currently throwing it only 37.2 percent of the time, and for the first time in his career is throwing his slider more than 30 percent of the time (32.5 percent). His average fastball velo is also down a bit at only 92.8 MPH compared to 93.3 MPH last season. Flaherty also mixes in a curveball (15.4 percent), cutter (10.3 percent) and has had some pitches tracked as sinkers and changeups.


The Dodgers get some reinforcements back today.

Max Muncy and Brusdar Graterol were both activated off the paternity list. Luke Williams and Justin Bruihl were sent back down. Will Smith also returns and will DH, with J.D. Martinez being placed on the IL (retroactive to Tuesday). Smith could also DH tomorrow as well, and could be behind the plate on Sunday.

The lineup was a bit delayed as Martinez was testing his back in the cage, and seemingly wasn’t healthy enough to avoid the IL. He’ll be out for a bit, and Michael Busch remains on the active roster for at least a little longer. Miguel Rojas is still on his way back and will begin a rehab assignment tomorrow. He could return early next week while the Phillies are in town.


First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM PT and will be shown only on Apple TV+.

About Alex Campos

I've been writing about the Dodgers since I graduated from Long Beach State, where I covered the Dirtbags in my senior year. I'm either very good or very bad at puns.