Twins @ Dodgers May 15, 2023: López vs. Syndergaard

After a sweep at home against the Padres (19-22), the Dodgers (26-15) are 13-2 in their last fifteen games, are currently on a five game winning streak and have also won five consecutive series. The Dodgers enter this series with the third best record in baseball and a three game lead in the NL West. Meanwhile, Minnesota (23-18) has the eighth best record in baseball and owns a 3.5 game lead of their own in the American League Central. They’re in a solid stretch as well, winning four of their last five.

This should be a good test for the team, as Minnesota can really pitch. The Twins will definitely have the starting pitching advantage tonight with their offseason trade addition in Pablo Lopez, up against Noah Syndergaard.

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7:10 PM Los Angeles
LF Gallo (L) RF Betts
1B Kiriloff (L) 1B Freeman (L)
SS Correa C Smith
DH Buxton 3B Muncy (L)
2B Polanco (S) DH Martinez
RF Larnach (L) CF Heyward (L)
3B Farmer 2B Vargas
CF Gordon (L) LF Peralta (L)
C Vázquez SS Rojas
P López (R) P Syndergaard (R)

Against the right-handed López, the Dodgers will once again get to use their lefty heavy lineup with a slight tweak. James Outman has been scuffling a bit in May so he’ll be available off the bench. This puts Mookie Betts in right field with Jason Heyward in center and David Peralta in left.

Here’s how these two offenses match up as a whole.

The Dodgers have clearly performed better than the Twins offensively this season. The Twins have some old friends performing quite well this year in Joey Gallo (150 wRC+) and Kyle Farmer (122 wRC+). Admittedly, I thought the Dodgers should’ve signed Carlos Correa this offseason, but he’s been struggling to start his year with an OPS of .686 and wRC+ of 87. Byron Buxton is a super fun player to follow, and he’s been off to a solid start with a .796 OPS and 119 wRC+.

The Dodgers are led by Will Smith (172 wRC+), Outman (148), Freddie Freeman (140), Betts (138), and Max Muncy (134), with both Heyward (120) and J.D. Martinez (120) well above average as well.


It’s an overly simple way to look at it, but here’s how the pitching between these two teams lines up.

Minnesota’s pitching staff has carried their season thus far, and mix that with even a mediocre offense and you have the recipe to win a good amount of games. The Dodgers have done it slightly differently, with a high powered offense and solid pitching.

Specifically, here’s how tonight’s starting pitchers matchup out of 119 starters with at least 30 innings pitched.

After leaving his previous start with a particularly nasty looking blister, Syndergaard confirmed his index finger feels good after Saturday’s bullpen session. It’s hasn’t been a great year for him so far, with a 6.12 ERA, 1.42 WHIP and 21 strikeouts to five walks in his 32.1 innings. That’s including a good season debut, allowing just one run over six innings with six strikeouts. Since then, he’s posted a 7.18 ERA allowing 21 earned runs in just 26.1 innings. Nobody is expecting him to post his 2.60 ERA 6.0 fWAR season from 2016 with the Mets, but he’ll need to be better than this.

López allowed a run on two hits and four walks while striking out eight over 6.1 innings his last time out against the Padres. His four walks were a season high, but he was able to offset that by matching his season low in hits allowed. He ended April with a couple shaky starts, but he’s allowed just three runs over 13.1 innings across his first two outings in May. The right-hander has a 3.47 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 62 strikeouts to 14 walks across 49.1 innings through eight starts this season.

His fastball velocity (95.2 MPH) is up almost full two ticks from his 2022 season average of 93.5 MPH with the Marlins. His strikeout rate has exploded, going from an average rate of 23.6%, to an elite 31.2%. It appears one of the main differences besides his velocity increase is his pitch usage. He used to primarily rely heavily on his fastball and changeup, sporadically throwing a curve and cutter. He’s changed that by replacing a good chunk of his changeups with a new mid 80’s slider/sweeper that he throws roughly 20% of the time. He seems to be just a much better version of his previous self, so he’ll be a tough matchup for the Dodgers.


It’s very very doubtful Walker Buehler returns at any point this season but … it’s nice to hope.


I can’t explain this photo, but after a recent promotion to Oklahoma City, it’s looking more likely that we’ll see Jonny DeLuca in Los Angeles at some point this season. He’s on the 40-man roster as he was protected in the Rule 5 draft last year.

He had a 136 wRC+ in 25 games in AA last year with seven homers and five steals, in addition to 18 homers and 12 steals in 73 games in High A. That’s a total of 25 home runs and 17 steals in 98 games. This year he has a 150 wRC+ in 32 AA games, with ten home runs and nine steals.


First pitch is at 7:10 PM PT on SNLA.

About Allan Yamashige

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Just a guy living in Southern California, having a good time writing about baseball. Hated baseball practice as a kid, but writing about it rules. Thanks for reading!