Dodgers @ Rays May 26, 2023: Syndergaard starts as the Dodgers visit the best record in baseball

The Dodgers bounced back from a rough series in St. Louis in surprising fashion. They appeared to be a bit in shambles as two rookies were called up to start the first two games in Atlanta. Gavin Stone and Bobby Miller both turned in solid outings and the Dodgers scored eight runs in each of those games. The Dodgers had a chance to sweep, but an Ozzie Albies walk-off sac fly and 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position offensive showing gave the Dodgers a loss on Wednesday.

They left the home of the team with the best winning percentage in the National League and now face the team with the best record in all of baseball. The Rays got off to a wild start this season, winning their first 13 games and going 23-6 through April. They’ve come back to earth a bit in May with a 14-9 record, which would give them a .609 winning percentage (which would only be the fourth-best in baseball, the slackers). They’re coming off a weird series against Toronto, where they took three of four but were outscored by 10. They lost 20-1 on Tuesday and used two different position players as pitchers, including old friend Luke Raley (who allowed seven runs in 1 2/3 innings, but did strike out Vladimir Guerrero Jr.. Today marks the first time these two teams have played since the 2020 World Series, which you might have heard the Dodgers won.

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3:40 PM Tampa Bay
RF Betts 1B Diaz
1B Freeman (L) SS Franco (S)
C Smith 2B B. Lowe (L)
DH Martinez LF Arozarena
3B Muncy (L) DH J. Lowe (L)
2B Vargas 3B Walls (S)
CF Outman (L) C Bethancourt
SS Rojas RF Raley (L)
LF Peralta (L) CF Siri
P Syndergaard (R) P Beeks (L)

Noah Syndergaard starts for the Dodgers today.

The Rays stole 10 bases in Toronto including seven on Thursday. Syndergaard has allowed multiple steals in four starts and runners have stolen 12 of 13 total off him. I’m setting the over/under at 7.5 steals for Tampa today. Despite his inability to hold baserunners, Syndergaard turned in a good enough start last Saturday. He gave the Dodgers five innings, which is a notable thing for a Dodger pitcher to do at this point. He allowed three runs in the first two innings and looked destined for another short ineffective outing but faced the minimum in the next three innings, allowing a single to Nolan Arenado who was somehow caught stealing by the Syndergaard/Austin Barnes combo. Syndergaard faced the Rays last season as an Angel and allowed a run (on a Randy Arozarena homer) and seven hits over 5 1/3 innings.


The Rays are using Jalen Beeks as an opener with Cooper Criswell expected to be the bulk boy. Beeks is a lefty with 18 appearances this season, five of which were starts. 11 of his 18 outings this season have been scoreless and eight of the 13 runs he’s allowed came in two rough appearances. He’s maxed out at 41 pitches this season.

Criswell made three appearances as a bulk boi this season, two of which have not gone well. He allowed four runs in four innings in his first Major League appearance this season against the Reds, and last time out allowed five runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 against the Brewers. He’s allowed 10 runs in 11 1/3 Major League innings this season, and 11 runs in 29 1/3 minor league innings. He seems to like to pitch inside, as he’s hit nine batters in 40 2/3 innings combined. Obviously the Baseball Savant sample sizes are small, but he averages only 88.5 MPH on his sinker, which he’s thrown 43 percent of the time this season. He’s thrown a sweeper, changeup and cutter as well. Only one of his 24 cutters this season have been a hit, but it did leave the park.


Roster moves!

Clayton Kershaw is back with the team and off the bereavement list. He’s scheduled to start tomorrow against Tyler Glasnow. Tayler Scott was called up on Monday for the Atlanta series but didn’t appear in a game before being optioned.

Tyler Cyr was placed on the 60-day IL with a shoulder impingement. The Dodgers claimed Zack Burdi from the Rays. Burdi’s a former first round pick by the White Sox and was waived twice in 2021, by the White Sox and Orioles. He pitched in the Nationals org last season and appeared in three games for Tampa this season. His first two were fine, as he allowed a hit and a walk in three innings over two games. His most recent outing, that led to his DFA, was in that 20-1 game against Toronto. He pitched the fifth inning and allowed a walk, three singles, a ground-rule double, a triple and threw two wild pitches. He also allowed two stolen bases so he’ll fit right in with the Dodgers.


David Peralta starts in left today. He was traded to Tampa Bay at the deadline last year after nine years in Arizona.


First pitch is scheduled for 3:40 PM PT and will be shown on SportsNet LA.

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.