The Dodgers wisely employed the “score six runs in the first inning” strategy last night, as they batted around and hit Luis Severino hard early. Clayton Kershaw bounced back from a rough May with a strong seven sharp innings, and the Dodgers took game one against the Yankees and kept pace with the Arizona Diamondbacks (what). Arizona’s won 15 of their last 20 games and hold a tiebreaker over the Dodgers, with the two teams tied for the best record in the NL. The Dodgers have scored at least six runs in each of their last six games, picking up a pitching staff that has mostly struggled this season.
|4:15 PM||Los Angeles|
|LF||Bauers (L)||RF||Heyward (L)|
|P||Cole (R)||P||Grove (R)|
On paper, this is the biggest pitching disadvantage for the Dodgers in the series. Michael Grove returns to make the start tonight, replacing Gavin Stone. Stone had a strange first stint in the Majors, that started with some tough luck/bad defense making his numbers look bad. Then Stone just straight up got shelled, but did generate a ton of whiffs (13 in each of his last two outings). Stone is scheduled to start for OKC today.
On the big league side, Grove returns from a six-week absence. He lost the fifth starter competition in the Spring to Ryan Pepiot, who suffered an oblique strain at the end of Spring Training. That opened the door for Grove, who made four starts before a groin injury took him out near the end of April. Grove had three okay outings in April, as he combined for 12 2/3 innings and allowed six runs and nine hits. His 8.44 ERA mainly comes from his second start of the season in Arizona, where he allowed nine runs and 12 hits in 3 1/3 innings. Grove made two rehab starts for OKC and looked good. His first was a 4 1/3 inning two run outing, and last time out he tossed 5 2/3 shutout. He struck out seven in both of those starts and threw 77 innings last time out.
Opposing Grove is Yankee ace Gerrit Cole. The Yankees have won 10 of Cole’s 12 starts and he’s thrown at least five innings in each start. He has a 2.93 ERA/3.69 FIP in 73 2/3 innings. Most of that came from his incredible April that earned him pitcher of the month, as he allowed five runs in six April starts. His May was a lot less successful, as he allowed five runs in three of his six May starts, including each of his last two outings. He posted a 5.18 ERA last month and allowed six homers after allowing only two in April.
Cole averages 96.8 MPH on his four-seamer and he’s thrown in 55 percent of the time this season, which would be his highest usage of it since Baseball Savant started tracking it in 2013. He throws a slider 21.2 percent of the time, curveball 14.8 percent of the time and changeup 88.7 percent of the time. Cole is currently running a 26.2 percent strikeout rate, which is above average but Cole’s lowest since 2017. His 8.6 percent walk rate is his worst since 2015.
Mookie Betts starts at second, with the three lefties starting in the outfield and Miguel Vargas out of the lineup. Giancarlo Stanton sits for the Yankees today after returning from the IL yesterday.
Justin Bruihl was optioned for Grove. Bruihl had a bit of a rough stretch in this Major League stint. He had a four outing stretch where he allowed seven runs in 5 2/3 innings, but he didn’t allow a run in his other five outings in May.
Julio Urias threw a bullpen today.
Urias is expected to throw a sim game on Tuesday in Cincinnati and could return that weekend or the following week. It’ll be interesting to see who he displaces in the rotation when he returns. Grove could be replaced, Noah Syndergaard could absolutely be replaced and despite his success so far, Bobby Miller could be sent down to manage his innings coming off a Spring shoulder injury.
First pitch is scheduled for 4:15 PM PT and will be shown on FOX.