While the Dodgers remain 3 games up in the Wild Card race, they have also slipped 4 games back of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL West.
Tied for a league-best six-straight wins with the Oakland Athletics (?!), the D-backs are out in front of the entire National League by a game over the Atlanta Braves. The Dodgers are still tied for the seventh-best record in baseball entering the day, but obviously have been a disaster as of late with just three wins in the past 10 games.
Meanwhile, the White Sox sit at 29-38, which is somehow just 4.5 games back of the first-place Twins (33-33) with the fifth-most runs allowed in Major League Baseball this season and averaging just 4.16 runs per game to rank 24th in the league. The Dodgers should have the advantage in starting pitching in the first two games of the series, though it is beginning with Tony Gonsolin (2.21 ERA/4.47 FIP/5.71 DRA) and Lance Lynn (6.72 ERA/5.30 FIP/5.13 DRA) which is a battle of odd numbers as you can see.
|7:10 P.M.||Los Angeles|
|LF||Benintendi (L)||1B||Freeman (L)|
|RF||Sheets (L)||CF||Outman (L)|
|P||Lynn (R)||P||Miller (R)|
Mookie Betts gets the chance to prove he’s a better shortstop option for the Dodgers than Tim Anderson while Chris Taylor is at third base with Max Muncy getting an extra day off despite it being a right-handed pitcher on the mound. That means the Dodgers send out all three of their left-handed hitting outfielders with Jason Heyward slotted into the clean-up spot for Muncy. Heyward is 8-for-21 in his career against Lynn, followed by Peralta’s 6-for-16 and Betts’ 5-for-15. J.D. Martinez isn’t so lucky, with a .143 batting average and eight career strikeouts in 21 at-bats.
Freddie Freeman is slashing .405/.478/.741/.1.219 in his last 136 PAs over the past month, with Heyward at .310/.396.595/.991 in 48 PAs since May 20 when he ended a 1-for-24 stretch and Peralta is .337/.371/.506/.877 since May 1 which is 89 total PAs.
For the White Sox, very few players have actually seen Gonsolin, with Jake Burger 2-for-2 including a homer and that’s about it.
Back in Cincinnati, the Reds finished with five hits against Gonsolin which tied his season high for hit allowed. The five hits included no home runs, meaning it was the most contact that landed in play against Gonsolin since last summer and just the eighth time in 45 starts over the past three years that he’s allowed five or more hits in a game.
Now at eight starts in 2023, Gonsolin’s Whiff% of 21.3% does look off compared to his first four seasons in the majors. Opening up at 26.7% in 2019, it jumped to 29.4% and 29.7% in 2020 and 2021 before coming back to 26.9% in 2022. The ground ball rate is also down to 36.8%, close to the second-lowest of his five seasons while his fly ball rate is tied for the highest of his career at 45.3%. Coupled with his lowest K%, 18.1%, and second-highest BB%, 9.6, and you’ve got a pitcher with a career-worst K-BB% of 8.4. That’s 112th of 134 pitchers with at least 40 innings this season.
Most of Gonsolin’s plate discipline numbers are the same except for his Chase Contact% which is at 66.7% from 2022’s 51.3%. I could list off a few other thing’s Gonsolin has dropped in hie percentiles, but I’ll just show you because it’s more than I hoped.
With an MLB-best .163 batting average allowed to a .247 xBA, Gonsolin really seems to be living of his .177 BABIP that’s .012 better than second-place Tyler Wells and .113 better than the middle ground of .290.
Lynn’s 8.8 BB% is the highest since 2018 and his HR/FB rate is 20.3%, easily the worst his career and the worst among qualified pitchers this year. Nine of the 16 home runs Lynn has allowed in 2023 came against his fastball, which is already the fifth most against any one pitch for a single season in his 12-year career. Naturally the other four above are all against his fastball, but the 9 against 566 fastballs is well ahead of the pace from 2019 when he allowed 17 home runs on 1,858 fastballs. Lynn’s given up at least one home run in 10 of his 13 starts, and essentially one every 100 pitches he throws, with the Angels hitting three against him back on May 31.
Left-handed pitchers account for 12 of those 16 home runs, including all nine against the fastball this season, as they see 46.1% fastballs (92.4 mph), 25.7% cutters (88.1 mph) and 14.0% changes (85.0 mph). Right-handed hitters get 41.6% fastballs, 27.5% cutters and 19.6% sinkers (91.2 mph) while hitting just .157 against the fastball compared to lefties at .424. So I guess Freeman, Heyward, Peralta or Outman should hit a fastball out tonight, with Freeman’s 4.2 RV/100 and league-best 13 Run Value against four-seamers the best bet.
Not great. Hamstring injuries are never great and are notorious for lingering. He should probably go on the IL to be safe, but the Dodger way is to not place someone on the IL and just have them sit out the next nine days anyways.
First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. PT from Dodger Stadium on SportsNet LA and MLB Network.