Dodgers @ Royals – July 2, 2023: Another rubber game on another getaway day

As was the case a few days ago in Denver, the Dodgers are looking to take the finale of a three-game series in order to win said series. That would make it four consecutive series wins since bottoming out at home against the Giants two weeks ago in a three-game sweep.

Since then, it’s been a 7-3 run to improve to 46-36, pass the Giants for second in the NL West (even if it’s by just a half game) and sit three games back of the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks. The stretch has includes six games with the pitching staff allowing three runs or less, with three of those being shutouts. The Kansas City Royals just happen to be 29th in Major League Baseball with 3.73 runs per game and have scored three or less runs in six of their past eight games.

Unfortunately, yesterday was not one of those games as Julio Urias allowed five runs in the first inning before the Dodgers held the Royals to just one run in the next eight innings. Of course that was the Royals’ highest scoring inning since putting up five runs in the 7th against the Nationals back on May 26th, so it would seem unlikely the Dodgers would allow that to happen again today.

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11:10 A.M. Kansas City
SS Betts 3B Garcia
1B Freeman (L) SS Witt
3B Muncy (L) DH Perez
DH Martinez 1B Pratto (L)
LF Peralta (L) C Fermin
RF Heyward (L) LF Melendez (L)
2B Vargas RF Waters (S)
CF Outman (L) CF Isbel (L)
C Barnes 2B Lopez (L)
P Gonsolin (R) P Singer (R)

Sending out the exact same order as Thursday for the finale at Coors Field, the Dodgers have an all lefty outfield with Mookie Betts at short and Will Smith with the day off as Austin Barnes is behind the plate. Going 0-for-5 as the Dodgers scored 14 runs on Thursday, Barnes is back down to a .101 batting average while sitting at -1.1 fWAR and -1.2 bWAR in his 101 PAs for 2023.

On a more positive note, David Peralta is on a seven-game hit streak and Jason Heyward has a 1.267 OPS over the past eight games. And going back to disappointing, Max Muncy is now at a .487 OPS since May 31, though that’s only 60 PAs since he missed two weeks and Miguel Vargas has a .346 OPS in his pas 60 PAs going back to June 9 when his six-game hitting streak ended.

On the other side, the Royals have 16 hits in the two games against the Dodgers and four of those are by Bobby Witt. Jr. Maikel Garcia has been even better with five, so yeah those two are at the top of the order again to face Tony Gonsolin.


Brady Singer faces the Dodgers for the second time in his Major League career, having held Los Angeles to just one hit and three walks last August at Dodger Stadium. Striking out seven in his 6 innings, Singer led the Royals to a 4-0 victory against a starting lineup that included Joey Gallo, Cody Bellinger and Tony Wolters. The Dodgers didn’t record a hit until the 5th inning on a single by Chris Taylor, so today really can’t go much worse.

Singer is coming off 6 shutout innings in a 2-1 loss to the Guardians, but had allowed 11 runs in 16 2/3 innings to the Tigers, Angels and Orioles in three starts before that. After a very rough April that included a 8.49 ERA and four starts with at least five earned runs allowed, Singer progressed to a 5.47 ERA in five May starts and a 3.49 ERA in five June starts.

Singer slightly picked up his slider usage a bit in the past two months, but more importantly the pitch’s xwOBA has dropped from .403 to .330 to .321 in the three months this season while his improved from a .432 xwOBA in May to a .292 in June. Singer really hasn’t changed much since his Major League debut back in 2020, as his sinker remains at 53%, his slider at 40% and the change-up only very occasionally at 7%.

Those change-ups are really only to lefties as Singer has thrown a total of 20 changes to right-handed batters in four years. Sitting at 55.5% sinkers and 42.8% sliders to righties, Singer has typically had more slightly more success with a .703 career OPS and an .831 in 2023 compared to a career .768 OPS and an .849 to lefties in 2023. Right-handed batters have had a better batting average, but walk much less.


For Gonsolin, he has allowed 11 runs in 10 2/3 innings against the Giants and Astros after holding the White Sox scoreless in 6 innings back on June 13. Last Sunday against Houston, Gonsolin really picked up his four-seam usage, throwing the pitch 45.9% while dropping his splitter usage to 13.1%. That was the highest for the fastball since last August and the lowest for the splitter since September 2021. The latter was much more of the rarity as Gonsolin has dropped the pitch usage under 13% just twice, in the span of four starts that included a month-long stay on the IL after the first instance.

Of course, part of the reason for the lack of usage against the Astros may have been the fact that Gonsolin gave up homers to Jeremy Pena and Jose Abreu in the 2nd and 4th innings respectively.


The daily update on Clayton Kershaw is really neither good or bad because it doesn’t seem to have really accomplished anything.


First pitch is scheduled for 11:10 a.m. PT on SportsNet LA.

About Cody Bashore

Cody Bashore is a lifelong Dodger fan originally from Carpinteria, California (about 80 miles north of Dodger Stadium along the coast). He left California to attend Northern Arizona University in 2011, and has lived in Arizona full-time since he graduated in 2014 with a journalism degree.