Pirates @ Dodgers July 3, 2023: Keller vs. Grove with 6 games until the All-Star break

The Dodgers (46-37) dropped two out of three games to the Kansas City Royals (25-59) this weekend in a pretty poor showing. Still, they’ve won seven of their last eleven and things are relatively still trending in the right direction. It’d be great for the team to keep that up or go on a winning streak with six consecutive home games before the All-Star break.

They’ll start a four game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates tonight, looking to return the favor as they dropped two of three to Pittsburgh back in April. The Pirates will open the series with the right-handed Mitch Keller on the mound, the ace of their staff. The Dodgers counter with Michael Grove.

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7:10 P.M. Los Angeles
LF Palacios (L) RF Betts
DH Reynolds (S) 1B Freeman (L)
CF Suwinski (L) C Smith
1B Santana (S) 3B Muncy (L)
RF Davis DH Martinez
SS Gonzales LF Peralta (L)
2B Castro (S) CF Heyward (L)
3B Triolo 2B Vargas
C Hedges SS Rojas
P Keller (R) P Grove (R)

Mookie Betts will start in right field tonight, with Jason Heyward in center field and David Peralta in left. Miguel Rojas will be at short as Miguel Vargas is at second base. James Outman has the day off and Max Muncy bats cleanup.

Here’s how these two offenses matchup.

The Dodgers and Pirates do feature some similarities in their offensive profiles. They’re right next to each other in batting average, strikeout rate, and walk rate. As usual the main difference is slugging, where the Dodgers are fourth in baseball at .444, while Pittsburgh is 24th at .392. The Dodgers have hit the third most home runs in baseball at 130, while the Pirates have just 77.

Somewhere they differ significantly is on the basepaths. The Pirates are fifth in baseball in steals at 79. They’ll run all day without fear as they’ve also been caught stealing a whopping 27 times, the most in the sport. That gives them the fifth lowest success rate at 74.5%. With a mediocre and or below average offense (Pittsburgh), stealing is usually more valuable as the offense is less likely to produce extra-base hits and generate consistent offense with runners on base, so moving them into scoring position is oftentimes worth the risk. 16.4% of their steals (13/79) came in three games against the Dodgers the last time these two teams met. An atrocious performance by LA. Hopefully the team is better prepared this time.

Jack Suwinski has been the best position player on the Pirates this year, with a 131 wRC+ and .857 OPS while playing a very serviceable center field. Andrew McCutchen has been great this year, with a 129 wRC+ but isn’t starting tonight. Bryan Reynolds has taken a slight step back from his 2021 All-Star season, but has still managed to put up a 118 wRC+ and .811 OPS while dealing with back inflammation. Ji Hwan Bae has just a .609 OPS and 69 wRC+ this year, but does lead Pittsburgh in stolen bases with 20.


Grove has thrown just 37 innings this season, but here’s how he compares to Mitch Keller. Keller has given up just eight more earned runs than Grove this year with an additional 68 innings pitched.

With Clayton Kershaw officially going on the Injured List with left shoulder inflammation, Grove will start in his place. Grove made five appearances in June and posted a 6.86 ERA and 1.48 WHIP in 21 innings during that time. He’s really struggled, but every outing is a chance to turn the corner.

Mitch Keller on the other hand has been great, and is the only All-Star for the Pirates this year. Slightly off topic, but The Pirates’ closer, David Bednar, was arguably snubbed from the All-Star game as he has 16 saves in 17 attempts and a 1.44 ERA in 31.1 innings. Keller is having a great year so far, with a 3.34 ERA and a 9-3 record in 105 innings, deserving off his All-Star selection. He’s been very dependable as well, with the tenth most innings pitched in baseball at 105.0. In his last outing, he allowed one earned run on four hits and two walks while striking out five across six innings. As good as he’s been, he has a 4.68 ERA over his last seven starts and 42.1 innings pitched. Over that stretch, he has 41 strikeouts to 14 walks, a 22.7% strikeout rate and 7.7% walk rate. I like when pitchers figure something out and perform well, but those numbers are more in line with his career 4.60 ERA, 3.89 FIP, 22.5% strikeout rate and 9.0% walk rate.

The Dodgers would like to see him pitch more like his former self tonight, but the bats will have to show up regardless. They were all but silenced yesterday by Brady Singer and his 5.88 ERA.


Twitter is still having some issues refreshing and embedding properly in threads, so I’ll summarize everything going on.

Kershaw is going on the Injured List with shoulder inflammation and is eligible to return post All-Star Break. Victor Gonzalez was optioned to Oklahoma City, as Grove and Gavin Stone were recalled. Stone didn’t make his last start so is available whenever the team sees fit.


First pitch is at 7:10 PM 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!