Pirates @ Dodgers July 4, 2023: Sheehan looks to give the Dodgers a win on Independence Day

The Dodgers bounced back from a rough series loss in Kansas City in nice fashion last night. Michael Grove and five relievers combined to allow only two runs and seven hits while the offense scored four runs in five innings off Pirates ace Mitch Keller. Today, the Dodgers look for win number 48 and look to gain a game on the Diamondbacks, who lost to the Mets earlier today.

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6:10 P.M. Los Angeles
DH McCutchen 2B Betts
LF Reynolds (S) 1B Freeman (L)
RF Davis C Smith
1B Santana (S) 3B Muncy (L)
CF Suwinski (L) DH Martinez
SS Gonzales LF Peralta (L)
3B Triolo RF Heyward (L)
2B Castro (S) CF Outman (L)
C Hedges SS Rojas
P Ortiz (R) P Sheehan (R)

Emmet Sheehan (whose first name I still can never spell right first try) gets the start for LA today. Sheehan had his slightly rough start in Colorado last time out, allowing seven hits and three runs in five innings. He was victimized by some weak exit velocity falling in, but also got the benefit of a 14-run outing by the Dodger offense. He did strike out five, which is the most he’s struck out in a Major League game this year, and had his first game without issuing a walk.

Opposing Sheehan is rookie Luis Ortiz, who is apparently one of two rookie pitchers in Pennsylvania named Luis Ortiz. The Pirates’ Ortiz came up for a cup of coffee last September and had a good enough start to his career, allowing two runs in his first three starts before a fourth start where he allowed six runs and only recorded two outs. He’s coming off arguably his worst start of the season against San Diego. Ortiz allowed four runs (two homers) and six hits in 4 2/3 innings and failed to record a strikeout for the first time in 10 outings this season. Two starts ago was his best start of the season, as he needed only 97 pitches to complete eight innings and he allowed only one run and seven hits. Ortiz has nearly walked as many batters (25) as he’s struck out (31).

Obviously everything is a small sample size with both of these pitchers, but Ortiz has had some interesting usage in his short career. In his four games last year, Ortiz threw a fastball 42.9 percent of the time and it averaged 98.4 MPH. So far this season, he’s thrown the fastball only 25.7 percent of the time and it’s averaging only 96.1 MPH. His fastball seems to have some more sink to it, as last season his sinker was tracked by Baseball Savant 14.9 percent of the time. This season, that’s up to 27.7 percent. That sinking action has helped his ground ball rate jump from 43.9 percent last year to 50.6 percent this season.

The Dodgers run out nearly the same lineup as last night. Mookie Betts starts at second rather than in right, Jason Heyward moves over to right and James Outman gets the start in center.


Good news Dodger fans. Matt Moreno is reporting that Noah Syndergaard threw a bullpen session and will throw a sim game on Thursday.


The Dodgers added Pat Valaika, per Alex Freedman. The former Rockie and Oriole spent six seasons in the Majors, but has been in Triple-A the last two seasons. He posted a .671 OPS for the Braves’ affiliate last season and so far this season he’s posted a .748 for the Mariners’ affiliate. He joins the OKC Dodgers and gives the Dodgers a potential versatile defender.


With Clayton Kershaw being placed on the IL yesterday, Pirate closer David Bednar will take his spot on the All-Star team.


First pitch is scheduled for 6:10 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.