Dodgers @ Orioles July 17, 2023: Sheeeeeiiieeehan opens the series in Baltimore

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The Dodger bats went silent in the finale in New York, as a 2-1 extra innings loss snapped a six-game winning streak. The Dodgers still sit in first place in the West, but only by 1.5 games as the Giants also leapfrogged the struggling Diamondbacks for second place.

Today, the Dodgers open up a series against a surprising Orioles team. The young talent in Baltimore has paid off so far, as the Orioles have the third-best record in baseball and are only a game back of the Rays for first in the AL East. They’ve won eight in a row and have outscored opponents 60-20 over that time. The Dodgers and Orioles haven’t met since 2019, when the Dodgers took two of three in Baltimore. The Orioles were 46-97 entering the series, which is quite a difference from where they are today.

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4:05 PM Baltimore
2B Betts SS Henderson (L)
1B Freeman (L) C Rutschman (S)
C Smith RF Santander (S)
3B Muncy (L) 1B O’Hearn (L)
DH Martinez DH Mountcastle
LF Peralta (L) CF Hicks (S)
RF Heyward (L) LF Cowser (L)
SS Taylor 3B Urias
CF Outman (L) 2B Frazier (L)
P Sheehan (R) P Rodriguez (R)

Emmet Sheehan gets his first start of the second half. He ended the first half on a sour note with his worst start as a big leaguer on the Fourth of July. After getting the first two batters of the game, Sheehan walked the next three and then allowed a ground rule double for two runs before recording the third out. He settled down a bit in the second and third, but allowed a leadoff homer in the fourth and then loaded the bases again. He gave up a run on a sac fly and was pulled for Caleb Ferguson, who allowed a fifth earned run onto Sheehan’s line. His five earned runs matched the number of runs he’d allowed in his previous three starts.

Sheehan is the old timer in this game, a day older than Orioles starter Grayson Rodriguez. Rodriguez entered the season as the seventh-ranked prospect on MLB Pipeline but struggled hard in his first 10 starts, with a 7.35 ERA/5.93 FIP. He ended April on a strong note, with two consecutive scoreless outings (with a huge caveat, both against the Tigers). The wheels fell off in May, where he allowed 26 earned runs in 21 innings and opponents OPS’d 1.246 off him. He allowed 11 homers in those 21 innings, including bookending starts where he allowed three homers in each game. He was optioned after his last start in May and dominated Triple-A, with nine earned runs in 41 1/3 innings over eight starts.

Among pitchers with 100 or more batted balls against, Rodriguez’s 53 percent hard hit rate is the worst in baseball (per Baseball Savant). He’s thrown a fastball 44.8 percent of the time and averages 96.7 MPH on it. He’s thrown a changeup 21 percent of the time and throws it to both sides of the plate. He’s also thrown a slider 14.7 percent of the time (almost exclusively to righties), cutter 12.3 percent of the time and curveball 7.2 percent of the time.

Mookie Betts gets another start at second with the lefties in the outfield. Jason Heyward left yesterday’s game with a neck issue, but is back in there today. Chris Taylor starts for Miguel Rojas at short.


First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 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.