Dodgers @ Orioles – July 18, 2023: Looking for another road series win behind Michael Grove

It’s been a bit of a tough season for Michael Grove, who has a 6.89 ERA and a 5.03 FIP in his 47 innings this year. After a 4.60 ERA and 5.16 FIP in 29 1/3 innings in 2022, 2023 hasn’t exactly been a step forward for the 26-year-old righty.

With four or more runs allowed in six of his 11 appearances, including four of five appearances lasting at least 5 innings, Grove’s best outing of the year was back in April as he threw 5 2/3 innings against the Cubs while allowing just one run. However, the Dodgers have won 7 of 11 games Grove has pitched in this season, including four of the past five games. Three of those were starts, one was a 2-inning appearance out of the bullpen and one followed an opener for 6 innings.

Grove’s ERA has been down at 5.32 in those five outings, lowering the season total to 6.89 from 8.28 back on June 9, though the .299 batting average and .887 OPS allowed during the stretch is still pretty rough.

Honestly, that’s all still much better than the team’s 4-8 record in starts by Noah Syndergaard and his 7.16 ERA and 5.54 FIP across 55 1/3 innings, so you can understand why the team keeps turning to Grove with all the injuries this season.

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4:05 P.M. Baltimore
2B Betts SS Henderson (L)
1B Freeman (L) C Rutschman (S)
C Smith DH Santander (S)
3B Muncy (L) 1B O’Hearn (L)
DH Martinez LF Hays
LF Peralta (L) CF Hicks (S)
RF Heyward (L) RF Cowser (L)
SS Rojas 2B Frazier (L)
CF Outman (L) 3B Westburg
P Grove (R) P Wells (R)

Another game against a right-handed starter, another day with the same nine in the batting order. Miguel Rojas is in front of James Outman, as he was yesterday, the sixth time the latter will bat at the bottom of the order this season. Outman is slashing .286/.390/.486/.876 in 41 July PAs, which is well ahead of his June numbers that were down to .224/.297/.254/.551 in 74 PAs.

Mookie Betts has now started five consecutive games at second base and seven of 12 games in July. Unfortunately, that’s come as Jason Heyward has cooled off a bit in July with a .154/.281/.192/.474 in 32 PAs after slashing .328/.375/.517/.892 in 64 PAs in June. Heyward has just three singles and four walks in his last 23 PAs, with his last extra base hit coming on July 3 against the Pirates, so hopefully that turns back around as he’s the starting right fielder against right-handed pitching now.

The Orioles have Austin Hays and Jordan Westburg starting today after coming off the bench last night as Ramon Urias and Ryan Mountcastle move to the bench.


Along with his typical mix of fastball, slider and curve, Grove started throwing a cutter according to Baseball Savant over his past three outings. While it has dipped in his usage from 13 to eight to four, opponents haven’t gotten a hit off the cutter in seven plate appearances. Like the change Grove threw four total times on June 3 and June 9, the pitch is exclusive to left-handed batters and has been used randomly in counts.

While Grove did eventually give up four runs to the Angels back on July 8, they all came after four scoreless innings with just two hits allowed following Alex Vesia‘s inning of work as the opener. An 8-0 lead in the 6th allowed the Dodgers to have Grove work through trouble, with three consecutive two-out hits resulting in two runs, and return for the 7th inning where he gave up a two-out, two-run homer to Shohei Ohtani.

Grove’s struggles with two outs have been frustrating this season, as you can see here:

0 outs1 out2 outs

There’s only two batters, Ohtani and Ronald Acuna Jr., hold an OPS above .992 in 2023 and only a third, Betts, is above .963. Meanwhile, a .665 OPS is essentially Jake Cronenworth or Anthony Volpe this season.


After his first two seasons in the majors were a bit of a struggle, Tyler Wells has flipped to a career-best ERA while producing a career-worst FIP.


Originally drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 15th round of the 2016 MLB Draft, Wells landed in Baltimore as a Rule 5 Draft pick in December 2020. Having missed the 2020 Minor League Season due to its cancellation, Wells debuted in the majors with the Orioles having spent a total of 32 innings in Double-A and skipping Triple-A entirely. Beginning as a reliever in 2021, Wells moved to the rotation for 23 starts last year and is already at 17 in 2023 with one relief appearance that lasted 5 innings back in April.

Wells has averaged 37% fastballs (92.5 mph), 26.3% sliders (84.0 mph), 23.4% cutters (88.6 mph), 8.0% changes (85.5 mph) and 5.3% curves (73.9 mph) to right-handed batters this season, leading to a .196/.247/.457/.704 line, but a K% down at 20.9. Left-handed batters see 36.8% fastballs, 32.7% changes, 16.3% cutters, 12.8% curves and a very rare slider. The Whiff% for the fastball and change are at 31.1% and 38.0% respectively, while none of Wells’ five pitches to right-handed batters is higher than a 25.0 Whiff%. Lefties have a line of .188/.234/.344/.578 with a 31.6 K%.

As I mentioned at the end of yesterday’s recap, Wells has been incredibly consistent in his past seven starts. Ranging from 5 innings to 6 2/3 innings with 82 to 102 pitches throw, Wells has allowed exactly two earned runs in each of those seven starts. For the full season, Wells has reached 5 innings in all 18 appearances with just three of those ending with more than three runs allowed. The Orioles have managed to lose three of Wells’ past four starts, but are 11-7 for the season.


Clayton Kershaw threw a bullpen session a few hours ahead of Tuesday’s game.

And how did it go?


First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. PT on SportsNet LA as well as TBS for anyone out of market.

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.