Reds @ Dodgers July 29, 2023: Sheehan starts as Dodgers look to end their slump

The Dodgers returned home from a very successful second-half-opening road trip and have struggled. They dropped two of three against Toronto and lost the opener last night against the Reds. They’ve lost four of their last five and the lone win in that timeframe required a four-run ninth inning to push it to extras.

Fortunately for the Dodgers, Arizona and San Francisco have also been struggling and the Dodgers remain three up in the division. With the trade deadline days away, the Dodgers look to snap their slump and avoid losing their second series of the season to the Reds.

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6:10 P.M. Los Angeles
3B De La Cruz (S) LF Peralta (L)
CF Friedl (L) 1B Freeman (L)
SS McLain C Smith
RF Fraley (L) 3B Muncy
2B India DH Martinez
1B Votto (L) RF Heyward (L)
LF Steer CF Outman (L)
DH Encarnacion-Strand 2B Taylor
C Maile SS Rojas
P Weaver (R) P Sheehan (R)

Emmet Sheehan gets the ball for the Dodgers for the final time before the deadline. The Dodgers already acquired one starter, and it remains to be seen whether Sheehan’s spot in the rotation is the next in jeopardy (whether it be another starter or Clayton Kershaw‘s impending return). He’s already thrown 82 2/3 innings between the Majors and AA this season, which is a career high. He’s coming off the worst start of his career where he lasted only 3 2/3 innings in Texas and allowed eight earned runs, eight hits and five walks. That continued a worrying July for Sheehan, who’s allowed 17 runs in 12 1/3 innings and issued more walks (12) than strikeouts (10).

Luke Weaver starts for the Reds for the 18th time this season. He’s struggled in his first year in Cincinnati, with a 7.20 ERA/5.99 FIP/1.675 WHIP in 80 innings. It’s not a case of a couple blow up starts as he’s allowed four or more runs in 11 of his 17 starts, including a season-high seven runs when he faced the Dodgers in Cincinnati. He allowed three runs in the first and allowed a solo homer in the fourth before loading the bases. Alex Young replaced Weaver and allowed a grand slam to Freddie Freeman, for three more runs on Weaver’s line. Naturally, the Dodgers managed to lose that game as the Reds bullpen held them scoreless for the next five innings while the Dodger bullpen allowed six, including three in the bottom of the ninth.

Numbers so bad the Dodgers might trade for him. Baseball Savant has Weaver throwing a four-seamer 45 percent of the time, the lowest in his career. That seems to be because he’s using his cutter and curveball more than he has in the past (17.3 and 13.8 percent, respectively). Neither pitch has been great, with wOBA’s of .441 and .359 (and expected wOBA’s of .373 and .464), respectively. His changeup (22.8 percent usage, used against both righties and lefties) is his only pitch with an xwOBA under .370 (only 24 qualified major league hitters have a wOBA over .370).

The Dodgers return to a normal lineup with a righty on the mound. Miguel Rojas slides back to short with Mookie Betts at second and the three lefties in the outfield. Just kidding, Mookie Betts was scratched from the lineup like a minute after I wrote this part of the thread. He has right ankle soreness according to the team, so David Peralta leads off and Chris Taylor starts at second and bats eighth. Betts is not available to hit tonight.


Kershaw update!

Kershaw was slated to throw one or two up-and-down innings of a sim game today but threw three instead. They’ll monitor how he’s feeling for the next couple days before making a decision on his next move, but he could be back as early as next week (or throw another sim game next week).


Today’s bullpen shakeup.

Joe Kelly is active and Dave Roberts said he could be used in leverage situations (seems like a bad idea). He’s wearing 17, which is weird considering Miguel Vargas wore the number before his demotion.

Phil Bickford was the roster casualty, as he was designated for assignment.


First pitch is scheduled for 6:10 PM PT and will be shown on SportsNet LA. SNLA will also broadcast Orel Hershiser‘s induction into the Legends of Dodger Baseball, starting at 5 PM PT.

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.