After a relatively uneventful deadline day for the Dodgers, they will get their first look at their premier mid-season acquisition as Lance Lynn is on the mound for his debut and amazingly his first game for a National League team since 2017.
Debuting with the Cardinals all the way back in 2011, the 36-year-old then spent time with the Twins, Yankees, Rangers and White Sox. The deadline trade wasn’t a first for Lynn, who went from Minnesota to New York at the end of July back in 2018.
Lynn immediately has a pretty decent change to improve his 6.47 ERA/4.84 xERA/5.21 FIP/4.01 xFIP as he faces the Athletics for the first time in 2023. He missed Chicago’s only series so far against Oakland by a day back at the end of June, so he hasn’t been able to face the team with the 29th offensive fWAR, 25th wRC+, 30th wOBA, 30th OPS and 4th-highest K%. It really is a nice transition into Los Angeles, where Lynn has pitched seven times in his career with a 4.26 ERA in 38 innings.
|7:10 P.M.||Los Angeles|
|3B||J. Diaz||CF||Outman (L)|
|P||Waldichuk (L)||P||Lynn (R)|
The Athletics are scheduled to throw three lefties in the series against the Dodgers, beginning with 25-year-old Ken Waldichuk in tonight’s game. That means Kiké Hernandez and Amed Rosario will get plenty of time against the team with -0.1 fWAR this season, obviously ranking 30th, as well as the worst ERA, FIP and xFIP in the league while also holding the worst BB% and 28th K% in baseball.
As for who won’t be in the lineup tonight or possibly in the series, J.D. Martinez‘s hamstring will for him to miss some time but he won’t go on the IL for 10 days while the Dodgers play the Athletics, Padres and D-backs over the next nine days.
Rosario gets the clean-up spot while starting his first career game at second base. Rosario entered Sunday’s game at second for a few innings before shifting back to short and is batting fourth for the first time since April 20, 2022 and the third time in his career.
Otherwise, Jason Heyward and David Peralta will be available off the bench as usual against a lefty, joining Martinez and Austin Barnes. Thankfully that means James Outman has to play against a left-handed pitcher as the Dodgers need Chris Taylor at designated hitter.
For the Athletics, they will have just one former Dodger in the order tonight as Ryan Noda is on the 10-day IL with a broken jaw. That’s a pretty big loss as Noda’s 131 wRC+ and 1.7 fWAR lead the team in 2023, ahead of All-Star Brent Rooker‘s 130 wRC+ and 1.3 fWAR. Cody Thomas will be in right field for the A’s, playing in his 14th game this season for Oakland in his third year with the organization. Sent to Oakland with Adam Kolarek for Gus Varland and Sheldon Neuse in February 2021, Thomas has 65 career PAs so far in the majors.
I already criticized Lynn plenty when the trade was made a few days ago, so instead I am just going to link a couple of the more optimistic outlooks for him here.
The Athletics have five left-handed batters in the line-up tonight against Lynn, so we will get a look immediately at what the Dodgers might have him do in addition to the adjustments he was already beginning to make while in Chicago.
Lynn’s final three starts for the White Sox included 17 earned runs allowed (20 total) in 16 2/3 innings while striking out 17 to 8 walks. He also allowed 6 home runs during the stretch to the Cubs, Brewers and Braves after allowing just 1 hit in 7 innings while striking out 11 against the Blue Jays on July 6.
While the Athletics are not in the AL Central, they are as bad offensively as all the teams in the AL Central. So just as a reminder, here’s what Lynn did in and out of the division this season.
Lance Lynn vs AL Central— Josh Thomas (@jokeylocomotive) July 30, 2023
vs everyone else
Hopefully they can magic him up lol
As for Waldichuk, well he enters tonight with his own issues at a 6.38 ERA/5.04 xERA/5.73 FIP/5.22 xFIP across 84 2/3 innings for Oakland this season. He was slightly better in 2022, with a 4.93 ERA/4.59 xERA/4.30 FIP/4.26 xFIP in 34 2/3 innings, but the lefty regressed a bit with more exposure in 2023.
Those numbers result in pretty much what you would expect for 2023.
Waldichuk has started 13 of his 24 appearances in 2023, but he hasn’t had an outing last past 5 innings since May 19 as he’s started just four games since that outing while being used as an opener twice. Otherwise, it’s been a lot of 1 to 3 inning outings beginning around the 6th or 7th. However, since the All-Star Break, Waldichuk has started twice and entered behind an opener against the Twins, Red Sox and Giants. In those 12 2/3 innings, he’s allowed 7 earned runs on 9 hits and 7 walks, but struck out 16. Given that his ERA hasn’t been 6.38 or lower this entire season, that’s essentially the 25-year-old’s best stretch of the season.
Primarily a four-seamer, sweeper and change-up pitcher, Waldichuk’s approach varies just slightly to right-handed and left-handed batters.
|vs. RHH||vs. LHH|
Left-handed batters swing and miss at the sweeper at a 32.3% rate while the change-up gets right-handed batters to miss 38.4%. However, there’s very little split for Waldichuk’s stats to either side of the plate.
While righties have 319 plate appearances compared to lefties at 80, the numbers still speak for themselves.
Chad already covered the moves of Kolarek, Justin Bruihl, Phil Bickford and Eddys Leonard for cash in a trio of deals, as well as the acquisition of Ryan Yarbrough from Kansas City, so there’s very little other news to cover for the day. With Bickford designated for assignment a few days ago, Yarbrough takes his place on the 40-man roster which is back to being full.
It does get interesting in the next week or so with how the Dodgers arrange things now. Assuming Yarbrough is set for a spot in the rotation, and he’s started all four games since returning from the IL, he seems likely to take the 26-man spot of Michael Grove or Emmet Sheehan. Whoever isn’t optioned likely won’t be far behind anyway as Clayton Kershaw nears his return as well.
With the bullpen now consisting of righties Yency Almonte, Ryan Brasier, Brusdar Graterol, Joe Kelly and Evan Phillips as well as lefties Caleb Ferguson and Alex Vesia, that actually feels a little settled for the time being with there being one more spot available once the rotation is sorted out. That could just be Yarbrough in a mix of what Grove’s role has been as a 6th starter, reliever or following an opener, or Tony Gonsolin may wind up pitching out of the bullpen himself now. At some point, if the rotation can ever get back to full health, it looks like it will be Kershaw, Julio Urias, Bobby Miller, Lynn and Gonsolin or Yarbrough.
There’s not a ton of flexibility left, unless they send Gonsolin down or option Miller to ease his innings as they prepare for the postseason.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. on SportsNet LA.