Lance Lynn made his Dodger debut last night, allowing just three runs over seven innings earning a win in his first outing. The seven inning start is a miracle and allowed the team to use just two relievers. The offense put up seven runs on seven hits, although six of those hits came from Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman. Neither of those two walked, so there were nine walks from the other seven batters, putting runners on base to eventually be knocked (or walked) in.
|7:10 PM||Los Angeles|
|1B||Brown (L)||3B||Muncy (L)|
|P||Harris (L)||P||Gonsolin (R)|
The offense will once again be facing a lefty, so they’ll run out the exact same lineup as yesterday, a true rarity.
Betts scored twice last night and added two extra base hits, a solo shot and a double. Freeman continued his incredible season going 4-5 with one double and three singles. Chris Taylor walked four times which is a sentence I can’t believe I’m actually writing, while James Outman added two walks of his own. Outman featured a .309/.434/.472 slash in July, good for a .904 OPS and 155 wRC+. He had his highest monthly walk rate at an impressive 16.9%, with his lowest monthly strikeout rate at a manageable 25.3%. You figure he’ll eventually find a way to tap into more of his raw power, but even at that he’s a valuable player as an above average center fielder, above average baserunner, and above average batter with minimal platoon splits.
Here’s how tonight’s starters matchup.
Harris allowed two runs on two hits and a walk while striking out three over 3.1 innings against the Giants in his last outing. He followed an opener for the second time in his last three games. He’s started just one of his last three games, but has gone over three innings in each appearance. Overall he hasn’t been great, but he’s a young lefty that gets up to 94 MPH with his heater and commands three other pitches. Pretty easy to see an avenue to turn him into a productive player. He throws his 4-Seam fastball nearly half the time, adding in a cutter that sits around 90 MPH, a changeup around 80 MPH, and a mid-high 70’s curve. He throws the changeup almost exclusively to right-handed batters, throwing just two of 186 to lefties. The 4-Seamer and changeup have been rather effective, but the cutter and curve have caused him trouble.
Gonsolin took the loss in his last outing against the Blue Jays, giving up five runs on seven hits and three walks over five innings with five strikeouts. That outing just added to his recent struggles, allowing four or more runs in six of his last seven starts, resulting in a 7.25 ERA over that stretch. His career low swinging strike rate of 9.7% has resulted in a career low 19.7% strikeout rate, in addition to his career low 92.6 mph average fastball velocity. Not great! He has faced some decently tough teams during this stretch of poor performance, not that it should be easily defensible regardless. The Rangers, Angels, Blue Jays, and Mets are all top ten offenses, with the Astros and Giants just outside of that range. However, his 3.2 inning four earned run outing against the lowly Royals cannot be overlooked.
Without looking into it too much, and there is a lot of nuance with these stats, Statcast has Gonsolin’s 4-Seamer with a Run Value of +13, one of the more valuable individual pitches in baseball. In terms of 4-Seamers, that’s eighth amongst all 4-Seamers, and Run Value is also cumulative, so for Run Value per 100 pitches, it’s second in baseball just behind Félix Bautista, the Orioles’ unhittable closer. Having a very good fastball despite the decreased velocity is promising, as there are positives even during a terrible stretch. Less exciting is that all of his off speed stuff has been either getting hit hard or simply ineffective. Just getting any of his other pitches to be effective should get him in a place where he can succeed again.
I think Michael Grove coming out of the bullpen at least for the remainder of this year, provides him the best opportunity to be a successful pitcher. He has an elite 44.0% whiff rate on his slider, with an expected wOBA (xwOBA) of .257. For comparison, Miguel Rojas has a .242 wOBA. His xwOBA on his curveball is .302, and for another comparison, Miguel Vargas had a .296 wOBA this year. The league average wOBA is .318. On his fastball however, he’s allowed a .511 wOBA, and Shohei Ohtani leads baseball in wOBA at .441 for an idea of what that looks like.
Deadline acquisition Ryan Yarbrough looks like he’ll play some role in this weekend series against San Diego. It’s still to be determined whether or not he’ll be starting, long relief, opening, but the flexibility he allows the team is great. Not a headliner acquisition but he does help.
As the Dodgers have decided to hold onto most of their prospects at least until the offseason, it’s good to see guys like Kyle Hurt moving on up. He’s currently 23rd in the Dodgers’ system on MLB Pipeline and 38th in the system at FanGraphs. With 110 strikeouts to 33 walks in just 65 innings, with a decent showing in Triple-A, I doubt he stays that low in the system rankings for long.
It seems that J.D. Martinez had an MRI and they still haven’t been able to nail down the exact issues but it makes him more day-to-day than something requiring an IL stint. I still think they should IL him and bring up Michael Busch but that’s just my opinion.
First pitch is at 7:10 PM PT on SNLA.