After a four-game series with San Diego (55-58), the Dodgers (65-46) wrap up their short NL West road trip with two games against the Diamondbacks (57-56). Arizona is 5-3 against the Dodgers this season, and play a total of five more games this season, two in Arizona tonight and tomorrow, and three in Los Angeles three weeks from now. Arizona has been struggling, sitting at 5-17 since the All-Star Break, tied with the Miami Marlins for the worst record in baseball in the second half. They’re also in the midst of a six game losing streak. Tough stretch for them. Meanwhile, the Dodgers are 14-8 in the second half, most notably coming off a four game series win against the Padres. Julio Urias will be on the mound tonight up against the right-handed rookie Brandon Pfaadt.
|1B||Freeman (L)||CF||Carroll (L)|
|LF||Peralta (L)||LF||Gurriel Jr.|
|P||Urías (L)||P||Pfaadt (R)|
It’s a small sample size, but this offense has been cooking lately. They’re 6-1 in August and have scored 59 runs thus far, a scorching 8.4 runs per game.
Against the right-handed Pfaadt, the Dodgers will send out their lefty heavy lineup, with James Outman, David Peralta, and Jason Heyward all in the outfield and playing well as of late. J.D. Martinez was a late scratch from the game, with Max Muncy sliding to DH and Enrique Hernandez starting at third base. Outman has continued his strong second half, with his OPS up to .799 with a 121 wRC+. He owns a .775 OPS against left-handed pitching and an .808 OPS against right-handed pitching. He’s slashing .361/.519./.525 in the second half, with a 194 wRC+. Something I’m impressed by is his increased walk-rate, with a 22.2% clip in the second half with 18 walks and just 19 strikeouts.
The previously surprisingly strong Arizona offense has dropped off, cooling down to a 100 wRC+, sixteenth in the league. They’re still third in stolen bases with 119, and the third lowest strikeout rate in baseball at 20.4%. They put the ball in play and try to maximize their speed on the bases, a strength of theirs.
Here’s how Urías and Pfaadt matchup.
Urías earned his eighth win of the year in his last time out, going five scoreless innings against Oakland. He allowed just three hits and one walk while striking out five, on an efficient 68 pitches. Dave Roberts indicated that Urías was likely to only go five innings last time out, and did exactly that. He’ll be looking to build off that last outing and be able to go deeper into the game tonight. Granted it was against the A’s, but it’s still good to see solid performance from him, as he’s been lacking those this season. He’s gone at least five innings in five consecutive starts which is hugely important for this bullpen.
Pfaadt is still searching for his first win at the Major League level, taking another loss in his last outing against San Francisco. He allowed just one run over seven innings with seven strikeouts in the best outing of his young career. He’s made three starts since returning from the minor leagues, and he now has a 3.42 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, and sixteen strikeouts to just two walks in 18.2 innings. Without looking into it too much, it seems he’s going through pretty standard issues that plague pitchers transitioning from the minors to the superior talent in the majors. His strikeouts drop significantly, and his mistake pitches more frequently turn into home runs. He’s a very highly touted prospect, so I’m sure he’ll figure it out and the Dodgers will hope it’s not tonight.
Victor Gonzalez is recalled, likely not taking any high leverage opportunities but providing depth.
Once again, I am saying IL Martinez and DH Michael Busch. Someone listen to me, I feel like I’m speaking into the void.
First pitch is at 6:40 PM PT on SNLA and MLB Network.