Dodgers @ Guardians August 22, 2023: Dodgers return to action to open series against an old friend

The Dodgers survived an unscheduled tropical-storm-doubleheader on Saturday, as they took both games to secure a series win over the Marlins. It was a nice bounceback after the Dodgers saw their 11-game win streak snapped on Friday, and bumped the Dodgers up to a 12-game lead in the division. Today, the Dodgers return and open up a six-game interleague road trip with three games against the Guardians. Cleveland is 59-66 and only six games back in the trainwreck AL Central. They’ve lost four of their last five and are coming off a four-game series loss against the Tigers. The Guardians came to LA last June and took two of three. Both their wins came late, as they broke a 1-1 tie in the 10th in the opener and scored two off Craig Kimbrel in the ninth inning of the finale to take the series.

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4:10 PM Cleveland
2B Betts LF Kwan (L)
1B Freeman (L) 3B Ramirez (S)
C Smith 1B Calhoun (L)
3B Muncy (L) DH Gonzalez
LF Peralta (L) 2B Gimenez (L)
RF Heyward (L) SS Arias
CF Outman (L) RF Brennan (L)
DH Busch (L) C Naylor (L)
SS Rojas CF Straw
P Miller (R) P Syndergaard (R)

Bobby Miller starts the series opener. Miller looked great against Milwaukee, as he allowed one run, one hit and one walk in six innings. He only needed 74 pitches to complete those six innings, but was taken out to preserve his inning count in his rookie year. He’s at 89 2/3 innings this season between the Majors and OKC after tossing a combined 112 1/3 innings last year in the minors. The Dodgers can’t really afford to have him not in the rotation in October, so it’ll be worth watching how they manage his innings with a large division lead and with some pitchers returning from injury. His velocity has held up pretty well, as his fastball velocities against Milwaukee were above his season averages. However, he’s getting fewer whiffs and strikeouts (only eight in his last 12 innings) than you’d expect from a guy with his stuff. Cleveland has the best team strikeout rate in baseball (18.6 percent), but they also have the worst hard-hit rate (26.7 percent).

Opposing Miller is old pal Noah Syndergaard, who’s making his fifth start in Cleveland after being traded by the Dodgers before the deadline for Amed Rosario. Rosario has been solid in LA while Syndergaard has been Syndergaard in Cleveland. The Guardians needed a pitcher to eat some innings and so far Syndergaard has done that for them, averaging over five innings per start with them. He started his Guardians career with a weird start in Houston, where he only allowed three baserunners and one run over 5 1/3 innings against a good Astro offense (good!). He also failed to record a strikeout and five of the 17 balls put in play off him had exit velocities over 100MPH (all outs) and eight of the balls put in play had xBA’s over .400 (only one fell in for a single). His home debut was also eventful as he allowed four homers and started the game where Tim Anderson got his shit rocked. He followed that up with a good start in Toronto, as he allowed a run on six hits in 5 2/3 innings with five strikeouts. Last time out, he allowed five runs on eight hits in 4 1/3 innings.


In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened. J.D. Martinez was placed on the IL.

Martinez was limping on July 30 and has spent the last 3 weeks in and out of the lineup, getting scratched from the lineup and dealing with the discomfort rather than being placed on the IL. Today, the Dodgers finally did the thing and IL’d him.

In the meantime, Michael Busch had been tearing up AAA, with a .343/432/.686 slash line and nearly as many walks (11) as strikeouts (12) in August. They finally made the move today, activating Busch and giving Martinez some time to recover. Busch is in the lineup today, serving as the DH and batting eighth. Martinez is expected to be out at least 2-3 weeks and won’t swing a bat for a week.


Ryan Pepiot is still with the team after an impressive return to the Majors last week. He might start Thursday’s early morning finale in Cleveland, pushing Lance Lynn back to the opener in Boston.


First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 PM PT and will be shown on SportsNet LA.

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.