Dodgers @ Red Sox August 25, 2023: Mookie Betts returns to Boston for the first time since being traded

The Dodgers survived tarpgate in Cleveland, as they won the continuation of Wednesday’s game and took Thursday’s originally scheduled game for another series victory. They’ve won all seven series they’ve played in August after dropping two of three against Cincinnati to end July and are 19-3 overall this month, which seems good. Arizona is currently on a five-game winning streak, but still sit 12 games back of the Dodgers, who now find themselves only four back of Atlanta with a four-game set against them in LA next week.

Before that, they finish off this short road trip with a three-game weekend series in Boston. The Sox have won five of their last seven and are coming off a series split in Houston. They ended that series on a high note, with a 17-1 win last night. This is the first meeting between the Dodgers and Red Sox since 2019, when the Dodgers took two of three at Fenway. Things are… a bit different now. The Red Sox traded Mookie Betts to the Dodgers following that season, and that has seemingly worked out for the Dodgers. Mookie has been one on this month, with a casual .463/.517/.817 triple slash (1.334 OPS) in August. Betts has played in 42 games since July 1 and has reached base in all but two of them. He leads baseball in fWAR by a pretty decent amount (7.0, .7 over Shohei Ohtani and .6 over Ronald Acuna Jr.) and should be the MVP frontrunner at this point (although Acuna possibly going 35-70 is absurd). Betts returns to Fenway and squares off against the team that drafted him for the first time since the trade, weather permitting.

Image Image
4:10 PM Boston
2B Betts RF Verdugo (L)
1B Freeman (L) 3B Devers (L)
C Smith DH Turner
3B Muncy (L) LF Yoshida (L)
LF Peralta (L) CF Duvall
CF Hernández 1B Casas (L)
RF Heyward (L) SS Story
DH Busch (L) C McGuire (L)
SS Rojas 2B Reyes
P Crawford (R) P Lynn (R)

Lance Lynn looks to continue his turnaround as a Dodger. In four starts, Lynn has given the Dodgers a 1.44 ERA and has completed seven innings twice. He hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last two outings and all four earned runs he’s allowed as a Dodger have come on solo homers. The defense behind him is quite a bit better than the White Sox defense is and he hasn’t exactly faced any top-tier offenses (by wRC+, he’s faced the 14th, 24th, 25th and 30th ranked offenses), but so far so good on the widely panned (including by myself in angry texts to Allan) deadline move. Lynn has used his cutter a lot less since coming to LA (10.8 percent of the time in August after throwing it at least 24 percent of the time every other month this season) and is using his four seamer more. He’s been outperforming his expected numbers for August (.189 BA/.241 xBA, .356 SLG/.433 xSLG), but was also underperforming his expected numbers in Chicago. Overall, he’s probably closer to a solid starter than the literal best starter ERA in baseball, as he’s had in August). Lynn did face the Red Sox prior to the trade. He allowed three runs and six hits over 5 2/3 innings, with two of those runs coming in the sixth before he was pulled.

Kutter Crawford (80 grade pitcher name) gets his 17th start and 25th appearance for the Red Sox this season. After a rough rookie season last year, Crawford’s bounced back solidly with a 3.66 ERA/4.24 FIP in 96 innings. Crawford began the season in the rotation and was bumped into long relief until June, when he moved into the rotation and has remained there since. His time as a reliever was much better than his time as a starter, with a 1.66 ERA/.471 OPS against in relief and a 4.24 ERA/.740 OPS against as a starter. Much of that damage came in his first start, as he allowed seven runs in four innings to start the season. Since moving back into the rotation, Crawford has a 3.72 ERA/4.15 FIP and has allowed a .705 OPS. He’s coming off a strong start in New York, as he allowed only an Aaron Judge homer over six innings.

Thankfully, Crawford does throw a cutter. It’s his second-most-used pitch at 29.7 percent. He primarily uses a four-seamer (38.9 percent, averages 93.9 MPH) and throws a curveball 11.7 percent of the time. Crawford also mixes in a splitter, sweeper and slider, but usage is under nine percent for each of those pitches.

Enrique Hernandez gets the start in center in his return to Fenway. Betts leads off and starts at second. The Sox have a number of old friends, with Alex Verdugo leading off and Justin Turner hitting third as the DH. Connor Wong isn’t in the lineup today, but has a solid .712 OPS as the primary catcher in Boston. Kenley Jansen is potentially unavailable for the series after leaving Wednesday’s game with a hamstring injury. Chris Martin has been very good in Boston’s bullpen after an excellent stint in the Dodger bullpen to end last season.


Not many pregame updates, but there is rain in Boston.


First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 PM PT and will be shown on Apple TV+.

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.