Diamondbacks @ Dodgers August 29, 2023: Kershaw starts as Dodgers look for 9th consecutive series win

The Dodgers (81-49) won the first game of this three game series against the Diamondbacks (69-63) last night by a score of 7-4. Bobby Miller earned his eighth win of the year, and the offense put up seven runs on eleven hits and five walks with just four strikeouts. Arizona showed they were actual contenders to make the playoffs this season back in April, taking three of four against the Dodgers. The Dodgers have gotten better as the season has gone on, and including the win last night, now lead the season series 6-5. There are just two games remaining between these two teams in the regular season, so a win tonight would solidify a season series win over Arizona. They’re currently second in the NL West, but trail by 13 games now. Clayton Kershaw will be on the mound for the Dodgers, up against the right-handed Merrill Kelly.

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7:10 PM Los Angeles
2B Marte (S) 2B Betts
DH Kennedy 1B Freeman (L)
RF Pham C Smith
1B Walker 3B Muncy (L)
LF Gurriel Jr. DH Peralta (L)
3B Longoria RF Heyward (L)
CF Carroll (L) CF Outman (L)
SS Ahmed LF Taylor
C Moreno SS Rojas
P Kelly (R) P Kershaw (L)

The Diamondbacks have a speedy, successful offense as a whole, but have struggled against left-handed pitching all season. Christian Walker has been the most successful of the bunch against LHP this year with a 155 wRC+, with Gabriel Moreno (153), Ketel Marte (139), and Evan Longoria (125) trailing right behind. Tommy Pham has a 125 wRC+ against LHP on the year, but is down to just 93 with Arizona. Everyone else on the roster has been below average against LHP.

There have been a few guys in this Arizona lineup that have had success against Kershaw over the years. Marte owns a career .768 OPS against Kershaw, with Longoria at .782, while Christian Walker has been Kershaw’s career kryptonite. Walker has a .303/.324/.758 slash against Kershaw, with five homers in 34 plate appearances. He’s tied with Nolan Arenado for the most home runs by an individual player against Kershaw.

Meanwhile, the top four of the Dodgers’ order has really put a hurt on Kelly. Mookie Betts owns an .890 OPS against him, the lowest of the four. Will Smith clocks in at .894, Max Muncy at 1.080, and Freddie Freeman at 1.095. Freeman is now just ten points off Luis Arraez for the highest average in the National League, as he’s currently sitting at .340. His 50 doubles have him in the lead by 13, and he’s looking to be the first player to reach 60 doubles since hall of famers Charlie Gehringer and Joe Medwick did in 1936. Betts is still fighting Ronald Acuna Jr. in the MVP race, but Freeman isn’t far behind. A torrid month by any of the three would lock the award in for them.


Here’s how the two starters matchup and rank amongst 99 starting pitchers with at least 100 innings pitched.

Kelly left his last start against the Reds with a right hamstring cramp, but is returning on normal rest today. It clearly didn’t bother him during the majority of his last start, as he turned in his best start of the year. He held Cincinnati scoreless over seven one-hit innings with twelve strikeouts. Kelly has been fantastic for Arizona all season, especially as of late, with a 2.08 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, and 37 strikeouts to eight walks in 30.1 August innings. He’s given up seven earned runs all month, six of which have come via solo home run. His walk-rate (8.9%), FIP (3.92), and HR-FB rate (14.7%) don’t agree with his 2.97 ERA, but that doesn’t matter. He’s a month away from a top ten Cy Young finish.

Kershaw allowed one run on one hit while striking out four over two innings against Cleveland on Wednesday in a game that was suspended due to rain (controversially). His stuff seemed sharp early, with eight whiffs in just 33 pitches, including striking out the side in the second inning. His lone blemish was a solo home run to Jose Ramirez in the first inning. The short start might be beneficial for Kershaw in the long run as he’s already spent time on the IL this season. He’s now made three starts since returning from injury, allowing three earned runs in twelve innings, all coming via solo home run.


This was a crazy development that happened earlier today. Due to the way waivers work, the odds are near zero that any of these players slide past the 27 teams with worse records than LA. Good problem to have I guess. Also I’d expect the MLBPA to file a grievance over this. Placing players on waivers is normal, but Giolito has an established track record, while Matt Moore (2.30 ERA, 0.98 WHIP), and Reynaldo Lopez (2.23 ERA since 5/5) have been excellent.


Ryan Pepiot has looked fantastic in his two outings this season, allowing just two earned runs with eleven strikeouts and just one walk over nine innings.

Kudos to Tony Gonsolin for attempting to pitch through an injury knowing the end result would likely be Tommy John surgery regardless. I’m not a doctor, so if the most prominent TJ specialist says that Gonsolin could pitch through it if he was able to, I’ll believe him. It’s somewhat nice to know that his decline was likely due to the fact that his UCL was torn, not an issue with his skill or ability. Assuming he recovers fine, I look forward to seeing him in 2025.


First pitch is at 7:10 PM PT on SNLA or MLB Network.

About Allan Yamashige

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Just a guy living in Southern California, having a good time writing about baseball. Hated baseball practice as a kid, but writing about it rules. Thanks for reading!