Before yesterday’s 4-2 loss in 10 innings, the Dodgers last lost three consecutive games back on July 16th to 18th at home to the San Francisco Giants. That also happens to be the most recent sweep the team endured, but was just three games. To find the last four-game sweep, you have to go back to 2019 when the Dodgers lost four straight in St. Louis to the Cardinals from April 8th to 11th. As for the last four-game sweep in Los Angeles, that’s 2018 against the Reds from May 10th to 13th.
For the franchises specifically…
The last time the Braves swept the Dodgers in a four-game series on the road was April 12-15, 1906— Eric Stephen (@ericstephen) September 3, 2023
They were the Boston Braves (or Beaneters, if you prefer) then, and the Dodgers were in Brooklyn. The series was the first of the season, at Washington Park
With outings of 4 1/3 innings by Lance Lynn, 5 from Julio Urias and 4 for Emmet Sheehan, Bobby Miller will look to be the first Dodgers’ starter to reach 6 innings since his own outing back on Monday against the Diamondbacks. No Dodger has actually reached 6 innings against the Braves offense in 2023, with Gavin Stone hitting 4 innings, Miller reaching 5 (in his first career start) and Tony Gonsolin finishing at 5 2/3 during the series in May. Adding two more meetings from 2022 to the run and the last Dodgers pitcher to reach 6 innings against Atlanta was Urias on May 24, 2022 for a total of nine meetings ago. As for a 7-inning outing, that would be Walker Buehler on Aug. 31, 2021.
Given the Braves success over the past few years, none of that is too surprising, but Atlanta’s starters have gone 6, 7 and 6 innings in this series and two of three starters went 6 innings in Atlanta back in May. Point being, the Braves have been able to get a bit more length from their starters over the past few seasons while the Dodgers have managed to hold a 10-8 advantage in the regular season over the past three years.
|1:10 P.M.||Los Angeles|
|2B||Albies (S)||1B||Freeman (L)|
|1B||Olson (L)||3B||Muncy (L)|
|LF||Rosario (L)||RF||Heyward (L)|
|P||Morton (R)||P||Miller (R)|
David Peralta will be at designated hitter against a right-handed starter rather than Michael Busch with Chris Taylor in left field. Busch’s .125/.185/.375/.560 line in 27 PAs since coming back up on Aug. 22. Striking out nine times to two walks, Busch has a pair of home runs and a single. Peralta is at DH for just the sixth time this season, though the most recent time was just a few days ago against the D-backs. Peralta’s August didn’t go great with a .254/.282/.338/.620 in 78 PAs, but went 2-for-3 with a double last night.
Miller will get seven of the nine he faced back in May and eight of the same nine from last night, with Sean Murphy on the bench for Travis d’Arnaud. It’s the same nine as Friday, with Ronald Acuna 6-for-13 in the series followed by Ozzie Albies‘ 3-for-9, Orlando Arcia‘s 4-for-12, Austin Riley‘s 4-for-14 and Marcell Ozuna‘s 4-for-10. Unsurprisingly, the Braves offense that ranks atop the league with a 125 wRC+ and an .845 OPS has been pretty strong while scoring 18 runs in three games.
After starting his first 15 career games against 15 different teams, Miller faced the Diamondbacks for a second time back on Monday and allowed 4 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks in 6 innings. That was after a 6-inning outing on Aug. 9 included 4 hits and 4 walks allowed in what was a shutout of Arizona. Miller’s first start against the Braves, his major league debut back on May 23, included 4 hits and 1 walk allowed in 5 innings.
Furthering the 6-inning point from above, Miller has hit 6 innings in his past four starts after doing so in just four of his first 12 starts. In Miller’s debut against the Braves, Austin Riley doubled in Atlanta’s only run while Albies going 2-for-2 with a single and a double. Both are in the lineup today with the Braves going with three lefties and one switch hitter.
Through his 87 2/3 career innings, Miller’s splits have produced better results against left-handed batters except for one category.
The walk rate to left-handed batters more than doubling compared to right-handed batters has led to the heightened FIP and much higher xFIP despite the difference in OPS and wOBA. Without taking too long to that close right now, the one major difference is Miller’s fastball location up in the zone. The sample size favors left-handed batters by 100 more pitches, but for whatever reason he’s missed high to left-handed batters a bit more often than to right-handed batters.
Miller’s sinker shares a similar pattern to lefties with a sample size of 42 less pitches than to right-handed batters.
Whatever is the specific issue for Miller’s increased walk rate to left-handed batters, it seems as though that’s something to focus on going forward.
Opposing Miller will be Charlie Morton in his seventh career regular season game against the Dodgers. Four of those starts have come in the past three seasons, including one earlier this season. In those four starts against Los Angeles since joining Atlanta, Morton has allowed 15 runs on 20 hits and 8 walks across 21 1/3 innings. Six of those runs came in the 5-inning start back in June as J.D. Martinez hit a solo homer, David Peralta came up with an RBI triple and Freddie Freeman went 2-for-3 with a double, home run and three RBIs.
Morton is at 43.8% curves in 2023 followed by 32.2% fastballs at 94.9 mph. Both of those numbers jump up against lefties, at 46.8% and 36.2% respectively while right-handed batters are at 40.9% and 28.5% followed by 12.6% cutters and 11.8% sinkers.
First pitch is set for 1:10 p.m. from Dodger Stadium on SportsNet LA.