Padres @ Dodgers September 12, 2023: Dodgers look to even up series as they call up Kyle Hurt

The Dodgers saw their pitching issues come to the surface again last night, as Gavin Stone was unable to make a 7-2 lead in the third inning hold up. The offense went quiet after a hot start, and a Chris Taylor/James Outman miscommunication helped lead to a four-run ninth for the Padres. It was only the Padres’ third win in 11 games against the Dodgers this season and kept the Dodgers from reaching a .500 record for a rough September. Tonight, the Dodgers look to avoid another September series loss and their first series loss to the Padres of 2023.

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7:10 P.M. Los Angeles
1B Profar (S) 2B Betts
RF Tatis Jr. 1B Freeman (L)
LF Soto (L) C Smith
DH Machado 3B Muncy (L)
SS Bogaerts DH Martinez
CF Grisham (L) LF Peralta (L)
2B Batten RF Heyward (L)
C Sullivan (L) CF Outman (L)
3B Rosario SS Hernández
P Wacha (R) P Lynn (R)

Lance Lynn looks to right the ship in his eighth start as a Dodger and 29th start overall this season. Lynn’s Dodger career got off to a great start, as he allowed four earned runs on four homers over his first 25 innings/four starts as a Dodger. He had a slightly-troublesome-but-still-solid start in Boston, as he allowed four runs (three earned) in six innings but allowed 10 hits and only struck out one. The Lynn fears have fully come out over his last two starts. Two starts ago, Lynn allowed seven runs over 4 1/3 innings against a tough Atlanta offense and allowed three homers and again struck out only one batter. Last time out, Lynn allowed eight earned runs and three homers over 4 2/3 innings (with only one strikeout again) over a much less tough Miami offense. The Miami game actually started off decently, as Lynn allowed one hit and one walk over the first four innings. He completely unravelled in the fifth, allowing two walks, two singles, a double and three homers while recording two outs. He left two runners on, and both scored off Victor Gonzalez. Despite his struggles in Chicago Lynn posted a 26.9 percent strikeout rate, which is probably what the Dodgers saw when they traded for him. If he’s not getting those strikeouts, it’s hard to see him being an effective pitcher.

This is Lynn’s second look at the Padres as a Dodger. He allowed four hits and a run over six strong innings, with the long run coming on a Gary Sanchez homer.

Opposing Lynn is his former Cardinal teammate Michael Wacha. Wacha has quietly been very solid for the last couple seasons. He posted a 3.32 ERA in Boston last year and has a 2.99 with the Padres so far this season. In April, Wacha allowed 19 runs and a .939 OPS in five starts, despite somehow shutting Atlanta out over six innings in his second start. In his 15 starts since April, Wacha has only allowed 18 runs and opponents are OPSing only .579 off him. He’d allowed two or fewer runs in 12 straight starts, but has allowed nine in his last three starts. Last time out, Wacha needed 94 pitches to get through four innings (tied for his shortest start of the season). He struck out six Phillies, but issued three walks and allowed three runs on seven hits. This will be Wacha’s first look at the Dodgers since 2019, where he allowed six runs and two homers over 3 2/3 innings.

Wacha seems to be overperforming his metrics pretty heavily. He has a 3.94 FIP and 4.51 expected ERA and his .264 BABIP is the 13th-lowest among starters with over 100 innings pitched. He doesn’t miss many bats (23.7 percent whiff rate, in the 32nd percentile) and his 22.3 percent strikeout rate is in the 41st percentile. He does manage to generate some weak contact, with a 30.8 percent hard-hit percentage (25th lowest among starters >100 innings) and an 88.1 MPH average exit velocity, the 21st-lowest.

Wacha’s adjustment seems to be in his pitch usage, as he’s throwing a changeup more than he ever has and it’s his most-used pitch. He throws a change 33.4 percent of the time and throws it to both sides of the plate. It’s actually underperforming its expected numbers, with a .213 average and .363 slugging off it but a .190 xBA and .315 xSLG. Wacha also throws a four-seamer (29.4 percent of the time, 91.8 MPH average), sinker, cutter and curve. He mostly uses the sinker against righties (254 total sinkers thrown, 210 to righties).

David Peralta returns to the lineup and starts in left. Enrique Hernandez gets the start at short.


More on Kyle Hurt, who was called up today.

Gonzalez was sent down to Triple-A, and Gus Varland was transferred to the 60-day IL to make room for Hurt on the 40-man. Bruce wrote about him in more depth earlier today, and was reportedly added to help get some length in the bullpen for the next two days.


Clayton Kershaw is still slated to start Saturday in Seattle. That was too many S-words in one sentence.

This is not the most comforting statement from Roberts. Here’s hoping Kershaw gets out of the start health enough to finish off the season and get some innings in October.


First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM PT and will be shown on SportsNet LA and MLB Network (out of market).

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.