Padres @ Dodgers Sept 13, 2023: Dodgers end season series with Padres as the magic number is down to 4

The Dodgers looked a bit more like the September Dodgers last night, as Lance Lynn bounced back with a solid start and the offense exploded for 11 runs led by birthday boy Freddie Freeman. Kyle Hurt was allegedly not auditioning for a spot on the postseason roster, but closed out the game going 1-2-3 against the heart of the Padre order in the eighth and striking out the side in the ninth. Today, they get their final look at the Padres in the regular season (and probably until 2024, as San Diego is eight games out of the last wild card spot). They’ve won nine of 12 against the Padres and have won four of the five games they’ve played in LA. The Magic Number is apparently four, not five as many thought, for the Dodgers to take home their 10th NL West title in the last 11 years. Today, they look to take that down to three (or maybe two? I have no idea how SF/AZ tiebreakers work someone else do the math).

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7:10 P.M. Los Angeles
SS Kim RF Betts
RF Tatis Jr. 1B Freeman (L)
LF Soto (L) LF Taylor
C Campusano DH Martinez
DH Profar (S) 3B Hern√°ndez
1B Cooper 2B Rosario
CF Grisham (L) CF Outman (L)
2B Batten SS Rojas
3B Rosario C Barnes
P Snell (L) P Pepiot (R)

Ryan Pepiot gets his third straight start and fifth appearance since returning in mid-August. He’s been stellar in his return, as he’s allowed two runs and nine hits in 21 innings over those four outings. He took a perfect game into the seventh inning in his last start in Miami, but a Josh Bell two-out single ruined the party and took Dave Roberts off the hook of potentially having to pull another pitcher from a no hitter/perfect game. He finished the seventh at only 84 pitches, so it wouldn’t have been unrealistic for him to go two more innings. They pulled him as they were up 7-0, which makes sense considering he’s probably the number two postseason starter if Clayton Kershaw can’t go. Pepiot’s been propped up by a .151 BABIP against him, but he’s allowing an 85.6 MPH average exit velocity and a 22.2 percent hard hit rate. Obviously the sample size in minuscule with only 21 innings thrown, but among pitchers with 50 batted balls against his exit velocity is tied for the 24th-lowest and hard hit rate is the second-lowest.

The Padres send out Blake Snell, who is in the Cy Young conversation. He was probably the frontrunner until Justin Steele just decided to stop giving up runs (idk why more pitchers don’t just do that). Snell is likely at worst going to finish in the top three in Cy Young voting, as his 2.52 ERA is the second-lowest in baseball. Batters are hitting only .192 and slugging .307 against him, which are great numbers. However, he’s still giving up a .304 OBP against him because he loves walking hitters. His 92 walks are 16 more than the next-most walks among qualified pitchers (also holy shit Michael Kopech has walked 91 in only 127 1/3 innings) and he’s walked three or more batters in 21 of his 29 starts. He’s walked five batters in a game more times than he’s walked zero batters in a game (4-3). Snell’s 31.1 percent strikeout rate is the fourth-best among qualified starters, but his 13.7 percent walk rate is 2.5 percent higher than the next highest walk rate.

This will be the Dodgers’ fourth look at Snell this season. They’ve won two of the previous three, mostly due to the Padre offense. He allowed three runs in five innings in the only game the Padres won, an 8-3 win in San Diego last month. He faced the Dodgers in back-to-back starts in May and combined for 12 innings, five hits and four runs allowed. He struck out 10 in those two starts, but also issued seven walks as the Dodgers took both games.

Austin Barnes starts behind the plate after Will Smith‘s best offensive game in a minute last night. Mookie Betts starts in right and Max Muncy also sits, with Enrique Hernandez starting at third. For the Padres, Xander Bogaerts is out of the lineup after fouling a ball off his leg late yesterday. Manny Machado is also out of the lineup.

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As was foretold, Joe Kelly is back.

Hurt was the roster casualty for Kelly, but hopefully last night wasn’t the last we see of him this season. His stuff looked absolutely legit, and even if he just keeps getting called up to take a few innings down to give some guys a rest, it’s worth giving him more opportunities.

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First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 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.