Dodgers @ Rockies – September 26, 2023: The last trip to Coors in 2023 begins with a doubleheader

By: Stacie Wheeler

Having finished up the 2023 regular season with a 53-28 record in Los Angeles, tied with Tampa Bay for the best home record in Major League Baseball, the Dodgers are rewarded with a trip to Coors Field in the final week of the season.

Of course, it isn’t any regular trip to Coors as this one starts with a doubleheader to have the Dodgers wrap up the regular season with seven games in six days. Thankfully the No. 2 seed in the National League is clinched which gives the team nearly a week off following the regular season finale this Sunday, Oct. 1, with the National League Division Series beginning on Saturday, Oct. 7. Otherwise, the seven games in six days stretch would become 10 games in 10 days (if needed) with the three-game Wild Card Series beginning Tuesday, Oct. 3.

Following yesterday’s off day, here’s where the bullpen stands after the past two series and looking ahead to the final week:

Sept. 18Sept. 19Sept. 20Sept. 21Sept. 22Sept. 23Sept. 24
Brasier1 (17)1/3 (8)1/3 (3)
Ferguson1 (14)1 (17)1 (12)1 (19)
Graterol1 (13)1 (11)1 (7)
GroveILIL1 1/3 (22)ILIL2 (37)
Kelly1 (17)1 (15)1 (11)
S. Miller1 (15)1 (28)1 (15)
Phillips1 (16)1 (14)1 (15)
Stone4 1/3 (82)Triple-ATriple-A
Vesia1 (9)1 (9)1 (13)2/3 (14)
Yarbrough3 2/3 (67)

Gavin Stone is currently in “Triple-A” with Michael Grove back up, but his last two outings were out of the bullpen, so I included him on here. Emmet Sheehan has actually started three of his four games in September, so he’s not on the list and neither is Ryan Pepiot as he’s sort of in the same situation and pitching today anyway. Like Sheehan, Pepiot’s three September appearances include two starts and one out of the bullpen, though his one non-start began in the 2nd inning anyway. That might be the case again today as he will take on the bulk of the innings this afternoon behind Caleb Ferguson.

As you can see on the table, Ferguson is beginning to hold a pattern of two days of work followed by two days off. That’ll continue if he pitches tomorrow following today’s doubleheader as he is the opener for the first game. That’ll be seven games started for Ferguson in 2023 after he’d done so seven times in his career before this season, though three of those were the first three appearances of his career in the Majors back in 2018 when he was not moved into the bullpen full-time.

Unsurprisingly, there’s very little difference in Ferguson’s numbers as an opener this season compared to out of the bullpen. The batting average and on-base percentage are a little higher, but the sample size is obviously much smaller. Two fewer hits brings the batting average down to .240, where it is as a reliever, and those two hits would also bring the on-base percentage down to where it is when he pitches out of the bullpen as well.

Image Image
12:10 P.M. Denver
2B Betts SS Tovar
1B Freeman (L) LF Jones (L)
3B Muncy (L) DH Bryant
DH Martinez 2B Rodgers
RF Heyward (L) 3B McMahon (L)
LF Hernandez 1B Montero
CF Outman (L) RF Bouchard
SS Rojas C Wynns
C Barnes CF Doyle
P Ferguson (L) P Anderson (R)

Seeing Kiké Hernandez in left against a right-handed starter rather than David Peralta seemed a little odd, but with another right-handed starter scheduled for the night game it makes sense. The rest of the order is as expected with Will Smith getting the night game while Austin Barnes catches this afternoon.

Chase Anderson started against the Dodgers back on June 29 at Coors Field, his first game against the team since 2019, and he lasted just 3 2/3 innings. Mookie Betts opened that game with a double and scored on a single by J.D. Martinez… which is also exactly how the 3rd inning went to put the Dodgers up 2-0. It really went poorly in the 4th as Jason Heyward opened the inning with a double and Betts drove in one with a sacrifice fly after a pair of walks. Freddie Freeman singled home another to end Anderson’s day, but a double by Max Muncy off of Peter Lambert charged two more runs to him before Martinez hit a homer to cap off a six-run inning.


With Pepiot expected to see the bulk of the innings today, especially when he has impressively reached 6 innings or more in his past three outings, here’s the comparison between him and Anderson in 2023:

IP3381 1/3

Anderson’s numbers include 5 innings for Tampa Bay before he was designated for assignment and claimed of waivers by Colorado in May. This was after spending spring training with the Reds and opening the season with Triple-A Louisville before being traded to the Rays a week before being designated for assignment.

The point being made here should be pretty clear as the Dodgers face a pitcher who has struggled this year in a day game at Coors Field. For example, Anderson’s DRA of 5.89 is worse than Noah Syndergaard‘s 5.82 with the Dodgers, as well as Lance Lynn‘s 5.87. Anderson has actually been much better since June, with his seven starts (three in July, four in September) including a 4.79 ERA in 35 2/3 innings. That even includes allowed six runs to the Giants in 3 1/3, but is still nothing compared to the 10.80 ERA across six starts in June that lasted just 25 total innings.

Anderson primarily uses a fastball, cutter and change in 2023 with a sweeper, sinker and curve all much more situational. Right-handed batters, which hold an .824 OPS and .352 wOBA in 2023 against Anderson, see 32.0% fastballs and 30.9% cutters with the sweeper (14.0%), change (11.5%) and sinker (8.5%) all worked in. Lefties have an .851 OPS and a .368 wOBA this season with 36.3% changes, 29.8% fastballs and 20.4% cutters as the primary pitches followed by the sinker (6.8%) and curve (5.6%). Batters on both sides of the plate pretty much crush the fastball as its at a .458 wOBA against righties and a .459 to lefties while the change is pretty effective to everyone (.133 and .253 wOBA respectively) and the sweeper’s .158 wOBA to righties also helping Anderson out since he started throwing it last year.


First pitch in Game No. 1 of today’s doubleheader is set for 12:10 p.m. PT on SportsNet LA and MLB Network for anyone out of market.

About Cody Bashore

Cody Bashore is a lifelong Dodger fan originally from Carpinteria, California (about 80 miles north of Dodger Stadium along the coast). He left California to attend Northern Arizona University in 2011, and has lived in Arizona full-time since he graduated in 2014 with a journalism degree.