Giants @ Dodgers April 2, 2024: First Bullpen Game of the Year

After taking three of four games against the Saint Louis Cardinals (2-3), the Dodgers (5-2) won their first matchup of the year against the Giants (2-3) by a score of 8-3. James Paxton was solid in his Dodgers debut, going five scoreless innings and paving the way for Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Will Smith, and Teoscar Hernandez to provide the offense. After completing one full cycle through the starting rotation, the team will have their first bullpen game of the year to ensure all starters get adequate rest. The Giants ace, Logan Webb will take the mound up against the opener Ryan Brasier.

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7:10 P.M. Los Angeles
CF Lee (L) SS Betts
3B Chapamn DH Ohtani (L)
DH Soler 1B Freeman (L)
LF Conforto (L) C Smith
1B Flores 3B Muncy (L)
2B Estrada RF Hernández, T.
RF Yastrzemski (L) CF Outman (L)
C Bailey (S) 2B Lux (L)
SS Ahmed LF Hernández, K.
P Webb (R) P Braisier (R)

The Dodgers will run out their standard lineup vs. right-handed pitching with one slight change. Teoscar Hernández will play right field with Enrique Hernández in left field. Jason Heyward is experiencing back issues and will be unavailable. The offense as a whole has been great for the Dodgers, scoring 6.2 runs per game since returning from Korea. They’ve had contributions from plenty of people outside the top three in the order, but outside the top six they’ve been quite shaky. Heyward will get a pass due to his back issues, but all of Chris Taylor (.444 OPS), Heyward (.414 OPS), Enrique Hernandez (.365), James Outman (.364), and Gavin Lux (.348) have looked rough. They’ll have plenty of time to get it going, but eventually Betts won’t have an OPS of 1.836 and Smith won’t be hitting .500. Some contribution from the bottom of the order will really have this offense clicking.

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For the pitching, it makes sense that the Dodgers are trying to make sure all their pitchers are fully rested. Glasnow has had injury issues throughout his career (although they’ve all been related to the same issue addressed in 2022 surgery), Bobby Miller threw a career high 124.1 innings in 2023, Yoshinobu Yamamoto is coming from Japan where he’d been accustomed to starting every sixth day, Paxton returned from surgery last year and managed just 96 innings, and Gavin Stone is also coming off a career high 131.2 innings. It’s a long season and they’ll need these guys healthy and fresh in October.

Webb was the 2023 NL Cy Young runner-up, and he picked up right where he left off, providing a quality start in his first outing of the year. He’s thrown at least 190 innings in two straight seasons, and is coming off his third consecutive season logging over 4.0 fWAR and with an ERA below 3.25. He’s got a chance to be even better this year with new additions Jung Hoo Lee and Matt Chapman in the field behind him, and with a full season of Patrick Bailey behind the plate. He faced the Dodgers twice last year, with a 2.08 ERA on 13 hits and three walks over two starts and thirteen innings.

The Dodgers offense is strong enough to put runs on the board against anyone, but a bullpen game against Webb isn’t the best matchup.

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In other news,

Nick Ramirez is a 34 year-old lefty reliever who posted a 2.66 ERA in 40.2 innings last year with the Yankees. Brusdar Graterol will be out till at least the middle of May.

Taylor Trammell is a 26 year-old left-handed outfielder that is currently depth should Heyward need to go to the injured list.

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First pitch is at 7:10 PM PT on SNLA and TBS.

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!