Nationals @ Dodgers April 17, 2024: Landon Knack makes MLB debut

Landon Knack (Tim Campbell/MiLB)

Weekday, daytime baseball everyone. The Dodgers (12-8) have an off day tomorrow before a three-game series with the New York Mets (9-8), while the Nationals (7-10) head home to host the Houston Astros (6-13), so they’ll both look to get this game finished up and grab some rest.

The most noteworthy story is the Dodgers’ 26 year-old pitching prospect Landon Knack making his MLB debut. He’ll be the fourth player to make their Major League debut with the Dodgers this year, behind Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Ricky Vanasco, and most recently Andy Pages. He has a pretty favorable matchup here for his debut, getting to start at home against an offense not known for its potency. Still, they put up six runs on Tyler Glasnow, so any pitcher can get beat at any point. The 27 year-old Jake Irvin will be on the mound for the Nationals, making his fourth start of the year.

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12:10 P.M. Los Angeles
SS Abrams (L) SS Betts
LF Winker (L) DH Ohtani (L)
RF Thomas 1B Freeman (L)
2B García Jr. (L) C Smith
1B Meneses 3B Muncy (L)
DH Gallo (L) LF Hernández, T.
3B Senzel CF Outman (L)
CF Rosario (L) RF Pages
CF Adams 2B Lux (L)
P Irvin (R) P Knack (R)

This is likely the strongest lineup the Dodgers can field at the moment, with James Outman and Gavin Lux both having favorable matchups against the right-handed Irvin. Andy Pages will bat eighth, but his strong arm will be put in right field with Teoscar Hernández in left field.

For Washington, Joey Meneses and Riley Adams will start over Drew Millas and Jacob Young (who made some great plays in center field last night).


Irvin made his last start against Oakland, allowing one run on one hit and two walks over six innings with five strikeouts. It was one of the better starts of his young career, and the 27 year-old has looked pretty reliable this year, with a 4.24 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 14 strikeouts to five walks over his first 17 innings. He made his debut last year, putting up a passable 4.61 ERA over 124.0 innings, so he’ll look to improve upon that in his second season in the Majors.

He relies on a four-seam fastball 36% of the time, sitting 93-95 MPH and pairing it with an 80 MPH curveball as his primary breaking-ball. Against right-hand batters he throws his low 90’s sinker often, and sometimes goes to a high 80’s cutter against left-handed batters. He’s thrown the cutter 28 times this year, and 27 of those have been against lefties. He got blown up by lefties last year, to the tune of a 1.55 WHIP and .853 OPS allowed compared to a 1.27 WHIP and .627 OPS against RHB. He also had pretty glaring issues going multiple times through the order, with a 3.24 ERA first time through the order, jumping up to 5.51 and 5.73 second and third time through. Those are probably the adjustments the 27 year-old will be working on this year. This is a tough matchup for him, but the offense has failed to show up in favorable matchups at times this year, so who knows what they have in store today. If he can get through the first six batters unscathed, the bottom of the lineup might provide a brief reprieve, but Andy Pages has some damage in his bat that might be tough to mitigate.


Knack is primarily known for his command, using it to put together a great year in 2023, with a 2.51 ERA in 22 outings between both Double-A and Triple-A. He’s made three starts this year in Triple-A with a 4.02 ERA over 15.2 innings, with 16 strikeouts to four walks. Homegrown guys getting a shot and debuting at home is great. Hopefully the offense can put some runs on the board early and let Knack cruise.

Bruce had Knack as the 14th-ranked prospect in the system in his preseason rankings. “…Knack’s main two offerings are a fastball and a slider, each of which are above-average at their best, with his slider occasionally flashing plus. His fastball has touched the upper 90s before while retaining good command, and whether he can consistently throw the pitch in the mid-90s is a big factor in his profile.” He has a couple other paragraphs about Knack and his future projection, so check out his work for more info. Baseball America had him the 11th ranked prospect in the system this winter, pointing to a future as a back of the rotation starter or long relief role. MLB Pipeline has him 13th, and Keith Law had him 15th in his prospect rankings this winter. He projects as a low risk, high floor back-end rotation starter.


Nice work here by Davy Andrews on the lack of production provided by the bottom of the order thus far.


First pitch is at 12:10 PT on SNLA.

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!