Reds @ Dodgers May 17, 2024: Paxton on the mound looking to remain undefeated

The Dodgers (29-17) lost 7-2 last night in their series opener against the Cincinnati Reds (19-25). It never felt particularly close or competitive. Tyler Glasnow didn’t have a great outing, going five innings while allowing four earned runs. The bats didn’t show up, while Elly De La Cruz had four hits, a walk, and four stolen bases. Not a great showing by the Dodgers, and they’ll look to bounce back tonight. James Paxton will start tonight, up against the former Dodgers’ prospect, Frankie Montas.

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7:10 P.M. Los Angeles
2B India SS Betts
SS De La Cruz (S) DH Ohtani (L)
LF Steer 1B Freeman (L)
C Stephenson C Smith
1B Candelario (S) LF T. Hernández
DH Ford (L) 2B Lux (L)
CF Fairchild CF Pages
3B Espinal RF Heyward (L)
RF Benson (L) 3B K. Hernández
P Montas (R) P Paxton (L)

Cincy hasn’t had a great offense this year, although they have been better as a whole against lefties. Still, that results in just a 92 wRC+ against LHP, ranking 20th in the league. Jeimer Candelario has a 151 wRC+ and .892 OPS vs. LHP, followed by Stuart Fairchild ( 132 wRC+, .809 OPS), and De La Cruz (124 wRC+, .771 OPS). De La Cruz is a switch hitter and has been significantly weaker from the right side.

I’ll cover today’s roster moves in further depth later, but long story short is Max Muncy is hitting the Injured List with a mild oblique strain and James Outman has been optioned to Oklahoma City. Jason Heyward is back and will play in just his fifth game this season after missing six weeks with a back issue. Kiké Hernández will start at third base in Muncy’s absence. Andy Pages will be the primary option in center field while Outman is in Triple-A.


Here’s how Paxton and Montas have performed this season.

Paxton (5-0) earned the win over the Padres on Saturday, pitching six shutout innings with four strikeouts and no walks allowed. It was by far his best outing of the season, mainly due to the improved control, as it was his first start of the year in which he didn’t issue a walk. He’s allowed just one earned run over his last two outings and 12.2 innings pitched. He’s at 22 strikeouts and 24 walks this year, and will hopefully get the strikeouts above the walks after this game.

He threw his curveball 38 times in his last outing, or 40% of the time, the most frequently he’s thrown the pitch the entire season. Still hoping he gets back to averaging 95 on the fastball like he did last year, but even if he doesn’t get there he seems to be finding ways to make it work regardless. It’s been ugly and unsustainable based on his first five outings, but regardless of how you cut it Paxton is 5-0 in seven outings.

Montas allowed four earned runs on seven hits and one walk with three strikeouts over 4.2 innings in his last outing. He was cruising through four innings and proceeded to give up four runs in the fifth inning. It’s been an up and down year for him so far, giving him a good, not great start to his season with Cincy. He is throwing a true five pitch mix, learning on a mid 90’s four-seamer as his primary pitch. He goes to his mid 80’s splitter 21.4% of the time, his mid 90’s sinker 17.0% of the time, using a cutter in the upper 80’s against lefties, and a mid 80’s slider against right-handed batters.

The Dodgers first received Montas back in the 2015 offseason in a three-team trade with the White Sox and the Reds. They proceeded to trade him less than a year later in a package for Rich Hill and Josh Reddick. The former became a fan favorite for years, whilst the latter…. did not.


Miguel Vargas is hitting .295/.437/.583 with a 149 wRC+ this year in Triple-A while solely playing left field. He’s found his power stroke this year (or has just been healthy), with 14 doubles, 8 homers, and one triple in 39 games.

Ricky Vanasco is a fresh arm after Nick Ramirez went 2.1 innings last night.

Anthony Banda is a 30-year-old veteran lefty (former Top 100 prospect) who will provide much needed relief depth. He’s thrown 17 innings in Triple-A with a 2.12 ERA and a very strong 37.9% strikeout rate.


Oblique injuries can be tough for batters to recover from, but it sounds as mild as an oblique strain can be.


First pitch is at 7:10 PM on SNLA and MLB Network.

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!