Royals @ Dodgers June 14, 2024: Ragans and the Royals vs. Stone and the inconsistent offense

The Dodgers (42-28) put up a really pitiful offensive showing for the second consecutive night, scoring just once in the rubber match against the Rangers (33-35). After scoring 15 runs in the first game of the three game set, they scored a total of three over the next two games. They allowed eight runs over the series and scored 18, yet lost two out of three. Mookie Betts, Shohei Ohtani, and Freddie Freeman were all struck out consecutively by David Robertson each of the last two nights in what felt like Groundhog Day. Really bad.

The team now faces the Kansas City Royals (40-30) for a three game series before heading to Colorado next week. The up and coming ace, Cole Ragans will be on the mound against Gavin Stone.

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7:10 PM Los Angeles
3B Garcia SS Betts
SS Witt Jr. DH Ohtani (L)
1B Pasquantino (L) 1B Freeman (L)
C Perez C Smith
DH Frazier (L) RF Hernández, T.
2B Loftin CF Pages
LF Melendez (L) 2B Rojas
RF Waters (S) 3B Hernández, K.
CF Isbel (L) LF Taylor
P Ragans (L) P Stone (R)

Freeman and Ohtani will be the only lefties in the lineup against the left-handed Ragans. Gavin Lux and Jason Heyward will both sit, while Chris Taylor, Miguel Rojas, and Kiké Hernández all start. The Dodgers have been the best offense in baseball against left-handed pitching thus far which is a far cry from the last half decade. Their 132 wRC+ and .808 OPS lead baseball by a decent margin. Will Smith has an astonishing 1.231 OPS against lefties this year, good for a 238 wRC+. Teoscar Hernández is second on the team with a .959 OPS and 167 wRC+, followed by Betts (.875, 153), Andy Pages (.860, 147), and … Rojas (.785, 127). Ohtani, Freeman, Austin Barnes, and Kiké have all also been above average vs. lefties.

Here’s how these two offenses matchup.

The Dodgers have been elite, but incredibly inconsistent. Sometimes it’s fun to watch, sometimes it’s not. The Royals have had quite a few guys play well this year, as expected for a team ten games over .500. Salvador Perez is having an outstanding year, with a 138 wRC+ and his best defensive season since 2014.

Michael Massey (125 wRC+), Freddy Fermin (109 wRC+), and Garrett Hampson (109 wRC+) have all been good but none of them are in the lineup everyday. Their regulars in Maikel Garcia (89), and Nelson Velázquez (83), haven’t been great offensively, and MJ Melendez (50) has been really struggling at the plate. They’ve got one of the best players in the world in Witt and a resurgent Perez, but the team needs more from the rest of the regulars in the lineup to really make some noise this year. Their bullpen could use some help too, but more on that later. Most notably for Kansas city is the franchise superstar, Bobby Witt Jr. Witt has tallied 4.4 fWAR this year, trailing only Gunnar Henderson (4.5) and Aaron Judge (4.9).

He’s the fastest player in baseball, using it both in the field and on the bases. His 19 stolen bases slots him at fourth in the game, and he’s the best defensive shortstop in baseball. He’s really become a complete hitter, and he’s now locked in as a top five player in the sport.


Here’s how Ragans and Stone compare among 98 starters with at least 60 innings pitched.

Stone earned his seventh win of the year in his last outing, with a great start against the Yankees. He allowed two runs on eight hits and two walks with six strikeouts over 5.2 innings. Alex Vesia (who has been completely lights out) helped Stone keep his outing solid, as the lefty stranded the bases loaded in the sixth inning. Stone has seven wins in his last ten outings, and has given up more than two runs just once during that stretch. He’s been excellent in his first full season.

Ragans allowed one run on three hits and one walk over six innings with nine strikeouts in his last outing against the Mariners. He allowed a solo shot on the fourth pitch of the game but settled in after that. It was his second consecutive quality start, and fourth in his last five. He generated 22 whiffs, and now has 98 strikeouts to 25 walks in 79 innings pitched. The Royals got Ragans as the headliner in their deal with the Rangers last season for Aroldis Chapman. Ragans looks like a tough loss for Texas, but they won the World Series. Tough to be too upset.

He sits in the upper-90s with his overpowering fastball as the staple in his arsenal. Everything plays off the heater, using a changeup and cutter against right-handed batters, and almost exclusively going fastball slider against lefties. Strangely enough, Ragans has been better against right-handed batters this year which is odd for an overpowering lefty. Lefties have slashed .341/.370/.455 against him, compared to .202/.272/.294 against right-handed batters. I’m going to chalk it up to small sample size, as teams sit a lot of their lefties against Ragans.

The Royals bullpen is very gettable if they can get past Ragans. Their relief staff as a whole ranks last in strikeout rate at 17.7% and 22nd in ERA at 4.32


Relief help is on the way, although sometimes with Joe Kelly it’s just making the game more interesting than it is effective.

Some people have River Ryan as the top pitching prospect in the Dodgers’ system, so this is great news.


This is beneficial for everyone, assuming the starters can go deep enough into games. The tradeoff with a six-man rotation is one less reliever. This means the poor Walker Buehler and James Paxton starts that happened a week ago really can’t happen.


First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. PDT 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!