Dodgers @ Giants June 30, 2024: James Paxton starts rubber match

The Dodgers (52-32) leveled the series against the Giants (40-44) last night with a decisive 14-7 win, most notably featuring a seven run 11th inning. Tyler Glasnow didn’t have a good outing at all, going three innings allowing five runs with just one strikeout. Due to this abbreviated outing, all eight relievers pitched and the team could especially use some length from James Paxton today. The 30 year-old Spencer Bivens will start the game for the Giants as they navigate the same issues as the Dodgers, having used seven relievers yesterday.

1:05 P.M. San Francisco
DH Ohtani (L) DH Soler
LF T. Hernández RF Slater
1B Freeman (L) CF Ramos
CF Pages C Bailey (S)
RF Heyward (L) 3B Chapman
2B Lux (L) LF Matos
3B Taylor 1B Villar
SS K. Hernández SS Ahmed
C Barnes 2B Fitzgerald
P Paxton (L) P Miller (L)

San Francisco makes a few changes to their lineup against the left-handed Paxton. Austin Slater is in right field for the left-handed Michael Conforto, Tyler Fitzgerald starts at second base over Brett Wisely, while David Villar is in for LaMonte Wade Jr. Overall, the Giants are a middle of the pack offense, but they have been significantly better against left-handed pitching. Their 115 wRC+ ranks seventh, with the ninth ranked OPS at .747.

On this getaway day, Austin Barnes will catch, Kiké Hernández will be at shortstop, with Chris Taylor at third base. Taylor might be showing some signs of life, as he has seven hits in his last 19 plate appearances, with just two strikeouts and two walks, slashing .412/.474/.706 over his last eight games. The 10.5% strikeout rate is extremely noteworthy, as he’s running a 35.2% rate on the year after 32.6% last year. His .234 BABIP this year is down over .100 points from his career average of .338, so maybe the tide is turning for him? Would be nice if someone from the Gavin Lux, Kiké, Cavan Biggio, and Taylor group could hit at a league-average rate.

Ohtani hit his National League leading 26th homer of the year yesterday, while also drawing two walks, raising his OPS to 1.050. Will Smith had three hits, including a huge double to start the scoring in the 11th inning. Freddie Freeman had two doubles and two walks, while Miguel Rojas had three hits and four runs batted in. Everyone helped a little outside of maybe Biggio and Kiké. Biggio made some solid plays at third but also made an error, while Kiké went 0-4 after replacing him, also immediately making an error. If your third basemen are going to make errors, might as well just put Miguel Vargas there to do the same thing. Maybe he’ll get in the game today, as he hasn’t played since Tuesday. Anyways, he has a five game hitting streak going, with six hits in his last 14 plate appearances, hitting .500 with two walks and no strikeouts.


Paxton allowed three hits and three walks while striking out six batters over five scoreless innings against the White Sox in his last outing. It wasn’t effortless, as he needed 91 pitches to get through five frames, preventing him from recording his third straight quality start. It was the White Sox, so I won’t argue about the quality of his competition, but his stuff was maybe the best it’s looked all year. He got ten whiffs on the fastball, and eight on the curveball, totaling a season high of 18. That’s coming off of a 15 whiff performance in Coors Field against the Rockies. Yes, it was against two of the weaker offenses in the league, but I’ll take what I can get with Paxton. It’s been a smoke and mirrors season for him, as he’s looked quite poor for most of his starts despite a sparkling 3.39 ERA. His two best strikeout performances of the year have unsurprisingly come in his last two starts, due to the swing and miss he’s been able to generate. He has a 1.00 ERA, 3.10 FIP, and a 0.72 WHIP over his last three starts with sixteen strikeouts in 18.0 innings.

Bivens has made five appearances since he received his first call-up to the majors earlier this month, but today will mark his first start. He last pitched Thursday against the Cubs for just one inning, but he’s maxed out at 49 pitches and three innings while in the majors. They’ll hope for quick low stress innings for him, and see if he can get through four innings or so. They signed him out of Indy Ball in 2022, and he has a 2.81 ERA in 41.2 innings pitched at Triple-A this season. He has a 3.00 ERA in nine innings in the majors, with eleven strikeouts to four walks. He’s thrown a mid-90’s sinker, paired with a low-80’s sweeper as his primary breaking ball. He mixes in a high-80’s changeup against left-handed batters, and he’s thrown a few four-seamers as well. Tough matchup, but the Giants just need the innings.


The Dodgers have exactly one month until the trade deadline to figure out what their plans are for the middle infield. Even if you bank on Mookie Betts and Max Muncy getting healthy and performing well, the bench needs improvement for a team that has World Series aspirations. I don’t make the rules, you can’t have big strikeout, no power, Mendoza Line batters filling your bench in the postseason. You just can’t have that.


First pitch is at 1:05 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!