Brewers @ Dodgers July 6, 2024: James Paxton looks to bounce back and secure the series win

The Dodgers (54-35) won 8-5 last night, completing an impressive comeback in the series opener against the Brewers (52-37). The team tied the game in the seventh, and scored three in the eighth to set up Evan Phillips for the save. Once again Tyler Glasnow struggled, although he managed to push through six innings after giving up five runs in the fourth. The story of the night was Will Smith, going 3-3 with three solo homers and two walks. He scored half of the team’s runs and continued to showcase that he’s one of, if not the best catcher in baseball. Not sure what more he can do to earn an All-Star nod. The Dodgers will go for the series win tonight on National TV, with James Paxton up against the Brewers ace, Freddy Peralta.

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4:15 P.M. Los Angeles
DH Chourio DH Ohtani (L)
C Contreras C Smith
LF Yelich (L) 1B Freeman (L)
SS Adames LF T. Hernández
RF Frelick (L) RF Pages
1B Hoskins CF Outman (L)
CF Perkins (S) SS Rojas
3B Monasterio 2B Lux (L)
2B Turang (L) 3B Taylor
P Peralta (R) P Paxton (L)

The Brewers will generally keep the same guys in the lineup, with the switch-hitting Blake Perkins starting in center field over Garrett Mitchell. Jackson Chourio will slot in as the designated hitter while Christian Yelich will start in left field. Milwaukee has been a good offense as a whole, but they’ve really struggled against left-handed pitching. They’re 21st in wRC+ at 94, and 22nd in OPS at .679. They’re sixth in wRC+ against RHP at 112, and eighth in OPS at .744. This is a clear spot where they’ll likely look to improve at the trade deadline.

For the Dodgers, Miguel Vargas will have the day off after another great game, going 2-3 with a two-run homer and a walk in a rare start against a right-handed pitcher. Peralta is a really tough pitcher and James Outman will make his return against the right-handed starter. Otherwise it’s quite a standard lineup with Andy Pages sliding over to his natural position in right field. His arm plays better there regardless, and the defense improves greatly with Outman in center field.

Outman was optioned to Triple-A in the middle of May, after a really rough start to the year. There was hope that he wouldn’t hit a sophomore slump, as he was coming off an excellent rookie season that resulted in a third place Rookie of the Year finish. His .148/.250/.266 slash line resulted in a 54 wRC+ and .516 OPS, a huge step back from his .248/.353/.437 slash last year, a .790 OPS and 118 wRC+. He’s likely always going to strikeout a lot, but his 32.3% strikeout rate this year was in line with his 31.9% mark last year. He featured a 12.0% walk rate last year, compared to 10.5% this year, which will always keep his on-base percentage at a reasonable rate, even with the strikeouts.

There isn’t a huge difference in his profile that sticks out to me this year besides his .197 BABIP, compared to .343 last year. It’s been nearly two months since he’s been in the Majors, but he logged 124 plate appearances prior to being optioned. Among 345 batters with at least 120 plate appearances, his .197 BABIP is 339th, and of the six players with lower BABIP’s, three are catchers with no speed or baserunning ability. I’m not sure he could log a .343 BABIP again, but with his 86th percentile sprint speed, I’d bet on him positively regressing to at least a league-average level.

He logged 179 plate appearances over 38 games in Triple-A, with a .279/.393/.531 slash line, good for a .924 OPS and 126 wRC+ in the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League. He had nine homers and seven steals, with a 13.4% walk rate and a 26.3% strikeout rate. Pretty much what you’d expect to see, and definitely worthy of a recall with an injury to Jason Heyward. His .516 OPS obviously warranted an option back in May, but you wouldn’t expect to have three guys in Kiké Hernández (.567 OPS), Gavin Lux (.554), and Chris Taylor (.500) in the same range of offensive production as Outman, two months later. He brings inherent value as he’s excellent in center field and above-average on the bases, so if he could look more like the 2023 version of himself at the plate, it’s a huge boost to the team.


Here’s how Peralta and Paxton compare among 109 starters with at least 70 innings pitched.

Peralta picked up his sixth win of the year his last time out, allowing one earned run on two hits and two walks with eight strikeouts over seven innings. After a solo homer in the first inning, he locked in and dominated for the rest of the outing. He can generate whiffs and strikeouts at a rate that not many starting pitchers can match, but hasn’t necessarily translated that to the level that him or the Brewers would like. He’s allowed just three earned runs over his last three starts and 18.0 innings, with 22 strikeouts to six walks over that stretch. He’s just simply been unable to show any sort of consistency as a whole, as his three starts prior to those resulted in 12 earned runs over 13.2 innings pitched, a 7.90 ERA with a 1.83 WHIP and three home runs allowed.

Obviously Baseball Savant loves certain aspects of his profile, and he has the ability to shut down an offense every time he takes the mound. He does so with a four-seamer that sits in the mid-90’s that he throws over half the time, a slider that sits in the low-80’s as his primary breaking ball, and a changeup in the upper-80’s. He adds in a curveball just five percent of the time for a different look, but he primarily sticks to his three-pitch mix.

James Paxton had surprinsgly been solid this year prior to his last outing, in which he gave up nine earned runs on twelve hits and two walks over four innings to the Giants. This is how his Baseball Savant profile compares to Peralta.

He had a 3.39 ERA going into that outing, but when your Baseball Savant page looks like that, it’s a miracle he made it 14 starts before everything caught up to him. He had to wear it a bit during that outing due to a recently overworked bullpen, but five of the runs did come in his fourth and final inning. Prior to that outing, he had allowed just two earned runs over his previous three starts with 16 strikeouts in 18 innings. It’s unfortunate his ERA was demolished last outing, but every other metric including the eye test indicated that this was coming. Hopefully he can be better today.


Oblique injuries can oftentimes progress slowly and take a long time to recover from. It’s unfortunate that it’s taking so long for Max Muncy. The Dodgers will know the severity and likelihood he makes it back in August better than anyone else would, but this could seriously impact the way the team handles the trade deadline.


I’ll see you back here for the Game Thread tomorrow, but with Justin Wrobleski slated to make his debut, it’ll be difficult to gather any better information than what Bruce put out this morning. He knows his stuff well, and I’m just excited to see Wrobleski pitch. It’s still TBD how they’ll make room for him on the 26-man roster and on the 40-man.


First pitch is at 4:15 p.m. PDT on FOX.

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!