Dodgers @ Phillies July 11, 2024: Dodgers look to avoid getting swept by the best team in baseball

Allan tempted fate with his headline for yesterday’s thread, claiming that it couldn’t be worse than the day before. While it wasn’t a worse loss than Tuesday’s 10-1 drubbing, the Dodgers played some sloppy baseball and squandered too many opportunities in a 4-3 loss. It was a nice change of pace from getting blown out, as they’d been outscored by 36 in their last five losses prior to last night and lost all of those games by at least six runs. Tonight, the Dodgers look to stave off the sweep and aim to avoid their second four-game losing streak of the season with an opener before another rookie takes the ball against this tough Phillies lineup.

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3:05 P.M. Philadelphia
DH Ohtani (L) DH Schwarber (L)
C Smith SS Turner
1B Freeman (L) 1B Harper (L)
LF T. Hern√°ndez 3B Bohm
RF Pages 2B Stott (L)
SS Rojas RF Castellanos
CF Outman (L) LF Marsh (L)
3B Taylor CF Rojas
2B Lux (L) C Stubbs (L)
P Banda (L) P Nola (R)

Landon Knack makes his eighth start of the season tonight*. Knack’s been mostly fine, but the Dodgers are only 2-5 when he starts and have lost each of his last three starts. The first two of those losses weren’t really on Knack, as he combined to allow one earned run in 9 2/3 innings against the Angels and Giants. Last time was much more on him, as he allowed four runs in 4 1/3 and allowed three homers against the Diamondbacks on Independence Day. While it was his shortest career start with only 13 outs recorded, his 85 pitches are the second-most he’s thrown in his brief Major League career. He’s been one of the hardest-hit pitchers in baseball this season. His 92.2 MPH average exit velocity against is the fifth-highest among qualified (by Batted Ball Events on Baseball Savant) pitchers this season.

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*Naturally, I prewrote this yesterday and the Dodgers decided to deploy an opener for tonight. Anthony Banda will instead get his first “start” in a little over two years. Banda opened a game for the Blue Jays against the Mariners on June 7, 2022 and allowed three of the first four baserunners to reach. He was chased by an RBI single and Toronto brought in Casey Lawrence, who allowed one of Banda’s inherited runners to score. Banda threw 10 pitches last night and allowed a single to the only batter he technically faced, which drove in a run credited to Gavin Stone. He then threw two pitches to Nick Castellanos, but they caught Alec Bohm off third to end the frame mid-AB. Knack is expected to follow Banda, whose job is probably to get through the Kyle Schwarber/Bryce Harper part of the lineup.

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Aaron Nola gets the start for the Phillies tonight. He’s somehow been their fourth-best starter this year with a 3.48 ERA in 113 2/3 innings over 18 starts. His ERA was at 2.77 on June 5, but he got rocked in Boston on June 13 to the tune of eight runs and 11 hits in only 3 2/3 innings. He’s been better of late, but has still allowed three earned runs in three of his last four starts. He’s already allowed 16 homers this season, which is tied for the most in the NL (and somehow eight AL pitchers have allowed more). Nola also has a 23.8 percent strikeout rate, which is his lowest since his 2015 rookie season. He’s been a bit better with the strikeouts of late as he’s struck out 29.6 percent of the batters he’s faced in the last four starts. Nola’s started nine times against the Dodgers and held them to a .692 OPS against him, but he has a 4.42 ERA. 16 of the 26 runs the Dodgers have scored off Nola have come in the last two seasons, and last time they squared off in Philly he allowed six runs in 6 1/3 innings.

Nola has thrown a knuckle curve more than any other pitch this season. He’s used it 31.9 percent of the time and opponents are only hitting .195 off it. It also comes with a 33.5 percent whiff rate, which is the highest among all his pitches. He’s also thrown a four-seamer 25.6 percent of the time, sinker 21.3 percent of the time, changeup 10.9 percent of the time and a cutter 10.3 percent. Despite his cutter being his least-used pitch, he’s allowed as many homers on it as he has off his knuckle curve or four-seamer.

James Outman gets the start in center today with Andy Pages sliding over to right. Chris Taylor gets another start at third. For the Phillies, Harper is back in the lineup after missing last night’s game.

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The Dodgers have mostly set their rotation for the weekend in Detroit, with James Paxton going tomorrow and Justin Wrobleski getting another start.

Sunday is a TBD in Bobby Miller‘s slot in the rotation. It feels like a bullpen game would be at least slightly logical there considering it’s the final game before the All-Star Break.

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First pitch is scheduled for 3:05 PM PT and will be shown on SportsNet LA.

About Alex Campos

I've been writing about the Dodgers since I graduated from Long Beach State, where I covered the Dirtbags in my senior year. I'm either very good or very bad at puns.