As the Dodgers lead the Mets by 5.5 games in the National League, and given the new playoff format also lead the Braves by 11 games for a bye past the Wild Card round, it seems a little difficult to find a ton of interesting things to put in the opening of these threads.
Having won seven straight going back to their win in the series finale against the Rockies, the Dodgers are looking for another sweep against an NL West rival. Meanwhile, the Padres are now 14.5 games back in the division after three straight losses and just 1.5 games up on a Wild Card spot. Obviously it would be hard to envision a scenario where the Padres were passed by the Braves, Phillies and the Cardinals/Brewers, but the four teams (excluding the Braves who are 3.5 up on the Padres) are pretty separated by the 1.5 games.
It’s worth noting the Dodgers would face the winner of the No. 4 vs. No. 5 game is they finish with the best record in the NL. Taking into account the current records in the league, the Cardinals and Phillies have two of the easiest remaining schedules while the Padres (19th-toughest) are basically equal to the Braves (18th) and a few spots behind the Brewers (14th). For what it’s worth, the Dodgers come in at 17th with their remaining opponents .498 this season. Most of that is the 10 remaining games against the Padres with 55 to play.
Yu Darvish starts against the Dodgers for the third time this season and amazingly also the third time with Tyler Anderson on the mound for Los Angeles. Back on April 23, Darvish (6 IP, 1 H, 3 BB, 7 K, 0 ER) led the Padres to a 3-2 win over Anderson (4 2/3 IP, 4 H, 3 BB, 4 K, 2 ER). In the second meeting on July 2, Anderson (6 1/3 IP, 6 H, 2 BB, 6 K, 1 ER) and the Dodgers won 7-2 as Darvish (6 IP, 8 H, 0 BB, 10 K, 5 ER) allowed home runs to Freddie Freeman, Will Smith and Justin Turner in the 1st inning.
|4:00 PM||Los Angeles|
|RF||Soto (L)||SS||T. Turner|
|2B||Cronenworth (L)||2B||Lux (L)|
|P||Darvish (R)||P||Anderson (L)|
The first seven batters in the Dodgers’ order remain the same as yesterday, with Smith catching, Joey Gallo just shifted to DH and Chris Taylor in left field. It’s unfair to judge this early, but Gallo is now 2-for-7 with a pair of singles and four strikeouts. Taylor is 1-for-6 with a double and three strikeouts in series. And since he had back-to-back three-hit games on July 31 and Aug. 1, Freeman is 3-for-17 with only singles and two walks to three strikeouts (though the Dodgers have scored 33 runs in those five games).
And the Padres send out the exact same lineup as last night, with Wil Myers once again in center field. In the four games with the Padres, Juan Soto is 5-for-14 with three walks and three runs scored, Brandon Drury is 2-for-12 with two walks and three strikeouts and Josh Bell is 3-for-12 with four walks and three strikeouts.
Anderson’s last outing skews what I was trying to show on this chart, which was to say he’s actually sustained his impressive season pretty much throughout all of 2022. The last point includes just one start, so the numbers there are obviously a very small sample.
Allowing 5 runs on 6 hits and 4 walks with just 3 strikeouts in 5 innings in San Francisco, Anderson still got the win as the Dodgers scored 9 runs of their own. The five runs were the second-most he’s given up this season, and just the fourth time in 18 starts he’s allowed more than three runs.
In that start against the Giants, Anderson threw cutters 32.6% of the time for the third-highest percentage in a game this year. The Giants took advantage, hitting .500 BA/.410 xBA/.667 SLG/.479 xSLG/.531 wOBA/.438 xwOBA and a 0.0 Whiff% against the pitch. Anderson’s fastball was actually worse at .429 BA/.399 xBA/.857 SLG/1.011 xSLG/.579 wOBA/.616 xwOBA with a 7.7 Whiff%, while his change-up was once again incredibly effective (.000 BA/.192 xBA/.000 SLG/.220 xSLG/.086 xOBA/.241 xwOBA, 28.6 Whiff%).
Drury (8 RV, 5.7 RV/100), Jake Cronenworth (7 RV, 3.1 RV/100), Bell (7 RV, 1.9 RV/100) and Manny Machado (5 RV, 3.1 RV/100) are all Top 31 in the league in RV and three of the four are in the Top 56 in RV/100 among 432 batters against change-ups.
Meanwhile, Darvish enters his 21st start of the season with a 3.30 ERA/3.27 FIP/3.64 xFIP, but has a career low 24.8 K%. However, that 10-strikeout start back on July 2 against the Dodgers was his second-most this season with Taylor, Max Muncy and Gavin Lux all going down on strikes twice.
Darvish got six of those strikeouts with his slider, which has the best Whiff% (28.1) among the pitches used at least 10% of the time.
Regardless of righties (cutter 31.3%, four-seam 26.6%) or lefties (cutter 38.6%, four-seam 20.5%), Darvish is predominately using the cutter and fastball. For lefties, the slider (14.7%), splitter (10.7) and sinker (9.7%) are next in order with righties getting the slider (25.1%) and sinker (10.2%).
It’s worth noting with all the lefties in the Dodgers’ order, Darvish’s splitter has a 42.6 Whiff% and a line of .103 BA/.149 xBA/.128 SLG/.213 xSLG/.100 wOBA/.157 xwOBA
Another name may be added to the list of pitchers who have appeared for the Dodger this season, which currently stands at 28.
Andre Jackson holds a 5.20 ERA/6.05 FIP/6.19 xFIP in 55 1/3 innings at Triple-A OKC this season. His BB% is at 18.3, the highest of his professional career at any level while his K% is only 22.4.
Why is Jackson up, when he was scheduled to pitch today in Oklahoma City? Well…
Yency Almonte‘s 1.15 ERA/3.27 FIP/3.68 xFIP, 24.6 K% and 95.7 LOB% in 31 1/3 innings has basically put him as one of the team’s two best relievers along with Evan Phillips.
As for the long list of guys who may be coming back, Justin Turner is on track to be activated on Tuesday, so I would assume Miguel Vargas time in the majors is coming to a (temporary) close soon. Additionally, Brusdar Graterol and Blake
Masters Treinen will face batters again on Tuesday and could be headed out on rehab assignments if that goes well.
Lastly, I’m not sure how he would factor in at this point but Kevin Pillar could theoretically be back.
First pitch is set for 4 p.m. PT on ESPN.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism