After a clean sweep of the Cubs (9-18), the Dodgers now have the best record in baseball at 19-7, and are the winners of six straight games. The Pirates (11-16) aren’t a particularly scary team by any measure, and are the kind of team the Dodgers SHOULD be able to beat on a regular basis. Julio Urias will be on the mound to open the final series on the road, before heading home for eight straight home games. This series features some weird start times, with the first two games starting at 3:35 p.m. PDT and the last game starting at 9:35 a.m. PDT.
|1B||Freeman (L)||DH||Reynolds (S)|
|heart rate||Bellinger (L)||LF||Gamel (L)|
|2B||Lux (L)||VS||Perez (L)|
|P||Urias (L)||P||Quintana (L)|
Justin Turner will again be the DH, while Max Muncy and Will Smith each have a day off. Against southpaw Quintana, the only lefties in the Dodgers roster will be Gavin Lux, Cody Bellingerand Freddie Freeman. The Dodgers are 18th in wRC+ against left-handed pitchers at 96, while the Pirates are 23rd at 89. Not great for either team. For Pittsburgh, Ke’Bryan Hayes (193 wRC+), Michael Chavis (147 wRC+), and old friend Yoshi Tsutsugo (126 wRC+) lead the team against left-handed pitchers, while their best overall hitters have been Hayes (139 wRC+), Ben Gamel (138 wRC+), and Bryan Reynolds (113 wRC+).
Meanwhile, for the Dodgers, their top hitters overall have been Freddie Freeman (167 wRC+), Mookie Bets (137 wRC+), and the formidable austin barnes (180 wRC+, .972 OPS). All Lux, Smith, Bellinger and Chris Taylor sit between 113 and 118 wRC+. Betts had two hits yesterday but struck out for the first time in his last eleven games. After a slow start, he’s found his groove lately, which is nice to see. If you just strip out his first four games and 19 plate appearances, he has a 158 wRC+, slashing .284/.385/.494, with 13 walks and just 11 strikeouts. In his last fifteen matches, he has a 192 wRC+, and 1,015 OPS. Locked in.
Here’s how Quintana and Urías face off.
Urias had his best start of the season last time out, giving up four hits and four strikeouts in six scoreless innings against the Giants. He only needed 65 shots to do it and looked like he had his best control of the season. He allowed three runs on six hits and two walks in two innings at Colorado to start the year and has been outstanding ever since. However, a handful of factors show that Urías hasn’t been as good as last year when he finished seventh in the NL Cy Young vote, but his 1.88 ERA so far is hard to argue. He was kept on a short leash and pulling him before he got into trouble helped. It was pretty clear to see him getting tired at the end of the 2021 season, so it makes sense to limit his workload so early in the year.
His allowed BABIP of .188 is the sixth-lowest of 129 pitchers who have logged at least twenty innings. His career average is .279, as that .188 BABIP starts to normalize, you would expect his results to be worse than a 1.88 ERA going forward. His strikeout rate is down 6% from 26.2% last year, while his command has also faltered a bit, with an 8.5% walk rate from 5.1% l last year. His fastball speed averaged just 92.1 mph last outing after generally increasing from his previous four. It came down to an average of 92.3 MPH, down from 94.1 last year. He doesn’t need that speed to be extremely effective, however, he has 96th percentile fastball spin and 92nd percentile curve spin. It seems like an easy way to maintain this performance in the future is to simply regain some control.
Two starts ago, Quintana impressed with his best start of the year, with nine strikeouts and zero walks, but he followed that up with a mediocre start allowing two runs and four hits with just three strikeouts against the Tigers. Overall, it has been strong after a few years of decline recently. He’s had some changes in his arsenal so far this season, throwing his fastball at the lowest rate of his entire career down to 36.7%, with a huge increase in change rate, down to 31 .4%, after a career high of 14.6% in 2021. He mostly scrapped his sinker, throwing it just 9.0% of the time now, down from 18% in 2021, and previously above 20% throughout his career. Other than those, he still has his great curve which he still throws about a quarter of the time. His curve is in the 70s, his shift in the mid 80s, and his fastball is around 90 MPH.
In other news,
david roberts in a very controversial and daring take, states that he likes when the team wins a lot of games.
Obtain Andrew Heane the return would be huge, as it would complete the rotation again, and also he had been stallion before going on the IL.
The first pitch is at 3:35 p.m. PDT on SNLA and is also the MLB.TV free game of the day for those outside of Southern California.