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Urías Starts as the Team Looks to Hit a Left-Handed Pitcher – Dodgers Digest

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The Dodgers’ offense went crazy last night, scoring 13 runs on 15 hits and eight walks. They had home runs hit by Jason Heyward, David Peralta, Will Smith, and shortstop Mookie Betts. The team has now won four in a row for the first time this season, and have won seven of their last nine. They’re in sole possession of first place in the NL West, by half a game over the Diamondbacks (16-13), and one game over the Padres (16-14). Julio Urias will take the mound for the Dodgers, and he’ll be looking to get his season back on track after three consecutive poor outings. Matt Strahm has had a fantastic start in his first season with the Phillies, and he’ll look to keep that going tonight.

Image Image
7:10 PM Los Angeles
LF Schwarber (L) RF Betts
SS Turner 1B Freeman (L)
DH Harper (L) DH Smith
RF Castellanos 3B Muncy (L)
2B Stott (L) LF Taylor
C Realmuto CF Outman (L)
1B Bohm 2B Vargas
CF Marsh (L) SS Rojas
3B Sosa C Barnes
P Strahm (L) P Urías (L)

Against the left-handed Strahm, the only left-handed batters in the lineup will be James Outman, Freddie Freeman, and Max Muncy. This shifts Betts back into right field, and Chris Taylor will be in left field as he gets his more favorable matchup. For the Phillies, Bryce Harper will make his season debut at DH.

For the Dodgers, their performance last night moved their team wRC+ from 106 to 110, jumping from 13th to seventh. They now own the second best offense in baseball by wRC+ against right-handed pitching at 122. Great! What does that mean against left-handed pitching? Nothing good.

Their 75 wRC+ against LHP is 27th, and they also own by far the lowest batting average at .174, with the Twins in 29th at .193. They also feature the 29th ranked slugging percentage at .344. The only thing they have managed to do this season against left-handed pitching is walking, with an 11.8% clip, the second highest rate in baseball. If the pitcher they’re facing doesn’t hand out free passes, they’ve been absolutely terrible. These sample sizes are naturally very small at this point and the team has plenty of time to improve. Here’s how some of the team has fared thus far by wRC+ against LHP. Austin Barnes has a 41 wRC+ (significantly better than his batting against RHP), Miguel Vargas (27 wRC+), Trayce Thompson (20), J.D. Martinez (7), Smith (7), and Miguel Rojas (-15). Not Great!

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Here’s how the two lefties matchup.

Urías (3-3) took the loss Thursday, allowing six runs on seven hits and two walks over 5.2 innings against the Pirates with five strikeouts. He was the latest victim of the Pirates’ surprisingly potent offense, as he surrendered three runs in the first inning and three more in the fifth in a 6-2 loss. After allowing just three runs in his first three outings, he’s now lost his last three starts, giving up 13 runs over 14.1 innings. The home run ball has been particularly problematic for Urías, as he’s let up six homers during his current three-game losing streak. He carries a 4.41 ERA, 4.77 FIP, 1.29 WHIP, and 35 strikeouts to 7 walks in 32.2 innings this season.

His strikeout rate is up from last season, while his walk rate is down. Generally, those are two great improvements, although his home run to fly-ball ratio of 20% greatly surpasses his mark last year of 10.8%. After a sub .270 BABIP against him throughout his career, he’s sitting at .326 thus far. The league average home run to fly-ball ratio is 12.3%, so it’s likely he shifts back towards his career marks in regards to both BABIP and home runs allowed. The Dodgers are going to need him to be better.

For Strahm, in his last outing the Mariners couldn’t get anything going against him, mustering just two hits, as the Phillies picked up a 1-0 win. It’s already the third scoreless outing for Strahm this season as he lowers his ERA to 2.31 with a 0.81 WHIP and 32 strikeouts to just 7 walks in 23.1 innings this season. In his start before that, he allowed three runs on three hits and two walks while striking out 11 over 5.1 innings. C.J. Cron tagged him for a two-run homer in the first inning, but the lefty was otherwise dominant. His 11 strikeouts were a career high, and he induced a total of 14 swinging strikes in his longest outing of the year.

There’s nothing I can say about Strahm that this piece by Leo Morgenstern on FanGraphs hasn’t covered. He’s been nothing short of excellent. Whether he’s been good or bad over his career, he’s never really carried any platoon splits, so the Dodgers will need to be sharp. He throws four pitches, predominantly using a four-seam fastball 45% of the time, but mixes in a sinker 16% of the time, both of which sit in the mid 90’s. He then throws a high 80’s cutter and a low 80’s slider both roughly 20% of the time.

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In other news,

Looks like Dustin May will have his start pushed back a bit to get some extra rest. TBD on when that is or the necessary moves to make that happen. Still looks like Gavin Stone will start tomorrow.

Pretty crazy recovery from Harper. Hopefully it isn’t rushed and he’s fully healthy, he’s great for the game.

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First pitch is at 7:10 PM on SNLA and MLB Network.





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