These things are a lot more fun to write the day after a win.
The Dodgers (65-51) are coming off a nice 5-3 victory against the Reds, in which Alex Wood pitched decently and Justin Turner and Adrian Gonzalez carried the offense. Yesterday was the second time since July 22 that a starter not named Kershaw or Greinke got a win for the Dodgers. Wins are an arbitrary stat, but this is a rare case where it actually indicates how poorly the other pitchers have been pitching.
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Brett Anderson has been the least painful of the bunch, and he gets the ball in game three against Cincinnati. Anderson’s overall numbers have been really for a number five starter, which he was supposed to be when the season opened. Unfortunately, injuries have pushed him to the number three spot, where his numbers, while solid, haven’t looked as impressive. Anderson isn’t a big strikeout pitcher, with only 6.09 K/9 this year. He’s known as a groundball pitcher, and he leads the MLB with a career-high 65.8 percent ground ball rate.
Aug 14, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto (19) looks up after hitting a RBI double during the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
I’m not sure how well a groundball pitcher will work against a quick Reds team. Brandon Phillips has solid speed, and everyone knows about Billy Hamilton. Hamilton has 15 infield hits this season, which accounts for 12.9 percent of his hits this season (sixth highest in the majors).
The Reds (51-63) are one of three teams Anderson has never faced in his career (the Dodgers and Mets are the other two) and only two current Reds have faced Anderson in the past. Marlon Byrd is 2-12 against Anderson with a homer and four strikeouts, and Brayan Pena is 2-7 with a double and three strikeouts.
The Reds will counter with lefty David Holmberg, who still has his rookie status despite having started games in each of the last three seasons. He’s started three times this year and is 1-1 with a 3.06 ERA (4.92 FIP). He’s given up exactly two runs in each of his three starts and has never pitched into the seventh inning in his career. He’s never faced the Dodgers and no current Dodger has a plate appearance against him.
In a small sample size, Enrique Hernandez has quietly been incredible for the Dodgers this year. Kiké has a slashline of .305/.359/.511 and a 142 wRC+. He’s gone 3-4 in each of the first two games of the series and since Howie Kendrick‘s injury, he has led the team (or tied for team lead) in pitches seen in three of the five games. It’s never an easy out with him at the plate, and it’ll be tough to see him go back to spot starts when Kendrick returns.
With a lefty on the hill, Andre Ethier sits for the second straight game. He doubled in the eighth inning as a pinch-hitter/defensive replacement. It’s weird that Carl Crawford is starting, but he’s been hot of late and has hits in five of his last seven at bats.
A.J. Ellis will be catching Anderson for the eighth time this season and for the third straight time. With Ellis behind the plate, Anderson has a 3.00 ERA and has 33 strikeouts/10 walks against 180 plate appearances.
First pitch is scheduled for 6:10 PST and will be shown on Sportsnet LA.