Dodgers A’s Game One Preview


Hooray Interleague week! A week of probably seeing what Alex Guerrero could do on an AL team.

The Dodgers open up an eight-game road trip against the Oakland A’s, who are a lot worse than they should be. They’re 51-68 with a 60-59 Pythagorean W-L record. For all my mathematically inclined people out there, that means this: (copy pasted from Baseball Reference.)

"Pythagorean winning percentage is an estimate of a team’s winning percentage given their runs scored and runs allowed. Developed by Bill James, it can tell you when teams were a bit lucky or unlucky. It is calculated by (Runs Scored)^1.83 --------------------------------------------------------- (Runs Scored)^1.83 + (Runs Allowed)^1.83 The traditional formula uses an exponent of two, but this has proven to be a little more accurate."

For further proof of the A’s unluckiness this season, they’re 13-27 in games decided by one run. They’ve lost 27 games by a run. Everything they do is so Oakland (bonus points if you understand this reference).

Tonights matchup has all the makings of a Dodger victory. Clayton Kershaw is pitching. He’s pretty good. He leads the planet in FIP and strikeouts and has allowed five runs in his last seven starts, dating back to June 27. He hasn’t struck out double-digit batters in any of his last three starts, so I guess this is his big slump.

Jul 5, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis (17) throws out a runner at first base in the seventh inning of the game against the New York Mets at Dodger Stadium. Mets won 8-0. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The A’s are also back in California after getting swept in a four-game set in Baltimore, which came after they got swept in three games against Toronto. Luckily, the Dodgers will miss Sonny Gray in this series. Gray shut the Dodgers down at Dodger Stadium in July, but he pitched yesterday. Instead, they’ll be facing Felix Doubront.

Doubront was a highly-regarded lefty prospect with the Red Sox, but never really panned out. Over his six-year career, he’s never had an ERA lower than 4.00 and he hasn’t had a K/9 of more than six since 2013. He’s started two games against the Dodgers in his career. He fared decently in his major league debut, allowing three runs in five innings and he got the win for Boston. He didn’t fare so well the second time he faced the Dodgers, as he allowed six runs in two 1/3 innings last year for the Cubs, who went on to win thanks to Brian Wilson.

No current Dodger has faced Doubront more than 10 times. Adrian Gonzalez is 2-2 with two homers and five RBI against him, but neither Carl Crawford or Andre Ethier have a hit in seven combined plate appearances against him.

Kershaw didn’t face the A’s in the series at Dodger Stadium last month because of his hip/butt injury, but he’s faced Oakland twice in his career. He doesn’t have a decision, but in 13 2/3 innings he’s allowed one run and struck out 10 against them. Of current A’s, Ike Davis is the only player with an extra-base hit against Kershaw in the past and Coco Crisp has struck out two of the three times he’s faced Clayton.

Tonight will be the first time since July 18 that A.J. Ellis has caught Kershaw. Kershaw’s numbers across the board are better when throwing to Yasmani Grandal, but with a lefty on the hill for Oakland Ellis gets the start.

Ideally, Guerrero will be getting the bulk of starts at DH during this series at Oakland and the next series at Houston. His numbers have fallen off without consistent at-bats, so this coming week should give him a chance to get in a groove and see what he can do with the bat.

First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PST and will be shown on Sportsnet LA. Remember, early game tomorrow.