It’s crazy how the Dodgers get to play another game like two hours after yesterday’s game ended.
Full disclosure, my attention wasn’t fully on yesterday’s Dodger game. I turned it on at 1:35, and kept it on my computer screen pretty much all day. At 5, I turned my TV onto the Warriors-OKC game. On a normal day, the Dodger game would have ended well before the NBA game, and my Sunday would have been normal. While the NBA game was a blowout, the Dodger game ended with a minute left in the fourth quarter of a game that started three hours and 20 minutes after the Dodger game started. The Dodgers-Padres game literally almost lapped the Sunday Night baseball game, as that game was in the eighth inning when the Dodgers got the final out of the 17th and final inning.
That game had everything. It, somehow, wasn’t the only sporting event I watched yesterday in which someone got hit in his private area. I had completely forgotten who started the game (Kenta Maeda and Colin Rea, for the record). Maeda was great until he wasn’t, but looked a lot better than he had in recent outings. Outfield defense was problematic all game, and it turned a blooper into a three-run triple and turned a gapper into a game-tying triple in the ninth, although with two outs a dive was necessary in that situation. The bullpen, other than Kenley Jansen, was nails all game. The only reliever the Dodgers didn’t use was shrimp chef Chin-hui Tsao, who remained in the dugout all game. They even used Ross Stripling, who was scheduled to start Tuesday’s game, but tossed three scoreless innings and got his second career win. THEY EVEN USED CLAYTON KERSHAW AS A PINCH HITTER. Seriously, that game had everything.
The bullpen threw 12 innings yesterday. Pedro Baez and Joe Blanton were the only Dodger relievers to not allow a runner, but Louis Coleman was the only one charged with an earned run. That came after a walk and a productive groundout, and Jansen inherited the runner and got bitten by Melvin Upton again. If you predicted 12 innings of one-run ball by the Dodgers bullpen, please comment below with the next lotto numbers.
After all that, the Dodgers return home for another three-game set against a last place team. Was yesterday’s game just another win, or is it going to be a jump-off point of the season? We might find out today, but the matchup, on paper, is sort of unfair. The Cincinnati Reds have the third-worst record in baseball and have the sixth-worst team batting average and second-worst ream on base percentage. And they get to face Clayton Kershaw today.
Kershaw has notched double-digit strikeouts in his last six outings, and in four of those outings he has failed to issue a walk. Kershaw’s start comes at a perfect time, as the Dodger bullpen could really use a long outing by a starter, and Kershaw has gone at least seven in each of his nine starts. 88 strikeouts and four walks. That’s really all you need to know
Brandon Finnegan gets the ball for the Reds and has had some issues this season. He’s allowed exactly three earned runs in each of his last five starts and has only pitched into the seventh inning once this season. His lone win came in a weird outing, as he allowed four unearned runs in five innings, but the Reds beat the Cardinals 9-8. He’s never faced the Dodgers in his career.
With a lefty on the hill, Adrian Gonzalez and Corey Seager are the only two left handed bats in the lineup. Enrique Hernandez leads off and plays left, with Trayce Thompson making his eighth consecutive start. Joc Pederson should absolutely not be a platoon player, but Thompson and Kiké should probably be in the lineup against lefties and Howie Kendrick seems to be heating up and fell a triple short of the cycle in yesterday’s marathon. Poor A.J. Ellis, catching today after 17 innings behind the plate yesterday.
With the long game, the Dodgers made a couple roster moves. Stripling was optioned to AAA and Tsao was placed on the DL. Since Tsao didn’t appear in yesterday’s game, he’ll be eligible to return a day earlier. Stripling’s spot on the roster was taken by Mike Bolsinger, who now figures to start tomorrow although the Dodgers haven’t made that official yet. Tsao’s spot goes to Luis Avilan, who gives the Dodgers a third lefty in the bullpen. He’s only appeared in .2 innings in the majors this year, which makes his per nine stats really fun (40.5 H/9, 27 BB/9). Stripling will have to be down in AAA for at least 10 days unless he’s recalled for an injury replacement, so theoretically he could only miss one start in the majors, since he was already not going to start tomorrow’s game. Or his job could just belong to Bolsinger now.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PST and will be shown on Sportsnet LA.