The Dodgers look to avoid getting swept out of San Diego with a surprising starter on the mound.
The Dodgers are not handling post-clinch life very well, as they’ve dropped the first two games in San Diego. Both of the previous games were auditions for starters for the fourth postseason rotation spot, and neither of them pitched like they wanted it.
Today’s starter is a little bit of a surprise, but the Dodgers need a win tonight if they want to avoid getting swept out of San Diego. They also are barely clinging on to a chance at home field advantage in the NLDS, and another loss would all-but end any chance of that.
Julio Urias was supposed to finish out the season in the bullpen, but he’s getting the start tonight. He does have a shot to be the Dodgers’ game four starter in the postseason, and a nice outing today would likely make that the case.
Urias’ rookie season has been pretty spectacular considering how poorly his first two appearances went. Entering today, Urias owns a 3.53 ERA and 3.22 FIP in 74 major league innings. Among 196 starters with 70 or more innings this season, Urias owns the 62nd-best ERA and 25th-best FIP. His ERA is solid and his FIP is fantastic, especially considering he allowed eight earned runs in his first 7.2 innings this season. Since then, Urias has allowed 26 earned runs in 71.1 innings and struck out 76 batters. Not bad for a guy that turned 20 last month.
He’s at 119 innings between the minors and majors. Figuring he goes 4-5 innings tonight, he would be able to make a start in the NLDS without going over 130 for the season. That isn’t a hard limit, but that’s probably the upper end of where they’d want him to finish the season.
Urias started against the Padres at Dodger Stadium earlier this month. He allowed two runs in 5.1 innings and struck out six, but the Dodgers lost after Adam Liberatore was charged with two runs in the eighth.
Christian Friedrich is a lefty and will start against the Dodgers tonight. Friedrich will make his 23rd start today and has a 4.66 ERA/4.23 FIP in his previous 22.
Friedrich is a rare lefty that has seen the Dodgers this year and didn’t dominate. He’s made three starts against the Dodgers, and the Padres have lost two of those. The win came in his first start, when he needed 75 pitches to get 10 outs and was pulled in the fourth inning. He only allowed two runs, but the Dodgers had six hits. That was one of the Melvin Upton walkoff games.
In his other two starts against the Dodgers, Friedrich has allowed seven runs in 9.1 innings. The Padres lost both of those games (Friedrich got the loss in one game) at Dodger Stadium.
Friedrich is coming off one of his best starts of the season. Despite taking the loss against the Giants, Friedrich held SF to two runs in seven innings and struck out six. He’s gone seven innings in each of his last two home starts.
Remember, this game isn’t very important. That’s a good thing, as the Dodgers are rolling out a split squad lineup.
They have three everyday starters in the lineup. Howie Kendrick starts but is playing first, Justin Turner is back in the lineup after getting yesterday off and Joc Pederson gets a rare start against a lefty.
Charlie Culberson starts at short, Yasiel Puig at right, and Carlos Ruiz is behind the plate. Culberson should make the postseason roster but I can’t imagine a scenario where anyone thinks it’s a good idea to have him in instead of Corey Seager. Puig will be on the roster and will likely platoon with Josh Reddick. Ruiz will be on the roster, but if Yasmani Grandal is healthy, he might be a better option against lefties than Ruiz.
Enrique Hernandez is at second, which is sort of rare these days. Kiké’s last start at second was August 20th. Like it or not, he’s gonna be on the postseason roster. He’s good defensively at like six different positions. Rob Segedin starts at left, and I’d bet on him not making the playoff roster. He was hot when he came up, but hasn’t shown much since mid-August.
First pitch is scheduled for 6:10 PST and will be shown on SNLA.