The Dodgers are back in town for a six-game homestand starting with a three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies are coming in with a surprising 11-9 record through the first 20 games of the season, while the Dodgers are below .500 with an 11-12 record.
The upcoming home stand includes plenty of awesome giveaways and the projected matchups should favor the Dodgers for the first time in a long time.
Projected Pitching Matchups:
Friday Night Fireworks
Corey Seager Bobblehead
Kids Batting Helmet
The Dodgers are a far more talented team compared to a Phillies team that lost 91 games last season. So even with the Phillies playing solid baseball to start the season, there’s no reason the Dodgers shouldn’t come away with a sweep here.
A series sweep would put the Dodgers above .500 for just the second time this season to close out the month of April. The Dodgers currently sit 3 ½ games back from the Dbacks and Rockies, who are facing each other for the first time this year this weekend.
While you never want to record watch during the first month of the season, it would be nice for the Dodgers to finish April strong so that they don’t have such an uphill battle to recapture first. At the end of the day, I don’t remember wins in April counting less than wins in September.
But this series could serve as a “get right” opportunity for the team. The Phillies rank in the bottom half of the league in team ERA with a 4.13 rating. The Dodgers bats should have plenty of opportunity to drive in runs and improve their statistics with hitting with runners in scoring position. You add that to the fact that the Dodgers are avoiding the Phillies two top arms in Jeremy Hellickson and Vince Velasquez, the team’s offense really should come to life.
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Not to mention the Dodgers for the first time this season are facing all righties, including a pitcher in Pivetta who is making his major league debut. I really can’t find a reason why the offense shouldn’t get going. Especially after leaving San Francisco with a four-run 10th inning.
But aside from the offense, this is an opportunity for our pitchers who have been inconsistent to find their form. Brandon McCarthy has been a pleasant surprise and there’s no reason to believe why that should change during his start on Saturday (knock on wood). Ryu is coming off of his best start since 2014 against a more dangerous lineup in San Francisco.
But what this really gives hope for is for Kenta Maeda. To say Maeda has had a rough start to the season is an understatement. Maeda has been lit up to a 3.32 home run per 9 innings ratio and his ERA has ballooned over 8 as a result. His ground ball rate has decreased by nearly 20% and his walk rate is right around 2 walks per 9 innings. In short, he’s been bad.
Now he faces the Phillies a team that is a considerably weaker lineup than the Dbacks and Rockies. If Maeda doesn’t have a productive start this go time in the lineup, it may be time to for some change.
The team has had a rough stretch of games in the opening month of the season. With only three days off in the month of April and facing contenders like the Cubs, Giants, and Rockies, the Dodgers could use a series against a team that they can flex their muscles against.
As rough as this month has been with injuries, struggling players, and frustrating games. The Dodgers can actually end the month of April with a winning record. Something they didn’t do last season. This series could be the early tipping point to turning around the Dodgers season.