Wednesday, May 31, 2023
Sports Gaming Monitor

MLB Preview: Los Angeles Dodgers (20-14) at San Diego Padres (18-16)


NAIL BITER: The Dodgers squeezed by the Padres last night by a 2-1 margin, thanks to an excellent start by Dustin May and a big hit off the bat of Chris Taylor. May fired 6.0 scoreless innings for the win, giving up just three hits and a walk while striking out six. He is now 4-1 on the season and his four victories are a career best. Taylor accounted for all of the Dodger runs with a two-run homer in the fourth inning. His six home runs are third on the team behind Max Muncy (12) and James Outman (7). Evan Phillips recorded his team-leading fourth save of the season and has not been scored upon since April 11 (7.0 IP). The first-place Dodgers have won 11 of their last 15 contests and this evening continue their road trip (1-1) with the rubber match of their three-game series with the rival Padres at 4:08 p.m. on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. Following the game, the Boys in Blue will fly to Milwaukee and begin a three-game set with the Brewers at American Family Field tomorrow night at 6:40 p.m. CT. Los Angeles returns home for a six-game homestand vs. the Padres (3) and Twins (3) that begins Friday night, May 12 vs. San Diego. Los Angeles is in first place in the National League West, 0.5 games ahead of the Diamondbacks and 2.0 games up on the third-place Padres. Congratulations are in order for bench coach Danny Lehmann, who last night skippered the Dodgers to victory in the absence of manager Dave Roberts. Roberts was attending the college graduation of his son, Cole, from Loyola Marymount University. Taylor’s two-run blast was his sixth of the season and the 95th of his career. Taylor did not hit his sixth home run until June 3 last season.

THE NEXT CHAPTER: The Dodgers clobbered the Padres in the regular season last year, going 14-5, including a 5-3 mark at Petco Park. Over the last three seasons, Los Angeles is 27-13 (.675) vs. San Diego during the regular season. Since 2017, the Boys in Blue are 73-34 against the Padres with a 35-19 (.648) record away from home. Despite the recent regular season domination, the Padres beat the Dodgers in the NLDS last season. 3-1. The Dodgers are 8-7 in 2023 and 62-29 (.681) against the National League West dating back to last season. The Dodgers have posted nine straight winning seasons against the National League West division, including four 50+ win seasons against their NL West foes (2014, 2019, 2021-22). Since 2014, the Dodgers are 415-249 (.625) against the NL West.

MAX IN OVERDRIVE: Dodger third baseman Max Muncy went 0-for-2 with a walk and a hit-by-pitch last night and leads the Major Leagues with 12 home runs while ranking among the big league leaders in RBI (28, T-6th), walks (25, T-3rd), slugging percentage (.608, 5th) and OPS (1.000, 8th). Muncy has 16-career home runs vs. the Padres, including six at Petco Park. Muncy’s 12 home runs in the Dodgers’ first 34 games are tied for the third most in L.A. Dodger history at this point of the season:

Cody Bellinger, 2019 14
Raul Mondesi, 1999 13
Max Muncy, 2023 12
Matt Kemp, 2012 12
Ron Cey, 1977 12
Jim Wynn, 1974 12
Frank Howard, 1964 12

BACK IN BUSINESS: Dodger left-hander Julio Urías righted the ship on Tuesday night, dominating the Phillies for his fourth win of the season (7.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 10 SO). The Mexican native is 41-13 with a 2.70 ERA (120 ER/400.1 IP) and 406 strikeouts in 70 starts since 2021. He has the most wins in Major League Baseball since 2021, ahead of Gerrit Cole (34) and Dylan Cease (29). Since 2021, there are just five pitchers in Major League Baseball with a better ERA (Min. 200 IP) than Urías as he trails Shoehi Ohtani (2.37), Shane McClanahan (2.44), teammate Walker Buehler (2.47), Zac Gallen (2.54) and Alek Manoah (2.63).

THE ROOK: The reigning Rookie of the Month James Outman went 0-for-3 with a walk last night, but still leads all rookies in runs scored (22-tied), triples (3), extra-base hits (16) and total bases (64). Outman ranks third with 21 RBI, a .274 batting average, a .369 OBP and a .936 OPS.

LONG BALLS: Chris Taylor’s two-run homer last night gives the Dodgers 55 home runs on the season, which ranks third in the Majors, behind the Tampa Bay Rays (69) and Atlanta Braves (57). The Dodgers have recorded 3+ homers in 10 games this season, which ranks second in baseball, trailing only the Rays (12). The Dodgers are second in the Majors with 25 games with at least one homer, behind the Rays (30), who have homered in all but four games this season.

2023 NOTES:
• Over seven starts, the southpaw owns a 4-3 record with a 3.86 ERA (17 ER/39.2 IP) with 45 strikeouts and eight walks…has given up eight homers and has produced a 1.11 WHIP

• Pitched a season-high seven innings, striking out a season-best 10 batters in his last start against the Phillies

• In his start against the Rockies on April 4, he hurled six innings of shut-out baseball, tabbing his 600TH career strikeout against Kris Bryant

• Tossed six innings on Opening Day against the Diamondbacks, giving up four hits and two earned runs while sitting down six…was his first
Opening Day nod of his career

• El Culichi is tied for third in the National League in wins (4)

• Key participant in the World Baseball Classic for Team Mexico, firing 9.0 innings in two starts against Colombia and Puerto Rico…struck out
nine batters and walked three while allowing just one earned run on two hits

• Went 3-0 with a 1.50 ERA (4 ER/24.0 IP) and 18 strikeouts in four starts against the Padres last season

• Owns an overall 6-1 record in 15 games (10 starts) with a 2.19 ERA (15 ER/61.2 IP) vs. the club, tallying 59 strikeouts and just 22 walks…


Snell turns in his best start of the year, but Padres can’t mount offensive, fall 2-1 to Dodgers

• Blake Snell went 6.0 innings with 2 runs allowed on just 1 hit…he walked 3 batters with 6 punchies.

• Fernando Tatis Jr. went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI for his 2nd 3-hit game this year and his 6th multi-hit effort overall…he doubled to LF in the 8th, advanced to 3B on a grounder to 3B by Manny Machado, but the Friar offense failed to bring him in.

• Last night was the Dodgers 1st win this year in which they had 0 hits with runners in scoring position…were previously 0-8 in such games in 2023.

Packed at Petco
• Last night, the Padres saw 42,402 fans after seeing a seasonhigh 45,116 patrons at Petco Park on Friday…discounting the two “home games” against the Giants in Mexico City from April 29-30, the Padres have hosted a total of 723,123 fans so far at Petco this year in 18 games for an average of 40,173 fans per game…that average at Petco per game ranks 2nd in all of baseball, trailing just You-Know-Who (the Dodgers have average a Major League leading 47,982 fans per game so far in Chavez Ravine).

• The last 2 games vs. the Dodgers have seen a total 87,518 fans through the Petco Park gates…the Petco Park attendance record for a 3-game series is 133,856 fans vs. the Dodgers last season from April 22-24, 2022…we’d need to have 46,338 fans in attendance today to tie that record.

Cue the rubber match:
Padres in search for the 3rd straight series win, look to snap regular season home series losing streak vs. Dodgers

• The last time the Padres won a regular season home series against the Dodgers at Petco Park was when they swept them in 3 games from June 21-23, 2021…since then, the Padres have lost all 4 series…in the regular season since August 24, 2021, San Diego has gone 6-24 against the Dodgers.

• The Padres are 1-2 in rubber games so far this year, having won their last series vs. Cincinnati in a rubber-game victory last Wednesday…the Padres have not won a rubber game against the Dodgers since May 6, 2018 in San Diego.

Rule Changes: Padres batters have 6 auto strikes and pitchers have 8 auto balls
• San Diego batters have had 6 automatic strikes called against them, tied with Miami and Washington for the 3rd most of any team (behind the Red Sox’s 6 and Mets’ 7)…Padres pitchers, meanwhile, have 8 automatic balls called against them for the pitch clock violation, T-17th most in MLB.

• The Dodger’s offense has 3 automatic strikes called against them, while their pitchers have just 2 automatic balls against them.

Musgrove gets the ball against the Dodgers for the 1st time since Game 4 of the 2022 NLDS
• Joe Musgrove toes the rubber today for his 1st start opposite the Dodgers since October 15, 2022 at Petco Park in Game 4 of the NLDS…he did not receive a decision after he worked 6.0 innings of 2-run, 6-hit ball with 3 walks and 8 strikeouts, sending the Padres to the NL Championship series.

• Joe looks to bounce back today after his 3.1 inning start in Mexico City vs. the Giants…he allowed 7 earned runs and 3 homers (Padres won the game 16-11).

• He was originally slated to pitch Game 1 of the Dodger series, but after his last start, he developed a blister on his foot…out of an abundance of caution, he was pushed back until today to make sure he healed completely.

Musgrove in search of first career winning decision as a 2 1 – 0 10.80 2 8.1 13 10 10 4 1 9 39 153/97 starter vs. LAD
30-year-old right-hander Joe Musgrove is set to make his 3rd start of the season tonight and aims for his first career winning decision as a starter vs. LAD…it will be his 11th career start against the Dodgers (including the Postseason)…he did earn the winning decision in Game 5 of the 2017 World Series vs. LAD in the Astros’ 13-12 victory…but as a starter vs. LAD, he is 0-6 with a 3.93 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and .246 opp. AVG…his last outing vs. LAD came in Game 4 of the NLDS (6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 ER), but he did not factor into SD’s 5-3 win to eliminate the Dodgers and advance to the NLCS vs. PHI.

Freddie Freeman is 11-for-24 (.458) vs. Musgrove with 4 XBH (2 2B, 3B, HR), while Max Muncy is 9-for-23 (.391) also with 4 XBH (3 2B, HR)…David Peralta is 7-for-20 (.350) with 5 XBH (3 2B, 3B, HR) and Mookie Betts is 5-for-14 (.357) with 2 XBH…on the flip side, Chris Taylor is 4-for-23 (.174) vs. Musgrove while Will Smith is 3-for-16 (.188).

Something in the air up there
In a game that featured 11 home runs, Musgrove made his 2nd start of the season in Game 1 of the 2-game Mexico City series vs. SF last Saturday at Estadio Alfredo Harp Helú’s 7,349 feet of elevation…he surrendered a career-high 3 HR for the 6th-time in his career (last: Sept. 6, 2022 vs. ARI) in SD’s 16-11 win…SD has now won each of his 6 starts vs. SF since Oct. 2, 2021 @ Oracle Park.

Musgrove making the most of the month of May
Musgrove has been among MLB’s best pitchers during May over the last two seasons, as his 2.23 ERA during the month ranks 5th among all ML pitchers (min. 50.0 IP), trailing only TEX’s Martin Perez (1.41), MIN’s Sonny Gray (1.93), TB’s Shane McClanahan (2.21) and PHI’s Zack Wheeler (2.21)

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