Thursday, July 18, 2024
Fantasy Guru - Baseball

MLB Preview: Los Angeles Dodgers (85-54) at Washington Nationals (63-77)


THAT’S JUST THE WAY WE ROLL: The Dodgers avoided the sweep as they shut down the Marlins 10- 0 on Thursday night. It was the Dodgers’ 14th shutout win of the season as they are now tied for second in the Majors with Seattle and San Diego in shutouts this season, trailing only Atlanta (15). With the victory, the Dodgers held serve and remain 6.0 games back of the Atlanta Braves for the top spot in the National League. Los Angeles now turns their attention to the Washington Nationals as they head to the nations capital to face the Nats for the first of three tonight at 7:05 p.m. Following the road trip (1-2), the Dodgers return home for a short three-game series against the San Diego Padres, which begins on Monday night at 7:10 p.m. The Dodgers hold a 13.0-game lead over Arizona in the National League West division. Los Angeles is 34-16 (.680) in the second half, which is the best record post All-Star break in the National League, and tied with the Baltimore Orioles (34-16, .680) for the best record in the Majors during that span. Los Angeles is 2-1 against the Washington Nationals this season and 12-4 in the last three season
with a +41 run differential against the Nats.

BURNIN’ UP: The Dodgers offense woke up in grand fashion on Thursday night, scoring 10 times and notching 16 hits in their rout of the Marlins. Chris Taylor paced the attack, going 3-for-5 and a three-run homer that capped the scoring in eighth inning. It was his 15th homer of the season and the recently names Roberto Clemente Award finalist is now hitting .286 (22-for-77) since August 1 with three homers and 13 RBI. Will Smith (3), Kiké Hernández (2), Amed Rosario (2) and Miguel Rojas (3) added multi-hit efforts as the Dodgers recorded their 38th win of more than five runs this season:

Major League Baseball – Team Wins of 5+ Runs
Los Angeles Dodgers 38
Atlanta Braves 30
Chicago Cubs 30
Tampa Bay Rays 30
Texas Rangers 30

It was more than enough for right-hander Ryan Pepiot, who took a perfect game into the bottom of the seventh inning before Josh Bell hit a single up the middle on a 2-2 pitch ended the Dodgers first perfect game bid since Sandy Koufax tossed the only perfect game in Dodger history on September 9 in 1965. Pepiot would finish the contest with 7.0 innings, allowing one hit and striking out three as he improved to 2-0 with an 0.86 ERA on the season.

ONE MAN SHOW: Mookie Betts went 1-for-2, reaching base three times and scoring once last night before exiting the game with a foot injury. He is slashing .457/.541/.750 with seven homers and 22 RBI in his last 25 games since Aug. 10. On Sunday night, he was named the National League Player of the Month after hitting .455 (51-for-112) in August while setting the Los Angeles Dodgers record for hits and runs (35) in a calendar month. He became one of four Dodgers in history to hit over .450 in a calendar month with a minimum of 75 at-bats and, according to ESPN Stats & Info, was just the third player in history with a .450 average, 50+ hits and 10+ HR in a calendar month, joining Lou Gehrig (June 1930) and Babe Ruth (July 1923 and 1924). During August, Betts led the Majors in batting average, home runs, on-base percentage, slugging, OPS (1.355), hits (51), extra-base hits (21), total bases (94) and runs; ranked second in RBI; and tied for third in doubles.
The 2018 AL MVP leads the NL in OPS (1.020) and slugging (.609), ranks fourth with a career high 38 home runs, and ranks second in runs (118) and fifth in walks (82).

THE DOUBLE’S SHOW: Dodger first baseman Freddie Freeman went 1-for-4 and recorded his franchise tying 52 double of the season in the sixth inning. He is now tied with Johnny Frederick (1929) for most doubles all-time in Dodger history and he is slashing .372/.445/.623 with 20 doubles, eight homers and 28 RBI in his last 47 games since July 17. He is third in the Majors in runs scored (112), trailing just Ronald Acuña Jr. (123) and teammate Mookie Betts (118). He is third in the Majors with 183 hits and lead the Majors with 79 extra-base hits, while his .333 average ranks third in the Majors.

SUMMER BABY: James Outman was named the Rookie of the Month for the second time this season on Sunday night after hitting .277 (23-for-83) with five homers and 15 RBI in the month of August. He is one of two Dodger rookies to take home the honor twice in a season, joining Cody Bellinger (May & June, 2017). He is now one of nine players to in the award, joining Kazuhisa Ishii (April 2002); James Loney (September 2007); Blake DeWitt (May 2008); Dee Strange-Gordon (September 2011); Yasiel Puig (June 2013); Alex Guerrero (April 2015); Corey Seager (June 2016); and Bellinger. He went 0-for-1 yesterday and is now batting .289 (41-for-142) in the second half and he is among the rookie leaders in batting average (2nd), homers (T-3rd, 7), RBI(6th, 22), OPS (2nd, .898), walks (1st, 34), runs (T-3rd , 29) and OBP (T-1st, .433)


  • New York native tossed four one-run innings in his last appearance September 2, giving up three hits, three walks and one home run while striking out six in the no decision…in his second stint with the Dodgers this season after being added to the expanded roster on September 1. Picked up his first big league save on August 3, tossing four relief innings and giving up three hits, two runs and two walks while striking out three. Became the first starting pitcher since at least 1967 to fire 8.0 consecutive hitless innings to begin his Major League career according to Elias (Billy Rohr; April 14, 1967). Made his Major League debut versus the Giants on June 16, spinning six no-hit innings, only giving up two walks while striking out three in the no decision… joins Ross Stripling as the only Dodger pitchers to pitch at least six no-hit innings in their MLB debut (April 8, 2016). Owns a 4-2 record across 15 games (11 starts) with Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City with a 2.43 ERA (17 ER/63.0 IP) with 102 strikeouts and 29 walks…has limited the opposition to a .131/.253/.252 slashline. He led the Texas League in ERA, strikeouts, batting average against (.131) and WHIP (0.88)


  • Will face Washington for the first time in his career


The Nationals and Dodgers will face each other six times this year (3 in D.C., 3 in LA)…Bullpen coach Henry Blanco was signed by the Dodgers and his MLB debut with them in 1997…Bench coach Tim Bogar (2001) spent time in Los Angeles (NL) during his Major League career…Josiah Gray and Keibert Ruiz were acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers at the 2021 Trade Deadline…Dominic Smith graduated from Junipero Serra High School in Gardena and won a California State Championship at Dodger Stadium in 2013.

Following yet another day off on Thursday, the Washington Nationals open a three-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night.

  • Tonight’s game opens a stretch of 17 games in 17 days for Washington before their next off day on Sept. 25.

The Nationals recalled second baseman Luis García from Triple-A Rochester and placed catcher Riley Adams on the 10-day Injured List with a left hamate fracture on Friday. García returns to the Nationals after hitting .325 (13-for-40) with three doubles, eight RBI, three walks and six runs scored in his last 11 games with the Red Wings…In his last three games prior to the recall, García went 6-for-13 (.462) with two doubles, including a three-hit effort on Sept. 5 at Syracuse (NYM).

Jacob Young had his contract selected on Aug. 26 and after making his Major League debut that night as a pinch runner (and scoring the game-tying run) has started every game since Aug. 27. Young has reached base safely in all 10 games (.368 OBP, 10 H, 4 BB), a Nationals (2005-pres.) record for consecutive games reaching base as a starter to begin a career. He has hit safely in eight straight games…He is 10-for-28 (.357) with four doubles, four RBI, two walks, two stolen bases and three runs scored during the streak. On Wednesday against New York (NL), Young recorded his first career walk-off hit to propel the Nationals to the 3-2 victory over the Mets.

CJ Abrams has 29 stolen bases since moving to the leadoff spot on July 7, the most in Major League Baseball ahead of Ronald Acuña Jr. (22)…On the season, he ranks third in the National League with 40 stolen bases. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Abrams is one of eight shortstops in Major League history (done 11 times) to hit at least 15 home runs and steal 40 bases in a season…He is the second-youngest to do so behind Hanley Ramirez (17/51 in 2006; 22.282 years old) and ahead of Alex Rodriguez (42/46 in 1998; 23.063), per Elias.

Some notes on a few of Washington’s relievers:

  • Jose A. Ferrer has issued just one walk with nine strikeouts and a .178 opponents’ average (8-for-45) over his last 13 outings (13.0 IP)…This comes after walking nine batters in his first 15 games (13.1 IP) of the season…Opposing left-handed batters are 0-for-11 in his last seven outings and 3-for-27 (.111) in his
    last 18 outings. Since returning from the Injured List on Aug. 15, Hunter Harvey has a 0.79 ERA (1 ER/11.1 IP), 13 strikeouts, one walk and a .158 opponents’ average (6-for-38)…He ranks third among Major League relievers with a 0.91 WHIP this season (min. 50.0 IP).

Including Wednesday’s walk-off win, the Nationals have recorded 13 wins when tied or behind after the sixth inning since the All-Star break, the most in Major League Baseball, according to the Elias Sports Bureau… Prior to the All-Star break, they had just six wins in the same fashion. Washington ranks sixth in Major League Baseball with 59 runs scored in the ninth inning.

Lane Thomas enters tonight having homered in three straight games for the first time in his career…The longest home run streak in Nationals history is four games, done four times (Last: Bryce Harper, April 14-17, 2016). Thomas is 7-for-13 (.538) with three homers, five RBI and three runs scored over his last three games. Thomas ranks in the National League in hits (T5th, 153), doubles (T7th, 32), total bases (7th, 260), batting average (9th, .285), runs (10th, 91) and extra-base hits (T10th, 58). He leads Major League Baseball with a career-high 15 outfield assists…His 15 outfield assists rank second in Nationals history (2005-pres.) behind Alfonso Soriano (22 in 2006). With three more stolen bases, he would record the sixth 20 home run – 20 stolen base season in Nationals History (2005-pres.) and the first since 2016.

Kyle Finnegan ranks seventh in the National League with a career-high 25 saves this season.

  • He has 14 saves, five holds and has pitched to a 1.89 ERA (8 ER/38.0 IP) with a .198 opponents’ average in his last 35 appearances.

Keibert Ruiz leads National League catchers in average (.313), slugging percentage (.500) and is second in on-base percentage (.369) since July 9. He ranks fifth in the National League with a .363 average with runners in scoring position.

Left-handed starter was acquired by Washington at the 2022 Trade Deadline…Entered 2020 as the No. 6 prospect in all of baseball and 2021 as the No. 10 prospect, according to Baseball America …Was cited by Baseball America as having the “Best Fastball” in San Diego’s system entering the 2022 season and the “Best Slider” in 2021 and 2018…Was the 2017 Gatorade Male High School Athlete of the Year, just the second baseball player to win the award at the time (Dylan Bundy in 2011; Bobby Witt Jr. in 2019).

Allowed one earned run on six hits, walked two and struck out two in 5.0 innings on August 29 against Toronto at Rogers Center…Earned the win in the Nationals 5-4 victory.

Faces the Dodgers for the second time in his career…In his last appearance, he allowed one earned run on five hits, walked four and struck out three in 5.2 innings on July 3, 2022 at Dodger Stadium…He did not factor in the decision in the Padres 4-2 victory.

Gore ranks seventh in the National League with 10.00 strikeouts per 9.0 innings (min. 120.0 IP). He ranks among NL lefties (min. 120.0 IP) in strikeouts per 9.0 (3rd, 10.00), strikeouts (4th, 147), opponents’ slugging percentage (5th, .443) and ERA (5th, 4.28).

Gore ranks fifth among all MLB left-handed pitchers with 322 swings and misses this season, according to MLB Statcast…On May 28 at Kansas City, he induced a career-high 23 swings and misses in 7.0 innings.

Gore’s curveball boasts a 38.5% whiff rate (swing-&-miss/total swings), eighth among all MLB curveballs (min. 100 PA) and the second-highest among MLB lefties.

EARNING THE CAPITAL K IN MacKenzie Gore’s 10.00 strikeouts per 9.0 innings would rank 11th in a season in Nationals history (2005-pres.)…He has 147 strikeouts in his first 26 starts.

Mikey Balhan Sports

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