Friday, June 2, 2023
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MLB Preview: Philadelphia Phillies (15-16) at Los Angeles Dodgers (18-13)


PROCESS IT: Last night, the Phillies fell to the Los Angeles Dodgers, 13-4, at Dodger Stadium in L.A. … Starter Taijuan Walker (L, 2-2) went 3.2 innings and allowed 8 runs on 8 hits with 3 walks and 6 strikeouts … Offensively, Kyle Schwarber homered, and J.T. Realmuto tripled as Nick Castellanos and Brandon Marsh had multi-hit efforts.

TONIGHT’S BELL RINGER, BRYCE HARPER: The Phillies reinstated Bryce Harper from the 10-day injured list prior to tonight’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers … To make room for Harper on the 26- man roster, outfielder Jake Cave was optioned to triple-A Lehigh Valley following last night’s game … Harper, who underwent UCL reconstruction/repair with ulnar nerve transposition on his right elbow on Nov. 23, 2022, in Los Angeles, Calif., performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache, returns to the Phillies 160 days after the procedure … Last season, Harper was selected as a National League All-Star for the seventh time in his career … A two-time National League Most Valuable Player (2015; 2021), Harper was named the 2022 National League Championship Series MVP after slashing .400/.400/.850 with five extra-base hits (2 HR, 3 2B) and five RBI in five games … He hit the game-winning home run in Game 5 of the NLCS on Oct. 23, 2022, against San Diego, and overall, had four game-winning home runs which was the most ever by any player during a single postseason … His 1.160 OPS last postseason ranks fifth in major league history for a single postseason (min. 70 PA), behind only Barry Bonds in 2002 (1.559), Randy Arozarena in 2020 (1.273), David Freese in 2011 (1.258) and Corey Seager in 2020 (1.171).

AND WE’RE RUNNING TONIGHT FROM L.A.: Bryce Harper will make his return to the Phillies tonight in Los Angeles, sight of his ML debut almost 11 years ago to the day on May 28, 2012 … In his first career game, Harper went 1-for-3 at the plate and doubled for his first career hit off Chad Billingsley … The last time Harper set foot on this field was last May and in three games (all Phils wins), he went 8-for-12 with five runs, four doubles, three home runs, eight RBI and two walks to only one strikeout … In Dodger Stadium’s 61- year history, Harper’s seven extra-base hits are tied for the most by any player in a single series and any three-game span (also: LAD’s Adrian Gonzalez, 4/6-8/15 vs SD).

PHILLY OVER BOSTON: LHP Matt Strahm, who pitched last season for the Boston Red Sox, was signed by the Phillies to a two-year contract this offseason … Among 120 pitchers in MLB this season who have made five starts, Strahm’s 36.0% strikeout rate ranks 4th – he trails only Spencer Strider (41.0%), Jacob deGrom (39.1%) and Zac Gallen (36.2%) – Shohei Ohtani ranks 5th at 35.1% … In 30 career starts, Strahm is averaging 9.81 SO/9.0 IP (142 SO, 130.1 IP) with a 4.90 SO/BB ratio (29 BB).

JAMES HARDEN WITH THE RANGE ON ME, WAY BACK: The Phillies enter tonight’s game with a .989 fielding percentage as a team that ranks 3rd among all NL clubs behind the Padres (.994) and Diamondbacks (.992) … Individually, Bryson Stott has a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage in 116 total chances at second base … Stott leads the Phillies this season with 4 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and ranks T-2nd among all NL second basemen (also: MIL’s Brice Turang), trailing only SD’s Ha-seong Kim (5 DRS).

FEAR THE BEARD: Phillies center fielder Brandon Marsh enters tonight’s game slashing .337/.422/.640 with a 1.062 OPS that ranks 2nd in major league baseball behind only Matt Chapman (1.132) … Marsh has reached base safely in 26 of his 28 games played this season … Since being acquired by the Phillies via trade from the Los Angeles Angels for Logan O’Hoppe at last year’s deadline, Marsh is slashing .308/.363/.529 with an .892 OPS that ranks 15th among 225 MLB players with 200+ plate appearances in that span.

CLAP YOUR HANDS, EVERYBODY: In April, Jose Alvarado became only the second relief pitcher since 1893 to complete a month with 24+ strikeouts and 0 walks – he joined Eric Gagne who did so in June of 2002 with 24 strikeouts to 0 walks for the Dodgers … In June of 2002, Gagne took home National League Pitcher of the Month honors (reliever of the month was established in 2017) … Please see a chart below for a comparison between Gagne in June of 2002 and Alvarado in April of 2023.

THE ANSWER: Dating back to Sept. 13, 2022, Jose Alvarado has pitched 20.0 innings – he has 40 strikeouts and 1 walk in that span (19 G) – he has multiple strikeouts in 17 of those 19 games (89%) and has multiple strikeouts with 0 walks in 16 of those 19 (84%) … Since his last walk on Sept. 21, 2022 vs TOR, Alvarado has faced 62 batters and has struck out 36 of them (58.0% SO rate) with 0 walks.

OUT THE MUD: Phils right fielder Nick Castellanos has gotten ahead 1-0 in 43 plate appearances this season – after taking ball one, Castellanos is slashing .474/.535/.763 with a 1.298 OPS and seven extrabase hits – his .474 AVG after 1-0 ranks 2nd in MLB, his .535 OBP is 11th, his .763 SLG ranks 12th and his 1.298 OPS ranks 7th … Last season, Castellanos ranked 201st out of 203 qualified hitters in MLB with a .575 OPS after getting ahead 1-0 – in 174 plate appearances after 1-0, he slashed .197/.276/.299 with 10 extrabase hits.

HERE THEY COME: After starting the year 0-4 and being outscored 37-12 (-25) through their first four games (3/30-4/3), the Phillies have gone 15-11 (.577) with a +12 run differential in their 26 games since (4/4-current) … Philadelphia has won seven of their last 10 (since 4/21), eight of their last 12 (since 4/19), 10 of their last 15 (since 4/16) and 12 of their last 17 (since 4/14) … The Phillies have won each of their last four series (2-1 at CWS, 3-1 vs COL, 2-1 vs SEA & 2-1 vs HOU).

2023: 2-2, 2.31 ERA Career: 19-30, 3.70 ERA

LAST START: 4/27 vs SEA: W, 5.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 5 SO, HB … Strahm vs Kirby … The Phillies shut out the Seattle Mariners, 1-0, in a Thursday matinee at Citizens Bank Park … Seranthony Dominguez, Connor Brogdon, Gregory Soto and Craig Kimbrel made scoreless appearances in relief … The game’s only run came on a Kody Clemens RBI-single that scored Nick Castellanos in the 2nd inning.

• Hit Me!: Strahm has allowed only 12 hits in his 5 starts, joining David West in 1994 (12 hits, 5/24-6/13) as the only Phillies since at least 1901 to throw at least 20.0 IP and allow 12 or fewer hits in any 5-start span … His .148 OPP AVG overall this season is the lowest among all pitchers in baseball with at least 5 starts

• K Counter: From the beginning of his start on 4/15, through the 1st inning of his last start on 4/27, Strahm struck out 20 of the 37 batters he faced (54.1%) over 9.0 IP … Among all 120 pitchers with at least 5 games started, Strahm ranks 4th in SO % (36.0%) and 7th in SO/9.0 IP (12.34) (13.50)

• Putting up Zeros: Strahm made another scoreless start his last time out, going 5.1 shutout IP vs SEA … It was his 3rd scoreless start in 5 starts overall, and he has 3 of the 4 by any Phillie this season (other: Zack Wheeler, 4/29 at HOU … He is T-2nd in MLB in scoreless starts this season behind only Zac Gallen’s 4 … Strahm’s 2.31 ERA ranks 8th among NL pitchers with at least 5 starts

• Dodgeball: Strahm has an active 9.0-inning scoreless streak against LAD (8 relief appearances) all of which came in 2019 (when they won 106 games) or 2020 (when they won the WS) … In those 8 appearances he has allowed 4 baserunners (3 1B, BB) … In his 2 career starts vs LAD, he has allowed 2 R in 7.0 IP

• Reverse Splits: 75 of the first 89 hitters Strahm has faced this season have been RHH … They are slashing .134/.227/.254 with 28 SO against him … Among all pitchers with at least 75 RHH faced this season, he ranks 1st in OPP AVG, 3rd in OPP OBP (.227) and 3rd in OPP SLG (.254)

• WAR Room: Strahm’s 0.8 fWAR in 5 starts and 1 relief appearance (23.1 IP) is nearly triple his 2022 fWAR of 0.3 in 50 relief appearances (44.2 IP), and is 2nd on the team behind only Zack Wheeler’s 1.3 (which is T-8th in MLB)

• vs NL West: 3-11, 4.10 ERA (46 ER, 101.0 IP) in 62 games (10 starts)

• 2023: 0-1, 3.52 ERA (3 ER, 7.2 IP) in 3 games (2 starts)

• Career: 9-19, 3 SV, 3.74 ERA (69 ER, 166.0 IP) in 114 games (18 starts)

2023 SEASON:
• Struck out a career-high 11 batters on 4/20 vs COL

• Was the first Phillies LHP to strike out 11 in a game since Cole Hamels in his no-hitter on 7/25/15 at CHI (13 SO)

• Began his season with an 11.0-inning scoreless streak (12.0 IP dating back to 2022) that ended in the 2nd inning of his start on 4/15 at CIN

• Tied his longest career scoreless start (5.0 IP) on 4/10 vs MIA (other: 4/13/19 at ARI)

• On 4/4 at NYY made his first start since 8/17/21 at COL (51 relief apps between)


FANTASTIC FIVE: The Dodgers won their season high fifth consecutive game, bashing the Phillies, 13-1, and collecting a season-high 17 hits in the process. The 13 runs matched a season high for the third time and in two games Los Angeles has outscored Philadelphia, 26-5 while scoring a run in 12 of their 16 offensive innings. The Dodgers have won nine of their last 12 contests, are 11-6 at Dodger Stadium and have the most home victories in the National League. Last night was Miguel Vargas’ turn to shine as the rookie infielder collected career bests in hits (4) and doubles (3) while matching his career highs in runs scored (2) and RBI (3). Dodger starter Julio Urias will take the run support, but he didn’t need it, allowing just one run on one hit (a solo homer) in 7.0 innings while striking out a Dodger season high 10 batters. Today, the Dodgers will attempt to complete a perfect homestand (5-0) and record their second consecutive three-game sweep. The club will be off tomorrow and then start a six-game road trip with the first of three vs. the Padres at Petco Park on Friday night. The trip also features three games in Milwaukee against the Brewers next week. Los Angeles is in first place in the National League West, 1.5 games ahead of the Diamondbacks. The lead matches a season high and is their largest since the conclusion of play on April 8. The Dodgers last six-game winning streak was from July 31-Aug. 13, 2022, when the club ripped off 12-in-a-row. The Dodgers went 9-for-17 with runners in scoring position last night and are hitting .517 (15-for-29) with men in scoring position the last two games. Los Angeles is batting .272 with RISP on the season, which ranks fourth in the National League. Los Angeles dropped four of seven games with Philadelphia last season, including three of four at Dodger Stadium. Following the win last night, the Dodgers are now 14-8 vs. the Phillies since 2019.

TWO-FOR-ONE SPECIAL: Congratulations are in order for Clayton Kershaw and James Outman, who were announced this morning as the NL Pitcher and Rookie of the Month, respectively. Kershaw went 5-1 with a 1.89 ERA in six starts while winning five games for the first time in the season’s first month. He has tossed at least 6.0 innings in all six of his starts this season and his 38.0 innings pitched lead the NL for March/April. The future Hall of Famer posted a 0.76 WHIP and has given up just one run over his last three starts (20.0 IP) while striking out 24. This is the seventh career NL Pitcher of the Month Award for Kershaw and his first since May 2016. He previously won in July 2011, July 2013, June and July of 2014, and July 2015. He’s the sixth pitcher ever to win at least seven times, joining Roger Clemens (15), Greg Maddux (10), Randy Johnson (8), Pedro Martínez (8) and Johan Santana (8). Outman became the first Dodger rookie to win a monthly award since Cody Bellinger in May and June 2017. He hit .292 (28-for-96) with four doubles, three triples, seven home runs, 20 RBI, 11 walks, 17 run scored, four stolen bases, a .615 slugging percentage and a .376 on-base percentage. His 20 RBI during the month tied for ninth among all NL hitters and he led all rookies in homers, RBI, slugging, triples, extra-base hits (14), OPS (.991) and total bases (59) while tying for third in runs scored. The seven home runs for Outman across March/April tied for the most by a Dodgers rookie in a month since Will Smith clubbed eight home runs in August 2019. In addition, he became the first Dodgers rookie to ever hit at least six by the start of May, surpassing Alex Guerrero (five in 2015) and Joe Ferguson (five in 1973). On April 20, he became the first Dodger rookie to hit a go-ahead grand slam in the ninth inning-or-later since Andrew Toles (August 2016 at Colorado). The Cal State Sacramento product registered 32 total bases during his first 12 career games with an at-bat dating back to last season, marking the third-most by a Dodger to start his career, trailing only Yasiel Puig (34) and Bellinger (33).

STONE COLD: Prior to the game, the Dodgers selected the contract of right-handed pitcher Gavin Stone, who will make his first Major League start this afternoon against the Philadelphia Phillies. Stone was 2-2 with a 4.74 ERA (13 ER/24.2 IP) and 27 strikeouts in six starts for the Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers this season, but in his last two outings, allowed just one run over 9.2 innings while striking out 15. Last season, he was named the 2022 Dodgers Branch Rickey Pitcher of the Year after going a combined 9-6 with a 1.48 ERA (20 ER/121.2 IP) and 168 strikeouts between High-A Great Lakes, Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City. The Arkansas native has been in the Dodger system since being drafted in the 5th round of the 2020 First Year Player Draft out of the University of Central Arkansas and is a combined 13-10 with a 2.69 ERA (71 ER/237.1 IP) and 333 strikeouts in his 55 minor league games (53 starts). In order to make room for Stone on the roster, the Dodgers optioned left-handed reliever Alex Vesia to TripleA Oklahoma City.

JASON RETURNS: Dodger outfielder Jason Heyward has been on fire of late, batting .700 (7-for-10) with five runs scored, three doubles, a homer and three RBI in his last four games with a plate appearance. The Georgia native’s homer off Taijuan Walker Monday night traveled 413 feet to dead center.

PHILADELPHIA FREEDOM: Dodger outfielder David Peralta went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, a season-high four RBI, a walk and a three-run homer Monday night as he continues to torment Philadelphia. In his career Peralta is slashing .358/.400/.612 with seven homers and 28 RBI in 38 games vs. the Phillies. Among active players with 100 at-bats vs. Philly, Peralta’s .358 average ranks third, trailing just Starling Marte (.383) and teammate Mookie Betts, who has hit .360 (41-for-114) in 28 games vs. the Phillies.

LONG BALLS: The Dodgers waited until their final frame to homer, but Freddie Freeman’s fifth blast of the season gave the club an NL-best 52 home runs, four more than the San Francisco Giants. Tampa Bay leads the Majors with a whopping 62 long balls. The Dodgers have recorded 3+ homers in 10 games this season, which ranks second in baseball, trailing only the Rays (11). The Dodgers are second in the League with 24 games with at least one homer, behind the Rays (27), who have homered in all but three games this season. Dodger third baseman Max Muncy is tied with Pete Alonso and Patrick Wisdom for the most homers in the Major Leagues with 11 and ranks third with a 1.039 OPS. His 24 walks on the season are second in the Majors, trailing only Juan Soto (28).

• Arkansas native looks to make his Major League debut against the Philies

• Owns a 2-2 record across six starts with Triple-A Oklahoma City with a 4.74 ERA (13 ER/24.2 IP) with 27 strikeouts and just 12 issued walks…has limited the opposition to a .204/.295/.323 slashline

• Has registered a 9.85 strikeout-per-nine innings mark

• Was a non-roster invitee to Spring Training…went 1-0 in four appearances with a 0.00 ERA (0 ER/6.2 IP) with 14 strikeouts against only five hits and two walks, pitching against Texas (Mar. 1), San Diego (Mar. 6), Cleveland (Mar. 13) and Oakland (Mar. 19)…recorded eight strikeouts in three innings against the Athletics

• Will make his Major League debut today against Philadelphia

Fantasy Guru - Baseball

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