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Perfect Strangers: Dodgers and Twins Face Hurlers They’ve Never Seen Before

Kenta Maeda

The Dodgers and Twins will do battle for the second game of their three game series on Tuesday evening. Meanwhile the Dodgers have received positive news on the back injury to Clayton Kershaw. It is not the same injury that he suffered in 2016 and apparently there is no damage to the herniated disc he injured last season. According to the reports from Kershaw’s MRI, he has a basic lower back strain. The 4-6 week timetable for return seems reasonable. My guess is Kershaw returns in September, but this is probably the best news we could have hoped for.

The Dodgers are still rumored to be looking for another starting pitcher and they better get one soon. Not because there is any danger of them losing the divisional race. After all they have an 11.5 game lead in the NL West right now and the best record in MLB. They will need an additional starter for the postseason since there is no way the Dodgers can count on any of their four fifth inning strugglers (Rich Hill, Brandon McCarthy, Hyun-jin Ryu, Kenta Maeda) to pitch effectively deep into a postseason game.

Dodgers vs. Minnesota

Dodger Lineup

Jose Berrios-9-3 vs. Kenta Maeda-8-4

Game Time – 7:10 PM- TV-SNLA

To be fair Hill has been pitching much better the last month or so. However McCarthy is currently on the disabled list with a blister and Ryu turned in another mediocre performance on Monday night. He was unable to pitch past the fifth inning again. Maeda will return to the rotation and toe the rubber tonight. Can you guess how many innings he’ll pitch? I’ll give you a hint, it rhymes with jive, you turkeys.

Maeda hasn’t been terrible in 2017 (8-4 4.23 ERA 8.7 K/9 1.193 WHIP), but he’s not the same pitcher he was last year. In 2016 he was the Dodger’s rotation rock. This year he’s been up and down. He’s allowing more hits and striking out less this year than in 2016. That is something concerning.

Maeda has never faced the Twins but does have a 3-2 record and a 3.48 ERA in 6 career interleague starts. Maeda has had some issue in July, posting a 4.61 ERA and only a 5.9 K/9 rate in three starts. Maeda generally has trouble in the first innings, allowing a .311 opposing batting average against and posting an 8.41 ERA.

The Twins will send 23-year old Puerto Rican right hander Jose Berrios to the mound to counter. Berrios was drafted by the Twins in the first round of the 2012 draft. He made 14 starts for the Twins in his debut season last year. This season he’s been one of their best pitchers. Through 13 starts he’s posted a 9-3 record and a 3.50 ERA. He’s struck out 75 and walked 24 across 79.2 innings pitched. He’s got an 8.5 K/9 rate and has posted a 3.97 FIP while allowing 7.7 hits per nine innings.

Berrios mainly throws a four-seamer in the mid 90’s a sinker, curve and occasional change-up. When pitching in Minnesota he has a 5-1 record with a 2.61 ERA. However pitching on the road sees his earned run average jump to 4.46. Although his K/9 rate stays the same no matter where he pitches. Fortunately the game is a night game since Berrios sports a perfect 6-0 record during the day.

The usual lineup will face Berrios with the exception of Chase Utley playing second base in place of Logan Forsythe. Utley will bat seventh. Cody Bellinger will hit cleanup and Yasmani Grandal bats fifth. Joc Pederson is slotted behind Grandal in the six-hole.

The Dodgers are going for their 70 win of the season. This would probably be the earliest they have ever won 70 games in a season. Check out the standings in the NL West, and enjoy the game tonight. First pitch is scheduled for the usual 7:10 PM start.

National League West Standings

69 31 .690 42-13 27-18 8-2
57 42 .576 11.5 35-17 22-25 4-6
58 43 .574 11.5 31-19 27-24 6-4
43 56 .434 25.5 24-24 19-32 5-5
38 63 .376 31.5 20-29 18-34 3-7

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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Scott Andes
Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

16 thoughts on “Perfect Strangers: Dodgers and Twins Face Hurlers They’ve Never Seen Before

  1. It’s going to be a struggle. Our hitters usually gets shut out by rookies.

    The thing about trading for a starter that can go 6+ is that it helps save our bullpen. I certainly hope Roberts, Honeycutt and the FAZ understand that. Trading for relief helps but they will all have innings on their arms too and it piles up unless the starters buckle in and step up.

    1. Trust me, Roberts has no say in whether they trade or not. It is all on Friedman, Zaidi and the owners. Any big salary, the owners need to approve. They pretty much leave the player part of it to the GM, who is Zaidi. He is the one doing the actual negotiation and Freidman looking over his shoulder saying either yay or nay. They might even stay in house and trust Stewart with a few starts. He took batting practice yesterday. They have 2 guys with MLB experience at AAA. Masterson and Font, so they are options too. The dominos are falling already, another went today when Swarzak was traded by the White Sox to the Brewers, and it is going to heat up even more over the next 6 days.

  2. Taylor and Puig show today.

    We need innings eaters to save our bullpen. We have a 10 game lead, let’s get Masterson, Font or whoever can go 6 innings in there and let the chips fall where they may. Let the defense play. I’d take a 5 ERA if they can go 7. Who’s to say our 3 ERA dudes wontvget another 2 hanged on them from innings 6 and 7? Let’s find out. Take a few blowouts on the chin if we must. The starters have to step up.

  3. I love the 3-inning save.

    Is Gonzalez on the 60 day? I don’t know how the team creates room for Font if he is.

    Pretty nice when you can roll out four shutout innings in two nights from the 19th and 20th guys on your pitching staff.

    1. Yes, and this allowed us to win the division last year after the epic SF meltdown.

      Different situation this year and we don’t/shouldn’t need more than 1 of Maeda/Ryu/McCarthy/Stewart/Stripling in the postseason. I’d put resting the bullpen as more of a priority. Let’s use up the back end starters now. No need to save their pitch counts. They need to step up.

      And the 3 inning saves are a good idea but you need a 3+run lead. If it’s a 1 run game we’d have gone to the regular bullpen again. That’s not a real solution. The solution is to get our depth to step up and perform, and take a shelling like a man if that’s what happens. I’d have rolled out Maeda another inning, but at this point so close to Kershaw’s injury I can see what Roberts is thinking. To build some positive momentum. I would very much want to see him test the starters more in August. Or starting next week.

      1. YF,

        Wouldn’t you say the team has enough “positive momentum” as it is?

        Also, I just like the 3-inning save. Not as an idea, necessarily, but as a quirky, rare thing.

    2. No, Agon can be moved to the 60. So can Hatcher and Gutierrez, or better yet, DFA that twosome. We will need their slots soon anyway. And keep Taylor in the five hole. Get him more RBIs and Cody less walks.

  4. Willie Calhoun. Ho-hum…..3/5 with his 23rd HR s

    Hard to believe his offense is not good enough to help offset any defensive deficiencies he might have.

    Calhoun has half as many home runs as strikeouts in AAA at age 22 (23:46). Joey Votto (26:52) is the only major leaguer with more than 3 HR that has done that in 2017. Strangely, Mike Moustakas is the closest to matching the feat (29:62)

    1. I’ve liked Calhoun from the beginning. Sax was horrid at 2B when he came up but Lasorda made it work. But I do think he has greatest value as a trade piece to the AL.

      1. I’d like to see him go to Oakland where he would be playing right away. The problem as I see it – if a guy on the DL cost us 3 top prospects, what would Sonny Gray cost? Yankees want Gray and Alonzo. They might get both for less than what we would give up for Gray. Go get ’em FAZrest Gump.

        1. The only answer is to give them JOC….. Just kidding all the people here who have a crush on JOC and see him with veiled eyes…..

          1. Like I said yesterday, and you probably missed it. The A’s really covet a 18 year old CF the Yanks have in their system. Joc might be a little long in the tooth for them. Joc as he is right now is probably middle of the pack as CF’s go. His average has never been all that, and this year the power numbers are down. He has not let this affect his fielding though as last night showed. I don’t have veiled eyes when I look at Joc. What I see is a 25 year old in his 3rd year. I have seen plenty of 25 year old guys in their 3rd year who were a lot worse. But potential is just that until you take that potential and succeed.

          1. Michael makes a good point. I’ve read the same thing he has – the Yankees likely want Gray more than we do and they may be close to a deal.

    The game was delayed for 18 minutes in the sixth when Roberts protested a double-switch by Twins manager Paul Molitor. The umpires huddled and forced Molitor to remove left fielder Eddie Rosario. Then they went to the headsets to check with MLB headquarters in New York to make sure they had interpreted the rule properly.
    Roberts said the umpires told him reliever Ryan Pressly entered the game in the fifth spot where Rosario was batting, but Rosario had remained in the game.
    Molitor said plate umpire Lance Barrett misunderstood where he wanted his reliever in the batting order.
    “There was obvious miscommunication when I went out there to make the double-switch,” Molitor said. “What I think I said and what he thought he heard were two different things.”

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