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
Tonight's Dodger lineup vs. Twins:
Maeda P pic.twitter.com/T6EOKrZE6O
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) July 25, 2017
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