Rays at Dodgers, 12:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, Fox Sports Sun
Brandon McCarthy (2-0, 1.61 ERA) makes his fifth start since his return from Tommy John surgery. He won his first two starts and has gotten no decision in the last two, despite pitching well and going at least 6 innings in each one. His opponent will be Matt Moore (6-7, 4.31 ERA), whose last four starts have also been pretty good; he’s posted a 3.00 ERA and has gone at least six innings in every start during that span.
Here’s a tidbit from a larger discussion of whether a shorter baseball season (only a few games shorter, to be sure) might make sense:
This year, the Dodgers are the kings of killing offense late in games. From the seventh through ninth innings, batters against their pitchers have hit just .190, posted a .255 OBP, struck out in 27% of their plate appearances and scored only 80 runs in 94 games.
Dave Roberts thinks Puig will be back Wednesday. Meanwhile, his shoes have offended the high-minded executives (read: guardians of shoe contracts) at MLB.
Lineup when available.
Rays at Dodgers, 7:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, Fox Sports Sun, MLBN (out-of-network only)
The visitors in this interleague matchup send Chris Archer (5-13, 4.60 ERA) to the mound to face the Dodgers’ Bud Norris (5-9, 4.56 ERA). Archer had his first quality start in a month his last time out, going six innings while giving up two runs on four hits. This will be his first career start against the Dodgers. He and his team haven’t done well in his starts recently: “The Rays are 2-10 in Archer’s last 12 starts, and he owns a 4.74 ERA in 74 innings with opponents hitting .248 against him over that stretch.” Norris lost in relief in the 16-inning game last Friday night against the Cardinals, and he also lost his last start when he gave up six runs on seven hits to the Nats July 20.
Yasiel Puig is still suffering from a sore hamstring and Roberts suggested he may have to go on the 15-day DL if he’s not back today. He’s not in the lineup but there’s been no Twitter announcement of his de-activation.
One hundredth game of the year? Really?
Dodgers at Cardinals, 5:08PM PT, TV: ESPN
Wily veteran Scott Kazmir (8-3, 4.30 ERA) pitches for the Dodgers in the rubber match of this three game series against a longtime (like, 1890 longtime) enemy. The Dodgers have gone 8-3 in Kazmir’s last 11 starts, and he’s had a 3.84 ERA during that stretch. The Cardinals are asking a rookie named Mike Mayers to make his ML debut tonight. He’s 8-5 with a 2.62 ERA between AA and AAA ball this season, so he’s not chum thrown to the sharks.
A tale of two pitching staffs: Mayers will be the sixth starter for the Cardinals all season long. The Dodgers have used a dozen.
Lineup when available.
It’s Van Slyke’s birthday, so of course he gets the day off.
Dodgers at Cardinals, 4:15PM PT, TV: SPNLA, FS-M
Kenta Maeda (8-7, 3.25 ERA) tries to bounce back from a poor start his last time out against the D-Backs in which he gave up five runs in 4 1/3 innings. He’ll face Mike Leake (7-7, 4.00 ERA), who has won his last two starts.
Also: “Dodgers have recalled RHP Ross Stripling from Triple-A Oklahoma City and optioned LHP Grant Dayton to OKC.”
Lineup when available.
Dodgers at Cardinals, 5:15PM PT, TV: SPNLA, FS-M
Brandon McCarthy (2-0, 1.69 ERA) has come back from TJ surgery much more strongly than I expected. Tonight he’s up against Michael Wacha (5-7, 4.45 ERA), whose 2016 season has been disappointing after his outstanding 2015 one.
JT is having much too much fun with Animal, who thinks the Dodgers need a drummer:
Video deleted as it kept restarting randomly.
Lineup when available.
Dodgers at Nationals, 9:05AM PT, TV: SPNLA, MASN 2, MLBN (out-of-market only)
The Dodgers’ rotation injuries have forced them to bring young Julio Urias (1-2, 4.95 ERA) back up from AAA OKC, where he’s only thrown one inning since he was sent down on July 5. He’ll have an easy task in front of him; keep the Dodgers in the game against Stephen Strasburg, who’s 13-0 on the year with a 2.51 ERA.
Somebody post the lineup in the comments when it’s published.
Dodgers at Nationals, 4:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, MASN-2
Bud Norris (5-7, 4.17 ERA) will make his fourth start for the Dodgers; he’s given up seven runs in 16 innings in the first three. He’ll face Gio Gonzalez (5-8, 4.70 ERA), whose July has been an improvement over his June; in his last start he went 5 2/3 innings against the Mets and gave up two runs, the fewest he’d allowed in any start since May.
Rumors have it the Dodgers are hunting a front-line pitcher like the Rays’ Chris Archer, now that Kershaw’s return is delayed, Ryu is back on the DL and Alex Wood’s elbow needed surgery which puts him out for eight weeks.
The team is obviously very highly-strung as we head down the stretch of the season:
Dodgers at Nationals, 4:05PM PT, TV: SPNLA, MASN 2, MLB.TV free game
Scott Kazmir (7-3, 4.52 ERA) tries to improve on his last outing when he went only three innings and threw 85 pitches. His opponent will be the Nats’ #5 prospect (per MLB.Pipeline.com), RHP Reynaldo Lopez, who’s making his MLB debut this evening. He put up a 3.19 ERA in 16 starts in the minors this season.
The Dodgers activated Joc Pederson from the DL on Tuesday, so expect to see him back in center field. The Nationals expect to get Daniel Murphy back into their starting lineup. Also, the Dodgers have put Fein and Ryu on the 15-day DL.
Dodgers at Diamondbacks, 1:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, FS-A
The Dodgers ask Kenta Maeda (8-6, 2.95 ERA) to win the rubber match of the series. The last time he faced the D-Backs in Chase Field he was hit on the leg by a line drive off Paul Goldschmidt’s bat and had to leave the game. He’ll face Robbie Ray (4-8, 4.81 ERA). Ray is on a downslope; he’s lost three of his last four starts and hasn’t won since June 17. He has pitched reasonably well against the Dodgers in his career, putting up a 2.40 ERA in five career starts against them.
Not that we need to be reminded, but
Goldschmidt’s homer on Friday night was his 24th against the Dodgers since he debuted on Aug. 1, 2011. That’s 11 more than any other player against L.A. in that span. His 71 RBIs against the Dodgers are also the most in that stretch.
This will be Puig’s first start in center field since the last game of the 2014 season. In possibly related news, Joc Pederson is expected to make his final rehab start with OKC today and be reactivated for Tuesday’s game in DC.
Dodgers at Diamondbacks, 5:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, FS-A
Brandon McCarthy (2-0, 2.70 ERA) makes his third start of the season. He’s gone five innings in each of his first two since recovering and rehabilitating from Tommy John surgery. His opponent is Archie Bradley (3-5, 4.64 ERA), who lost to the Dodgers in his only start against them this season on June 14 in Phoenix, pitching four scoreless innings then giving up five runs in the next 1 2/3 innings.
Fun fact: Since the start of 2013, the Dodgers own the best record in baseball after the All-Star break at 126-79 entering Friday. Next was Kansas City at 127-87.
Trayce Thompson goes to the 15-day DL with lower back irritation, Zach Walters comes up. Ethier’s leg isn’t healed, but he’s going to up his workout level anyway. From Dave Roberts, this statement sounds ominous:
“Because it’s not healed completely, we really don’t have a timetable. It’ll be healed at some point, but this season to hope and expect it to be pain-free is something that’s maybe too optimistic. Andre wants to be back and he’ll do whatever he can to be back.”
Late addition: Tim Kurkjian screws up on SportsCenter, picks Orel Hershiser as his player to watch in the second half of the season.