The Reds head to Dodger Stadium to begin a three game series Friday. They’ll meet a first place team with a 58-43 record, though one they were able to handle earlier in the year. In a three game series at GABP, the Reds won two, partially due to the spark of Elly De La Cruz, who was promoted at the beginning of the series.
Friday, 10:10 PM EST
Saturday, 9:10 PM EST
Sunday, 4:10 PM EST
The Dodgers enter the weekend with the fourth best offense in the Majors with a 115 wRC+. While they’re middle of the pack in strikeout rate, they make up for it by ranking second in the league with a 10.8% walk rate. They’re near the bottom of the league with just 58 steals, though their 166 HR are second to Atlanta.
Here is a look at the Dodgers’ offense:
They’re led by two standout hitters in Freddie Freeman and Mookie Betts, who each rank among the league’s best. JD Martinez provides a steady veteran presence, while fellow veteran Jason Heyward is in the midst of a nice rebound season.
Missing from the above chart is the recently acquired Amed Rosario, who figures to take some playing time from Miguel Rojas at shortstop, and potentially some time at second base as well. Rosario is having a bit of a down year with an 86 wRC+, but still mashes LHP to the tune of a 126 wRC+. That down year allowed the Dodgers to land Rosario in exchange for SP Noah Syndergaard, who was having a down year as well.
The Dodgers don’t have a ton of offensive holes, with just Austin Barnes, another recent acquisition in Enrique Hernandez, and the aforementioned Rosario and Rojas providing a wRC+ below 96. Barnes profiles similarly to the Reds’ Curt Casali in that his impact is less quantifiable. He’s a strong defensive catcher and has a reputation of being a good game caller that works well with the pitching staff, particularly ace Clayton Kershaw.
The Reds will face a trio of rookie right handers this weekend. Here are the matchups:
Friday: Brandon Williamson vs. Bobby Miller
Saturday: Luke Weaver vs. Emmet Sheehan
Sunday: Graham Ashcraft vs. Michael Grove
The Reds are fortunate to miss Clayton Kershaw, who’s currently on the IL, the only non-rookie Dodgers starter that’s shown consistent success this year. They’ll also miss the experienced Julio Urías and Tony Gonsolin, each of whom have shown ups and downs this year.
Here is a look at the Dodgers’ bullpen and each of the three starters for this weekend.
The Dodgers’ bullpen ranks middle of the pack in ERA, but has the sixth best FIP and ranks 10th in xFIP this season. They generate strikeouts at a 24.3% clip, ranking 11th in the league, while their 9.0% BB rate is the 10th best in the league.
The left handed relievers in particular, Alex Vesia and Caleb Ferguson, have struggled a bit with walks this year, walking over 10% each. That could play a bit into the benefit of the Reds’ LH bats if they are forced to face a LH reliever, as they could be patient and try to work a walk rather than trying to hit them.
Any time a team is tasked with taking down a first place team, it will always be a tough ask. Still, this is a team the Reds were able to hang with back in June, and they’ll look to take another series victory and head into Chicago on Monday with some momentum.
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