The Dodgers started their eight game road trip off well, taking two of three games from the Reds in Cincinnati. Cody Bellinger and Hyun-Jin Ryu continued their dominance with their bat and their pitching, respectively. The team hit some homers, and the bullpen was still a little shaky. Pretty much par for the course of what this season has been so far.
While the division was close in the beginning of the season, the Dodgers are now enjoying a 5.5 game lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks, and a 7.5 game lead over the San Diego Padres.
After an off day on Monday, the Boys in Blue will look to take on the Rays in Tampa Bay for a quick two game series. After totally dominating the AL East for the first month of the season, the Rays now sit at 27-17, just a half game behind the New York Yankees for first place. They have played those Yankees six out of their eight last games, winning only two. The Rays dropped a contentious game Sunday, 13-5, with the help of a lot of walks and some sloppy defense. Third baseman Yandy Diaz was hit in the wrist by a pitch and was diagnosed as day-to-day after X-Rays were negative. Daniel Robertson was also hit, a pitch that knocked his helmet off his head.
Tampa Bay a sweep of the Miami Marlins in a two game mini-series in between the games with the Yankees.
No one on the Rays is currently batting over .300, with second baseman Brandon Lowe having the highest average at .291 with a .909 OPS and 10 homers. Defensive great Kevin Kiermaier is having a down year with the bat, hitting only .227, and just .167 in his last seven games. He is leading the lead in triples, however.
Tommy Pham is the next best player offensively for the Rays, leading the team in hits, OBP and 31 walks.
The place the Rays really succeed is with their pitching staff, as their team ERA is a pretty sweet 2.98. In Tuesday’s matchup, the Dodgers will send Clayton Kershaw to the mound to face off against Hunter Wood. The 25-year-old righty was recently activated from the IL and has appeared in five games this season for the Rays, posting a 1-0 record with seven strikeouts over seven innings of work. He last pitched one inning against the Yankees on Friday when he gathered his win. He would most likely be slated as just an opener for the Rays and not see too many innings.
Wednesday’s starter for the Rays is yet to be announced. Rich Hill will start for the Dodgers.