Last week, we talked about how the Los Angeles Dodgers pitching staff was going to have a big test ahead of them on their current road trip. As with everything else this season, some unexpected things happened in that regard, good and bad.
The Dodgers started their trip in St. Louis, and lost the last three of that four game series. Clayton Kershaw, still dealing with his mother’s recent death, only lasted 3.2 in the finale of the series, one of the shortest outings of his entire career. Tony Gonsolin was the only one who allowed no runs that series. However, he only lasted 5.0 innings because his pitch count got too high in the process.
The bullpen had to cover at least four innings of every game in St. Louis and at some points, the west and tear definitely showed.
The Dodgers fared better in Atlanta as far as outcomes, but needed to cover 13 innings. Bobby Miller had a spectacular debut, going 5.0 innings and allowing only one run against a dangerous Braves offense.
The offense was what helped the Dodgers be in contention for the win in all of those games. They scored 42 runs across the six games, and multiple times had a chance to take the lead in the ninth.
After a much needed day off in Tampa Bay, the Dodgers now face the top team in all of baseball. The Rays are 37-15, four games better than any team in the majors.
Tampa leads the majors in home runs, runs, stolen bases, one base percentage, slugging, and OPS, all while their pitching staff is top five in the majors.
But the Dodgers may be catching a break with regards to Tampa’s pitching. On Friday, they will face left hander Jalen Beeks, who will act as an opener. He is 1-2 in 18 games with a 4.68 ERA. Right hander Cooper Criswell is then expected to handle the bulk of the innings. In 11.1 innings of work, he has allowed 10 runs and 15 hits.
Noah Syndergaard will start for the Dodgers on Friday.
Saturday will see the return of Tyler Glasnow to the Rays rotation. Glasnow has been on the injured list dealing with an oblique injury. He threw four and six innings in his first two rehab starts with the Rays Triple-A team, and the team looks for him to throw about 80-90 pitches.
The Dodgers will counter with Clayton Kershaw, who on Friday was reinstated from the bereavement list. Before the short time away from the team, Kershaw said he had been dealing with some fatigue. He said on Friday that although he did not get to throw a bullpen this week, he feels fresh and ready to go.
In the corresponding move, Tayler Scott was optioned back to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Sunday’s game will be very early for fans in the Pacific time zone, as the game starts at 8:35am there, and 11:35am in Tampa. Gavin Stone is slated to make his third big league start, and Tampa has not yet announced who their starter will be.
Before Friday’s game, the team announced that they had claimed RHP Zack Burdi off waivers from the Rays, whom they DFA’d earlier this week. Burdi has an option year left, and was a teammate of Will Smith’s at Louisville. Tyler Cyr was moved to the 60-day IL in the corresponding move.
If the offense can stay as hot as it’s been, the Dodgers have a good chance of winning two out of three from the hottest team in baseball.