The Los Angeles Dodgers have reached the final leg of their road trip with the start of a three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.
After Clayton Kershaw’s superb outing on Thursday to halt a four-game losing streak, the Dodgers sit 1.5 games back of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League West. They are 4-6 in their last 10 games.
Michael Grove was the scheduled starter but he’s first going to follow Victor González. The left-handed relief pitcher is making a third career start. González previously made one start in both the 2020 and 2021 seasons.
For Grove it’s his first relief appearance and sixth overall game this season. On the year he’s 0-2 with an 8.14 ERA and 1.52 WHIP in 21 innings pitched.
However, Grove’s ERA is largely inflated due to a poor outing against the Arizona Diamondbacks on April 9, and allowing a pair of two-run homers to the New York Yankees’ Jake Bauers in four innings pitched his last time out.
That same start saw Grove record seven strikeouts with dominant swing-and-miss stuff that included increased velocities on his fastball and slider.
The Dodgers need Grove to step into a semi-regular role in the starting rotation, with Noah Syndergaard landing on the IL.
He faces a Phillies team that is on a five-game winning streak but still just 5-5 in their last 10, producing a collective 93 wRC+ over that stretch. They’ve struggled with limiting strikeouts on the season, ranking ninth in Major League Baseball with a 24% strikeout rate.
Ranger Suárez goes for the Phillies, making his sixth start of the year. The lefty owns a 5.47 ERA and 1.54 WHIP, with just 20 strikeouts across 24.2 innings.
Suárez is coming off his best performance of the season after tossing seven innings against the Washington Nationals, allowing one run on eight hits. He posted only three strikeouts, however, relying on a decent amount of poor contact.
The Dodgers lineup has fared well against lefties this season, which is quite the change from prior years, posting a collective 120 wRC+. In what they have lacked in the batting average department, they’ve picked up in slugging with an MLB-best 36 homers against left-handed pitching.
Miguel Rojas is back in the Dodgers lineup after coming out of Wednesday’s game and missing the series finale at Great American Ball Park because of neck tightness.
Miguel Vargas enters play on a six-game hitting streak.
RF: Mookie Betts
1B: Freddie Freeman
C: Will Smith
DH: J.D. Martinez
3B: Max Muncy
LF: Chris Taylor
2B: Miguel Vargas
CF: Jonny DeLuca
SS: Miguel Rojas
LF: Kyle Schwarber
RF: Nick Castellanos
DH: Bryce Harper
SS: Trea Turner
C: J.T. Realmuto
2B: Bryson Stott
CF: Brandon Marsh
1B: Kody Clemens
3B: Edmundo Sosa
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