Dodgers Vs. Rangers Game Preview: Mookie Betts Returns To Right Field; Corey Seager Faces Former Teammates

The Los Angeles Dodgers have reached the final leg of their season-long road trip with the start of a three-game series against the Texas Rangers. It’s the Dodgers’ first visit to Globe Life Field since winning the 2020 World Series there.

Awaiting the Dodgers are the first-place Rangers who currently hold a four-game lead in the American League West. After a disappointing 2021 season, the Rangers are an improved club despite losing Jacob deGrom, and led by four-time All-Star Corey Seager.

Now in his second full season with the Rangers, the 29-year-old is batting .346/.408/.615 with 28 doubles, 14 home runs and 57 RBI over 65 games this year. Once Seager logs enough plate appearances to qualify, he’ll lead the AL in batting average.

The gap left by the Dodgers not re-signing Seager in free agency continues to be a perplexing reality that a homegrown shortstop, coming off a World Series MVP performance, was allowed to leave. Placing faith in Trea Turner the following season proved to be fleeting, as he signed with the Philadelphia Phillies.

While Seager played against the Dodgers during Spring Training, which included hitting a home run off Clayton Kershaw, this weekend is his first time facing his former teammates since leaving in free agency.

As for who Seager and the Rangers are facing, Tony Gonsolin takes the ball for his 15th start of the season. Carrying a 3.72 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and .196 batting average allowed, the right-hander is still trying to string good starts together.

Gonsolin allowed just one run on two hits against the New York Mets his last time out, but in four starts prior to that, he was charged with 19 earned runs in 21 innings pitched. Outside of Noah Syndergaard, Gonsolin’s 4.88 expected ERA ranks as the highest on the staff.

His down season compared to years past has caused some frustration, and against the Rangers it won’t get any easier, as they’ve logged a 119 wRC+ against righties.

The Rangers have another familiar face taking the mound in Andrew Heaney. The lefty makes his 19th start of the season, having posted a 4.43 ERA, 1.34 WHIP and .244 batting average against.

Heaney’s prior three starts have been up and down. He posted bookend shutouts against the Houston Astros and Cleveland Guardians, sandwiched between him allowing seven earned runs in three innings to the Washington Nationals.

The Dodgers have been an above average versus southpaws, owning a combined 111 wRC+ as a team. An overwhelming plus for the Dodgers lineup is their 11.4% walk-rate in those matchups, which is the best in baseball.

Heaney has walked 3.65 batters per nine innings, which could prove to be a catalyst in the Dodgers forcing him into tough spots.

With a southpaw on the mound, Mookie Betts is back to playing right field for the first time since July 8. Yonny Hernández is starting at second base, and Jonny DeLuca plays center field.

Jason Heyward and David Peralta are both on the bench as the Dodgers stick to their platoons.

Dodgers lineup

RF: Mookie Betts
1B: Freddie Freeman
C: Will Smith
DH: J.D. Martinez
LF: Chris Taylor
3B: Max Muncy
CF: Jonny DeLuca
SS: Miguel Rojas
2B: Yonny Hernández

Rangers lineup

2B: Marcus Semien
SS: Corey Seager
1B: Nathaniel Lowe
RF: Adolis García
3B: Josh Jung
C: Jonah Heim
LF: Travis Jankowski
DH: Ezequiel Duran
CF: Leody Taveras

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