Royals Vs. Dodgers Game Preview: Gavin Stone Squares Off Against Cole Ragans

The Los Angeles Dodgers continue with Interleague play after losing two of three to the Texas Rangers by welcoming the Kansas City Royals into town.

The Royals are playing at Dodger Stadium for the first time since 2017, when they were swept. However, the Dodgers lost two of three to the Royals at Kauffman Stadium last year.

Heading into the series opener, the Dodgers command a six-game lead over the second-place San Diego Padres in the National League West standings. That’s despite playing middling baseball over their last 10 games, during which time L.A. went 5-5.

The offense has been a rollercoaster of sorts, having an all-in approach one game, then needing to lean on the pitching staff the next. Even amid a search for consistent production from the bats, the Dodgers have done enough to maintain a clear stance as one of the better teams around Major League Baseball.

Gavin Stone takes the mound Friday night for his 13th start of the regular season. The 25-year-old has established himself as a quality piece to the starting rotation, yielding a 2.93 ERA and 1.24 WHIP while allowing a .647 on-base plus slugging percentage to opposing hitters.

Stone’s maturation this season was put on display in his prior start against the New York Yankees as he tossed a season-high 101 pitches. Lasting 5.2 innings, the right-hander worked his way around eight hits, allowing just two earned runs, notching six strikeouts.

In his last seven starts, Stone is 5-1 with a 1.90 ERA and 1.13 WHIP.

He’s being opposed by left-hander Cole Ragans, who carries a 3.08 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 98 strikeouts over 79 innings this season. The 26-year-old is in his third year and has taken a step forward in his development.

Over his last two games, Ragans allowed just two earned runs on eight hits, tallying 15 strikeouts.

Ragans has been odd in his splits, fairing much better against right-handed hitters than against lefties, who’ve racked up a .341 batting average.

The Dodgers have to contend with Bobby Witt Jr. who enters the series with 19 doubles, seven triples, 11 home runs, 50 RBI and a .943 OPS, putting him in a clear spot for an American League MVP Award run.

Dodgers lineup

SS: Mookie Betts
DH: Shohei Ohtani
1B: Freddie Freeman
C: Will Smith
RF: Teoscar Hernández
CF: Andy Pages
2B: Miguel Rojas
3B: Kiké Hernández
LF: Chris Taylor

Royals lineup

3B: Maikel Garcia
SS: Bobby Witt Jr.
1B: Vinnie Pasquantino
C: Salvador Perez
DH: Adam Frazier
2B: Nick Loftin
LF: MJ Melendez
RF: Drew Waters
CF: Kyle Isbel

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