Series Preview: Dodgers and Rangers Square-Off In Important Inter-league Tilt

The Dodgers got a must needed (mandatory?) sweep against the Padres at home. They travel to Texas to take on the Texas Rangers for a quick two-game series starting Tuesday, August 28th. This will be their first rematch since the home plate collision that got Matt Kemp suspended a game. Let’s break down the pitching match-ups and some of the players to watch offensively.

Jun 13, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers left fielder Matt Kemp (27) runs into Texas Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos (61) in the third inning at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday, August 28th

Walker Buehler vs. Ariel Jurado

In his last three starts, Walker Buehler has pitched 20 innings and posted 23 strikeouts WITH A .45 ERA. That’s astounding and definitely a bright spot for our Dodgers this year. He is showing why the front office sees him as the future of our pitching staff.

Ariel Jurado in his last three starts has pitched 16.2 innings with an ugly 8.64 ERA and only five strikeouts. He has a 6.40 ERA for the year which also isn’t pretty. Dodger fans reading this may automatically groan and react, because to the eye test the Dodgers do tend to make mediocre pitchers look very good. That said and with all due respect to Ariel Jurado, his numbers don’t describe a mediocre pitcher; they describe a poor one. Look for the Dodgers to jump on the righty early. He throws a sinker, a slider, and mixes in the occasional changeup.

Wednesday, August 29th

Alex Wood vs. Mike Minor

In Alex Wood’s last three starts he has thrown 15 innings with a 3.00 ERA, posting 14 strikeouts in there. In his last start vs St. Louis, he lasted just four innings on 71 pitches before Dave Roberts pulled him. He gave up 7 hits and 3 earned runs. This wasn’t his worst outing nor his best outing. In the 2 outings before that he only gave up 1 run. For the most part he seems to have capture some of his 2017 magic back.

Mike Minor has pitched 18 innings in his last three starts posting a 2.41 ERA with 12 strikeouts. In his last start he held the torrid A’s to one hit in six innings. The lefty has six total career starts agains the Dodgers, and in those starts he’s 1-2 with an impressive 2.56 ERA. He will be no minor (pun absolutely intended) task for the Dodgers.

Players To Watch For On Offense

For the Dodgers, I think there’s 3 players to look at getting hot in the Texas heat. The first two are Brian Dozier and Manny Machado. Both guys are new additions to Dodger blue–and both came from the American League just weeks ago. They’re acclimated to American league pitching, and have posted more plate appearances in Arlington. Due to this, they’re more conditioned to hitting in that park and things like the view of the batting eye. Against Minor, Dozier is 3 for 7 and Manny is 1 for 2. The hit that Manny has vs. Minor is a dinger.

The third player to keep an eye on is the red-hot Justin Turner. ‘JT’ posted five RBI’s in the final game of the Padres series, to make nine for the series total. He’s hitting .435 in his last 15 games with an absurd .507 on-base percentage and .806 slugging line. When Justin Turner gets hot, he really gets hot.

Final Thoughts

At this point, we have to say EVERY series is a must win. With two games an Arlington, Dodger fans have to hope to win both, or at the very, VERY least win one. The Rangers are last in the AL west with a 58-74 record. For the Dodgers to reach the playoffs, it should be expected they beat last place teams. Let’s hope they show some more offensive consistency to back their stellar starting pitching.

The Black-out at Chavez Ravine

AJ Gonzalez

AJ is a lifelong Dodgers and Lakers fan who grew up in California. His whole family is also lifelong Dodgers fans. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, two kids, his guitars, and beagle Kobe.

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