This is not earth shattering news, but hitting with two strikes is very, very difficult. In the National League this season, batters with two strikes are hitting .175/.244/.261, meaning pitchers have batters at their mercy once they get strike two. National League batters without two strikes are hitting a robust .322/.386/.511 this season.
The Dodgers have fared pretty well as a staff with two strikes. Only the Braves and Padres have gotten two strikes on more batters, and the Dodgers have held batters to a .163/.248/.225 once they get strike two, the fifth best opponent's OPS in the league.
A few notes about pitchers with two strikes:
- National League batters have struck out in 40.1% of the plate appearances in which they have two strikes. Dodgers pitchers have struck out 43.3% of the hitters with two strikes.
- Kenley Jansen has struck out 27 of the 43 hitters (55.1%) on which he has gotten two strikes
- Chad Billingsley has struck out 29 of the 72 hitters (40.2%) on which he has gotten two strikes
- Clayton Kershaw has struck out 34 of his 65 hitters (52.3%) with two strikes, but also allowed the Dodgers' only 0-2 home run, to Adam LaRoche.
- Batters against Scott Elbert with two strikes are 8-for-18 with a double and five strikeouts (22.7%), including 5-for-9 with an 0-2 count.
- Javy Guerra has struck out 16 of the 31 hitters (51.6%) he has faced with two strikes, but has also allowed three walks and nine hits, including a double and a triple, for a killer .750 batting average on balls in play (9-for-12).
For the first time in six days the Dodgers are playing a night game, as they are back in Los Angeles to host the San Francisco Giants for three games. Ted Lilly has allowed four earned runs in four starts so far this season, and since the beginning of last August is 8-4 with a 1.79 ERA in 15 starts, with 29 unintentional walks and 79 strikeouts in 95 innings.
Barry Zito began his season with the rarest of rare feats, a complete game shutout at Coors Field, and has allowed just eight runs (six earned runs) in his last four starts. Zito has 13 walks and 15 strikeouts in 30 2/3 innings, but has still managed a 1.76 ERA so far.
Zito made two appearances against the Dodgers last season, both at Dodger Stadium. He allowed three runs in six innings on April 3, then allowed two runs in a one-inning relief appearance on September 22. In both games, he allowed a two-run home run to Matt Kemp.
Kemp was held out of Sunday's starting lineup with a tight left hamstring, and from the tone of the postgame reports yesterday it isn't a given that Kemp will return to the lineup tonight.
"He doesn't want to miss 15 days and then take 10 days to get back in the swing of it," manager Don Mattingly said, per Jim Peltz of the Los Angeles Times. "He won't be back out there until he's basically able to say, 'I'm running pain-free, I don't feel anything.'"
"I'm going to be honest with them if it doesn't feel good," Kemp said. "Probably about two years ago I would have said, 'I can play and it doesn't hurt,' and maybe have injured myself more."
Ivan DeJesus Jr. has been reinstated from the disabled list and simultaneously optioned to Triple A Albuquerque. DeJesus was already with the Isotopes four four games, going 2-for-13 during that span while playing second base and third base, but that was technically a rehab assignment, during which time DeJesus earned both major league service time and his major league salary.
Both DeJesus and Justin Sellers are infielders on the 40-man roster, and neither were in the starting lineup today for Albuquerque. We will know more later today about the status of Jerry Hairston Jr., who strained his left hamstring Sunday, and Juan Uribe, who was scheduled to see a specialist regarding his left wrist in Los Angeles this morning.
Game Time: 7:10 p.m.
TV: Prime Ticket