The Dodgers continue their homestand Tuesday with a brief two-game series with the Rangers. Up until the middle of May, these two teams were both ten games under .500 and at the bottom of their respective divisions.
With 10 players currently on the disabled list, the Dodgers have somehow managed to turn their season around by winning 17 of the last 23 games. The same cannot be said for a Texas team that has lost seven of the last 10 and has slipped to 16 games back in the American League West.
In a league full of strikeouts, the Rangers’ offense leads the way with 658 in 68 games — nearly 10 per game. Couple that with the Dodgers’ pitching striking out the fourth most in all of baseball (625) and it’s easy to see how the Dodgers might hold an advantage.
The Rangers’ pitching staff ranks 27th in baseball with only 489 strikeouts.
To this point in the season, Texas has ranked as the worst defense in baseball. As a team, they’ve made 54 errors for a .979 fielding percentage that has resulted in 36 unearned runs, by far the most in baseball.
Texas pitching is top five in runs allowed per game, hits allowed, home runs and hit batters (45!).
Over the Dodgers 17-6 run, they’ve hit 43 homers and have scored nearly six runs per game, which has helped overcome the injuries to the pitching staff and an overworked bullpen.
One oddity of this series is that the Rangers have the oldest average age for pitchers in the major leagues at 31.6. Texas will start their two oldest on the mound over the next two nights.
Tuesday, 7:10 p.m. PT (SportsNet LA)
In his 21st major league season, Bartolo Colon will toe the rubber at the amazing age of 45. The right-hander is 2-1 with a 3.16 ERA in five starts on the road in 2018 despite giving up six runs over three innings in Anaheim earlier in June.
Overall, the big man has struck out 45 while walking only 10 in 13 games (11 starts).
The Dodgers will turn to lefty Caleb Ferguson for his second major league start. Ferguson’s debut didn’t go all that well as he didn’t make it out of the second inning. When all was said and done, the 21-year-old would be charged with four runs on two hits, three walks and two hit batters.
Wednesday, 7:10 p.m. PT (SportsNet LA, MLB Network out-of-market)
Cole Hamels will make his first start against the Dodgers since 2014 as a member of the Phillies. The 34-year-old lefty owns a 3-2 record with a 1.89 ERA lifetime against the Dodgers but he is 0-2 with a 3.32 since 2012.
Hamels has plunked 10 batters this season to lead the league and has given up five runs in two of his last three starts.
Kenta Maeda is expected to return from the DL after coming out of his last start with an ailing right hip. The right-hander had been building momentum until the injury, allowing just four hits and no runs in 14 2⁄3 innings in the previous two starts while striking out 20.