The Dodgers begln the first of 13 straight games against NL West teams. They start with the Padres. More specifically, they start with Eric Lauer, a pitcher who has flat-out owned the Dodgers in his brief MLB career
The 24-year-old southpaw owns a career 1.72 ERA against LA. Normally, “player vs. team” splits don’t mean a whole lot, but Lauer has faced many of the same players last season and this season, and this season, he has allowed just five runs in 17 innings against the Dodgers. But how does he do it?
Lauer has thrown his cut fastball 29.4 percent of the time and limits opponents to an exit velocity of 85.2 MPH so far in his career. With a .294 wOBA against cutters, it’s the pitch the Dodgers struggle most against. Not only that, he throws his four-seam fastball just 40.2 percent of the time. The Dodgers are the second-most productive team in baseball against heaters, so it’s only natural Lauer would use his cut fastball a bit more against LA, even if it’s his worst pitch. Perhaps tonight is the night the Dodgers get to Lauer.
Seager and the first pitch
I saw a lot of griping from Dodger Twitter over the weekend about Corey Seager and his perceived lack of patience at the plate.
Look, I get that it’s frustrating when a player swings at a first pitch and it doesn’t result in a positive result, but Seager has made a career of swinging at the first pitch. He’s hitting .406 on the first pitch in his career. This season, he’s hitting only .333 on first pitches. It’s the lowest mark of his career, but it’s still a plenty acceptable outcome.
Don’t forget, he’s coming back from two surgical procedures last year (Tommy John, hip), and we’ve not fully seen Seager regain his form. Once he does, folks might be begging for him to swing at the first pitch.
Vargas, Ortiz honored
If you’ve followed me on Twitter for any length of time, you’d know I’m a big Miguel Vargas fan. It’s nice to see him having such success at just age 19. He hit .556/.571/.926 in six games. Five of those six games saw him collect multiple hits. He could end up being a monster in the next year or two.
Robinson Ortiz has struggled a bit in his first taste of full-season ball, but he showed this past week why he could be one of the more interesting pitching prospect in the organization. He allowed just one run in 14 innings last week. A strong finish could do him some good heading into the 2020 season.