It’s hard to lose when a player on your team hits three home runs. It’s even harder when that player isn’t one of your top players — no offense to A.J. Pollock. But that’s exactly what happened in last night’s 5-4 loss to the Giants.
Aside from the outcome of the game, it was nice to see Pollock get his. Since returning from injury after the All-Star break, he’s hitting .297/.354/.588 in 42 games (35 starts). This is more of the player the Dodgers thought they were getting when they signed him to a four-year, $55 million deal this past winter.
A recent move to left field should probably help his defensive metrics, too. He posted -8 defensive runs saved and a -20.3 UZR/150. Now, single-season (not even a full season’s worth of) defensive metrics aren’t the most accurate indicator if a player has fallen off defensively, but Pollock doesn’t exactly pass the eye test out there. It’s funny because he hasn’t lost much when it comes to running. His 90-foot sprint speed is 3.93 seconds — exactly what it was in 2018. Maybe his longer-distance speed is down, but he can still run at an above-average rate. Fortunately, the Dodgers have a couple capable options in center field (Cody Bellinger, Chris Taylor) who can handle center, while the Dodgers have a former plus-defensive center fielder playing left field.
Tony Gonsolin is getting his first crack at the Giants tonight. Since being installed in into the starting rotation on Aug. 5, he has done quite well: 1.80 ERA, 3.81 FIP and a 13.0 K-BB%. The ERA is great, but the other numbers aren’t as dominant. And if you believe in xFIP, SIERA and DRA, you’ll see that he’s gotten a bit lucky in this 20-inning sample size. You could also deduce that from his unsustainably low BABIP (.189) and his unsustainbly high 92.1 strand rate (LOB% — Justin Verlander’s 90.1 leads MLB).
This is more to keep expectations in check rather than to crap all over him. Gonsolin is a quality pitching prospect who’s probably going to make the postseason roster. And odds are, he’s only going to get better as he pitches at the MLB level. He has the stuff to do so. It’s hard to remember he’s only been pitching full-time for a handful of years.
A couple pieces of news before the Dodgers look to get back on track.
Max Muncy has resumed playing catch with the right wrist that was fractured.— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) September 7, 2019
When Max Muncy fractured his wrist, it was bad news for the Dodgers. But, it seems like he’s going to back before the playoffs and, in theory, should be ready for the playoffs. This is great news because Muncy is one of the key cogs in the Dodgers’ lineup and having him back makes them an even more dangerous squad. He should be back on Friday.
Roberts concedes “there’s a learning curve” with a rookie catcher like Will Smith. “We’re in a little bit of a funk with the starters,” Roberts said.— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) September 7, 2019
This is always a concern when installing a rookie catcher — especially into the season — but Smith will get there. And, honestly, it isn’t all his fault that the starters have struggled of late (5.54 ERA since Aug. 26).