The Dodgers (20-9) will host the Phillies (14-17) for a four-game series starting Thursday night at Dodger Stadium. It’s the first of seven games these two clubs will play over the next 11 days, with the Dodgers heading to Philadelphia next weekend.
Los Angeles will be looking to move on from dropping two of three to the Pirates this week as they open an eight-game homestand.
Philly hasn’t won a series at Dodger Stadium since 2014, with the Dodgers winning 15 of the 20 games since the start of 2015.
This Phillies team has been a pile of mediocre out of the gate, giving up 4.23 runs per game as a pitching staff (10-most in baseball) but scoring 4.50 runs per game on offense (7th best in baseball).
It was always about how well the pitching was going to do for the Phillies this year because the offense figured to be stout at times. Their starting pitching ranks 16th in baseball with a 3.76 ERA as opposed to the Dodgers 1.74 as a unit. The Phillies bullpen ranks 22nd in baseball with a 4.11 ERA.
They added Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos to the mix in the offseason to bolster what could be an offense that scores in bunches. They’ve had 12 games of scoring three or less while scoring at least seven in nine of their 31 games.
Schwarber has hit seven homers this season but is hitting just .185/.285/.417 in 123 plate appearances. Castellanos hasn’t disappointed, hitting .300/.366/.509 with five homers and eight doubles. Bryce Harper has been the designated hitter in 23 of the 31 games for the Phillies.
As it’s been all year, the opponent is going to have to beat the Dodgers pitching staff to win. The Dodgers have pitched to a league best 2.14 ERA as a team this year and that bodes well for them against a Phillies team that will want to slug it out on offense.
Thursday, 7:10 p.m. PT (SportsNet LA): Tyler Anderson vs. Zack Wheeler
Anderson has already proved valuable to the Dodgers in the fifth spot of the rotation. In his first five starts this season, the lefty has yielded seven runs and is 3-0 with a 2.78 ERA, striking out 22 in 22 2/3 innings while walking only five.
Following up a year when he finished second to Corbin Burnes in NL Cy Young voting, Wheeler was off to a slow start, giving up 12 runs over 12 2/3 innings in his first three starts. But the right-hander hasn’t allowed a run in 13 2/3 innings over his last two starts. Thursday will be his first start since May 4 after being placed on COVID-19 injured list.
Friday, 7:10 p.m. PT (SportsNet LA): Clayton Kershaw vs. Kyle Gibson
Kershaw has enjoyed a strong start to his 2022 season and looks as good as he ever has numbers wise with a 4-0 record and sparkling 1.80 ERA. The lefty — of the non-claw variety — has allowed one or no runs in four of his five starts and has struck out 32 batters with only three walks. It actually took until the 71st batter faced this season for Kershaw to issue his first walk.
The Phillies this season are getting the Gibson they thought they acquired at the trade deadline last season. Philadelphia has won four of his six starts and the two losses were by one run. Gibson has allowed two or less runs in four of his six starts to the tune of a 2.94 ERA and a 136 ERA+.
Saturday, 7:10 p.m. (SportsNet LA, MLB Network): Walker Buehler vs. Ranger Suárez
The Dodgers will send Buehler out to the mound Saturday looking to ride the momentum of the previous three starts. The 27-year-old has been stingy going back to his complete-game shutout over the Diamondbacks April 25, allowing just one run in his last 21 innings.
Suárez is following up a breakout 2021 by proving he belongs in the Philly rotation. The left-hander got off to a slow start but is 3-1 with a 3.68 ERA and is coming off six scoreless against the Mariners earlier this week. With an OPS of nearly 100 points lower against left-handed pitching this season, the Suárez matchup is another opportunity to change that for the Dodgers.
Sunday, 1:10 p.m. (SportsNet LA): Julio Urías vs. Aaron Nola
Setting aside the goofy Coors debut to the season for Urias, the lefty has shown he is going to be tough to score against. Urías gave up six runs (three earned) in two innings in Colorado on April 10 and has only allowed four total in the five starts since.
Nola will already be on his eighth start of the season when he toes the slab Sunday afternoon. The Phillies have lost six of Nola’s previous seven starts, including two that saw him go seven innings each with only one run between the two starts. One of those starts was wasted when the Mets scored seven runs in the ninth for the comeback win.