(Photo credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports)
The starting pitcher who got away will be on the mound Monday night when the Los Angeles Dodgers host the Detroit Tigers in the opener of a three-game series.
The Dodgers (91-57) targeted left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez as a rotation addition at the trade deadline, with both clubs agreeing to a deal. But Rodriguez (11-8, 3.32 ERA) used his no-trade rights to void the early-August transaction and remain in Detroit.
As a No. 2 option, the Dodgers added right-hander Lance Lynn from the Chicago White Sox instead. Lynn (11-11, 5.94) will oppose Rodriguez on Monday in a unique opportunity to play out the entire drama on the field.
Since electing to remain with the Tigers for family reasons, Rodriguez has gone 5-3 with a 3.99 ERA in eight starts. One of the worst of those eight outings came Wednesday when he gave up four runs on four hits with five walks in 5 1/3 innings in a 4-3 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.
The five walks were Rodriguez's most in a start since August of 2019, and it boosted his total to nine free passes over his last two outings.
"My command was really off," Rodriguez said of his outing against the Reds. "It was all of my pitches. The changeup was working, but it was bouncing most of the time. That's what I saw: The command was off a little."
Said Tigers manager A.J. Hinch: "Five walks is very uncommon for him. I know he had four walks last time. That's not how he pitches."
Rodriguez has three career starts against the Dodgers, going 1-2 with a 4.24 ERA.
The Tigers (70-79) have shown improved play of late, although it appears to be too late to work themselves back into the playoff picture. Detroit has won four games in a row after completing a sweep of the Los Angeles Angels with a 5-3 victory Sunday in Anaheim, Calif. Jake Rogers hit two home runs in the win.
The Tigers will head to Los Angeles to play the Dodgers and continue a 10-game California trip that will conclude with a four-game visit to Oakland. The Tigers went 1-2 during a visit to the Dodgers last season.
Lynn already has earned his spot in a three-man National League Division Series rotation, according to manager Dave Roberts, and was much improved Tuesday against the San Diego Padres. Lynn gave up two runs over seven innings and just one home run after giving up a combined eight homers in his previous three outings.
Lynn, who leads the major leagues with 41 home runs allowed, is 8-3 lifetime against the Tigers with a 3.23 ERA in 12 starts.
The Dodgers clinched the NL West title on Saturday but still have plenty for which to play down the stretch. Their magic number for earning a top-two spot in the NL -- and a bye through the wild-card round -- is six after a 6-1 victory at Seattle on Sunday. Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman were given the day off.
"We've got a tough road ahead of us," Dodgers designated hitter J.D. Martinez said. "Obviously, we're not just thinking about (a division title). We're thinking about the future, you know. We're trying to get to the World Series."
--Field Level Media