September 3, 2023 – Pacific Coast League (PCL) – Oklahoma City Dodgers News Release
Round Rock Express (35-21/79-51) at Oklahoma City Dodgers (29-27/79-50)
Game #130 of 148/Second Half #57 of 75/Home #67 of 73
Pitching Probables: RR-RHP Owen White (2-1, 4.50) vs. OKC-RHP Walker Buehler (MLR)/RHP Gavin Stone (6-4, 5.04)
Sunday, September 3, 2023 | Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark | Oklahoma City, Okla. | 2:05 p.m. CT
Radio: 1340 AM The Game, 1340thegame.com, iHeartRadio; Video: Bally Live, MiLB.tv
Today’s Game: The Oklahoma City Dodgers close out their six-game series as well as a 12-game homestand against the Round Rock Express at 2:05 p.m. at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. The Dodgers lead the series, 3-2, between the top two overall teams in the Pacific Coast League…After opening the homestand with five straight losses, the Dodgers have won four of their last six games.
Last Game: Jonny DeLuca homered and the Oklahoma City Dodgers scored six runs over their final three at-bats in a 7-1 win against the Round Rock Express Saturday night at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. The Dodgers held the Express to a series-low one run in the game and took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning on a two-out RBI double by Tucker Barnhart. DeLuca hit a solo homer out to left field in the sixth inning for a 2-0 advantage. Leading, 3-1, in the eighth inning, the Express broke through on a RBI single by Jonathan Ornelas and had the bases loaded with two outs before Ken Giles struck out Dustin Harris to end the threat. Oklahoma City scored four runs in the eighth inning, including RBI singles by Miguel Vargas and Jorbit Vivas and two additional runs scored on wild pitches.
Today’s Probable Pitchers: Two-time MLB All-Star Walker Buehler is scheduled to open a Major League Rehab Assignment as he recovers from right elbow UCL reconstruction that has kept him off the field since June 2022…Buehler made 12 starts for the LA Dodgers last season, posting a 6-3 record and 4.02 ERA over 65.0 innings through early June with 17 walks against 58 strikeouts before undergoing Tommy John surgery for the second time last August…Buehler was named to the 2021 and 2019 MLB National League All-Star teams and helped the Dodgers to their 2020 World Series Championship…Overall, Buehler has compiled a 46-16 record and 3.02 ERA over 638.1 IP with a 1.04 WHIP and .212 opponent average over six Major League seasons…Buehler has made 15 postseason starts with the Dodgers, posting a 3-3 record and 2.94 ERA and averaging 11.4 strikeouts per 9.0 innings. He has allowed just one run in 13.0 IP in two World Series starts (0.69 ERA)…He started the first combined no-hitter in Dodgers history, walking three and striking out eight in 6.0 innings in LA’s 4-0 win against San Diego May 4, 2018…Buehler made his MLB debut Sept. 7, 2017 against Colorado at Dodger Stadium with 2.0 innings of scoreless relief and he made his first MLB start April 23, 2018 against Miami at Dodger Stadium…Buehler made 15 appearances (six starts) with the OKC Dodgers during the 2017 and 2018 seasons, going a combined 2-1 with a 3.72 ERA over 36.1 Triple-A innings with 15 walks against 50 K’s…He was named the 2017 Dodgers Branch Rickey Minor League Pitcher of the Year, posting a 3-3 record with one save and a 3.35 ERA in 28 games (19 starts) with High-A Rancho Cucamonga, Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City…Buehler was originally selected by the Dodgers in the first round (24th overall) of the 2015 MLB Draft out of Vanderbilt University.
Gavin Stone (6-4) is expected to piggyback Buehler after most recently pitching with the Los Angeles Dodgers Aug. 27 in Boston. He followed opener Caleb Ferguson and pitched 6.0 innings of relief with LAD. He earned his first ML win, allowing four runs and five hits, including three home runs. He hit two batters and recorded two strikeouts. He was optioned to OKC the following day…Stone last appeared for OKC Aug. 22 against Albuquerque, pitching 3.0 innings of relief and allowing one run and two hits with three strikeouts in a no decision…Stone is 4-0 over his last eight appearances with OKC and has lowered his season ERA from 6.71 to 5.04, posting a 2.85 ERA across 41.0 IP with 49 strikeouts and 15 walks while holding opponents to a .182 batting average…He was named PCL Pitcher of the Week for the second time this season after tossing six scoreless, no-hit innings Aug. 4 against Round Rock. He issued two walks and notched 10 strikeouts to match his season-high mark…He made his ML debut May 3 at Dodger Stadium against Philadelphia and has made a total of five appearances (three starts) for the LA Dodgers this season…Last season, Stone was named the Los Angeles Dodgers Branch Rickey Minor League Pitcher of the Year. He compiled a 1.48 ERA and 9-6 record across 26 games (25 starts) at three levels. Stone led all pitchers in the Minors in ERA and tied for ninth overall in strikeouts…The Dodgers selected Stone in the fifth round of the 2020 MLB Draft out of the University of Central Arkansas.
Against the Express: 2023: 13-4 2022: 16-14 All-time: 175-139 At OKC: 82-69
The Express and Dodgers meet for their third and final series of the season as well as their second series this month…The Dodgers won the last series between the teams, 4-2, Aug. 1-6 at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. The Dodgers won four of the final five games of the series after losing the series opener. The series finale was a 17-7 Dodgers win in which OKC set a new team record for hits in a home game with 22…The Dodgers swept the Express May 9-14 in their last series in Round Rock. It was OKC’s first-ever six-game series sweep since PCL teams started playing primarily six-game series starting in 2021. The Dodgers held Round Rock to a .180 AVG as they allowed one run or less in three of the six meetings. OKC trailed in the seventh inning or later in four of the six wins and hit a go-ahead grand slam in the seventh inning twice…After playing one another 30 times during the 2022 season and 29 times during the 2021 season, the Dodgers and Express meet for just three six-game series in 2023, including two during the second half of the season.
Trying to Get Back on Track: The Dodgers have won four of the last six games, including three of the last four games against Round Rock. The Dodgers lead the Express by a half game in the overall PCL standings as the teams have flip-flopped the top two positions throughout the series…After taking four of six games from the Express Aug. 1-6, the Dodgers’ overall record stood at 72-34 and the Express’ was 60-47, as OKC led the overall standings by 12.5 games. But starting Aug. 8, Round Rock surged and won 18 of the next 19 games, including a franchise record 14 straight wins Aug. 8-23, while the Dodgers went 4-15 during the same span. Round Rock surpassed OKC in the league standings to open the current series in first place…The Dodgers now have a 3-2 series lead for the first time since Aug. 1-5 against Round Rock, also in OKC, after the Dodgers entered this week having lost three straight series for the first time since May 6-25, 2021…The Dodgers are 4-8 in their last 12 games, 6-13 in the last 19 games and 7-16 since their previous series against Round Rock…OKC finished August with 10 wins (10-17), tied for second fewest in the league last month with Salt Lake and ahead of Sugar Land’s eight wins (8-19). OKC had not won fewer than 12 games in a month since May 2021 (9-14). It was the team’s lowest monthly winning percentage since going 9-19 in August 2019.
The Big Picture: The Dodgers (79-50) are tied for the second-most wins in the Minors, trailing only Triple-A Norfolk (81-49) and tied with current opponent Round Rock (79-51) and High-A Cedar Rapids (79-46)…The Dodgers are back in first place in the overall PCL standings and have held at least a share of first place in the PCL overall standings for all but seven days this season, holding first place from April 1-Aug. 25…Oklahoma City is in sixth place in the second half of the Pacific Coast League season standings at 29-27, six games behind first-place Round Rock (35-21)…This season’s OKC squad became the fastest PCL team to reach 50, 60 and 70 wins since at least 2005, as data from 2004 and earlier is not available. They also became the second-fastest Pacific Coast League team to reach 75 wins (117 games) since at least 2005, with the 2017 Memphis Redbirds doing it two games earlier in 115 games. The fastest PCL team to reach 80 wins was also the 2017 Memphis Redbirds who reached the milestone in 121 games (80-41)…During the Bricktown era (since 1998), OKC’s best previous record through 129 games was in 2015 when the Dodgers also went 78-51…The Dodgers won the PCL’s first-half title (50-23) and will host a best-of-three PCL Championship Series Sept. 26-28 against the winner of the second half…Today the Dodgers are looking to become the eighth OKC team in the Bricktown era (since 1998) to post at least 80 wins in single season. It has happened three times in the previous seven seasons as a Dodgers affiliate (2015, 2016, 2022).
Jonny Be Good: Jonny DeLuca reached base four times last night, going 2-for-3 with a double, home run and two walks. He has hit safely in four of his last five games, going 7-for-16 with three doubles, a triple, two homers and four RBI…DeLuca rejoined OKC as part of a Major League Rehab Assignment Aug. 24 and was optioned to OKC Sept. 1. In 24 Triple-A games this season, DeLuca is slashing .319/.367/.617 with 14 extra-base hits and 24 RBI. Since his return to the team, he has yet to strike out in 29 plate appearances.
How He Drew It Up: Drew Avans went 1-for-3 with two walks and scored a run last night. He has hit safely in each of the first five games of the series, going 7-for-17. The output follows a 2-for-20 stretch over his previous seven games…Overall this season, Avans leads the Dodgers with 119 hits, 87 runs scored and 71 walks. His run total ranks third in the league while his walks are sixth and hits are eighth…At 305 hits over the last three seasons, Avans is now one of nine players during the Bricktown era (since 1998) to amass 300 career hits.
Mound Matters: The Dodgers held the Express to one run Saturday, and through the first 11 games of OKC’s current homestand, the Dodgers have allowed six runs total over their four wins, but have allowed 54 runs in the seven losses (7.7 rpg), with at least eight runs in five of those seven games…The Dodgers pitching staff recorded nine strikeouts last night and has finished with at least nine K’s against the Express in four of the first five games of the series. OKC leads the PCL and ranks third among all Triple-A teams this season with 1,225 strikeouts…The Dodgers have not allowed a home run in four straight games, tying the team’s longest stretch without allowing a home run this season (July 7-14). OKC has also not allowed a homer in five of their last six games…The Dodgers are now 41-2 when allowing three runs or less and 26-10 when not allowing a home run.
The Warden: Ryan Ward’s career-best 10-game hitting streak came to an end Saturday as he was held 0-for-4. During the streak, Ward went 13-for-42 (.310) with two doubles, a triple, two homers, 10 RBI and eight runs scored. He became the fifth OKC player to compile a hitting streak of 10 games or more this season…Overall this season, Ward’s career-high 89 RBI and five triples lead the Dodgers, while his 20 homers and 81 runs scored rank second…Only 12 OKC players have finished a season with 90 or more RBI during the team’s Bricktown era.
Up and Down: The Dodgers scored seven runs on 10 hits Saturday (10-for-32) after producing a total of six runs on nine hits over the previous two games combined (9-for-55). The Dodgers started last night’s game 1-for-7 with runners on base, extending a drought to 2-for-30 since the beginning of Thursday’s game. However, they finished Saturday by going 6-for-16 with runners on…OKC was held 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position last night and are 4-for-26 with RISP (.154) over the last three games after going 17-for-35 over the previous three games.
Around the Horn: This season when the Dodgers enter a series finale with a chance to win the series, they have gone 6-1, including a 5-0 record in Game 6…In his first game with OKC since signing a minor league deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers Aug. 30, Tucker Barnhart went 1-for-2 with a double, RBI, two walks and a run scored…One day after his 15-game on-base streak came to an end, Miguel Vargas went 2-for-5 with a RBI and run scored. Over his last 17 games, Vargas is 22-for-60 (.367) with nine RBI and 14 walks…David Dahl has hit safely in six straight games, going 6-for-22 with three doubles. Since joining OKC June 20, his 18 doubles lead the league….Reliever Jimmy Nelson has not allowed a run in seven straight appearances. Since Aug. 4, Nelson has thrown 7.0 scoreless innings with three hits, four walks and 12 strikeouts, holding opponents 3-for-23.
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