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By Jon Weisman
Chris Withrow has now faced exactly 200 batters in his career, and the numbers are pretty fascinating. He has allowed 23 hits (for a .134 opponents’ batting average) but walked 27. The extremes are even more extreme this season: opponents are 3 for 51 against him with 14 walks.
Though the .250 career on-base percentage against him is still fairly modest, the walks do get Withrow in trouble. Nevertheless, his career ERA is only 1.92, and he has stranded all 14 runners he has inherited.
Strikeouts — 11.7 per nine innings — are one way Withrow is such an escape artist. But another thing is that opponents practically can’t buy an extra-base hit against him. In his career, Withrow has given up five home runs (all last year) and one double. That’s it.
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In his recap of Friday’s 3-1 loss to the Giants, Ken Gurnick of MLB.com discusses the Yasiel Puig-Madison Bumbarner confrontation, but also quietly hits on what may be the story of the series.
“Meanwhile, the Giants are deploying exaggerated defensive shifts on most of the Dodgers’ potent hitters, even the right-handers, and it’s working, as hitters who don’t use the whole field have become easier to defend,” Gurnick writes.
There’s an article on defensive shifts in the current issue of Dodger Insider magazine.
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Catcher A.J. Ellis will start a rehab assignment Sunday with Triple-A Albuquerque, Gurnick reported on Twitter.