Dodgers’ top prospect Josiah Gray expected to debut vs. Giants

MLB Baseball

Josiah Gray is expected to make his much-anticipated major-league debut for the Los Angeles Dodgers when they host the San Francisco Giants in the second game of their four-game series on Tuesday night.

The Giants won the series opener 7-2 Monday behind their bullpen, which allowed one hit over six shutout innings. The first-place Giants increased their lead over the Dodgers to two games in the National League West.

Gray, a 23-year-old right-hander, was the Minor League Pitcher of the Year for the Dodgers in 2019 and remains their top pitching prospect.

He was a second-round pick of the Cincinnati Reds in 2018 before coming to the Dodgers in a multi-player deal that included San Francisco left-hander Alex Wood, who is scheduled to oppose Gray on Tuesday.

“Josiah’s excited to be here,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.

Roberts said after the loss on Monday that he plans to start an undetermined left-hander on Tuesday and then have Gray “pitch a good bit of the game.”

Gray has thrown just 15 2/3 innings in the minors this season after dealing with right-shoulder impingement during the spring, going 1-1 with a 2.87 ERA. He most recently threw 68 pitches for Triple-A Oklahoma City on Thursday.

“I think it was shoulder fatigue as much as anything,” Roberts said. “Obviously, we were very careful ramping him back up and getting the reps. He’s shown no signs of the previous injury.”

The Giants welcomed back seven-time All-Star catcher Buster Posey on Monday night following his two-week absence because of a left-thumb injury, and he immediately showed his impact, blasting a two-run homer in his first at-bat to help San Francisco to a lead it never relinquished.

The Giants learned earlier Monday that they’d be without veteran shortstop Brandon Crawford, who went on the injured list for the second time in his 11-year major-league career, this time because of a strained right groin, according to MLB.com.

Crawford was selected to his third NL All-Star team this season.

“We understand we have a big challenge ahead of us. Just knowing he is not going to be available is tough for him,” San Francisco manager Gabe Kapler said. “If there is a silver lining, it does give him a break and allows us to build him up to full strength.”

Thairo Estrada filled in for Crawford at shortstop and had a key two-run double that blew the game open in the Giants’ four-run seventh inning. Jason Vosler, who took Crawford’s roster spot, also contributed a sacrifice fly as a pinch hitter in the inning.

The Dodgers also lost their starting shortstop on Sunday when Gavin Lux strained his hamstring while running out a ground ball in the ninth inning against the Colorado Rockies.

“It’s going to take some time,” Roberts said of the injury.

Dodgers center fielder Mookie Betts was scratched shortly before Monday’s game with right-hip irritation, but he pinch-hit in the ninth inning Monday and is expected back in the lineup on Tuesday. Betts also missed Sunday’s game with the injury.

Wood (8-3, 3.67 ERA) is 0-2 against the Dodgers this season, with those starts coming six days apart in late May. He allowed four home runs in 12 innings in those games. He is 2-2 with a 2.80 ERA in seven lifetime appearances against the Dodgers, with 35 strikeouts in 35 1/3 innings.

Dodgers outfielder AJ Pollock is 10-for-23 in his career against Wood, with two home runs.

–Field Level Media

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