The Dodgers look to keep their home-field hopes alive in game two against the Giants.
Last night’s game was a mess. Luckily, the mess was pretty meaningless from the Dodgers’ perspective. Home field would be nice, but it’s not a huge deal (give me Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill on the road, Kenta Maeda and Julio Urias at home). Keeping the Giants out of the playoffs would be nice, but they’ll still have to go through Noah Syndergaard just to get a chance to play the Cubs.
More importantly, the Dodgers now have a slightly clearer view of their playoff roster. Brandon McCarthy very well could have had a shot at the fourth-starter spot or long reliever, but he lost that yesterday. It’s a shame, as it seems like his yips are still alive and kicking. However, without last night’s performance, he probably makes the playoff roster. It’s better to have him get his struggles in during a meaningless game than in a potential decisive game four.
This whole post-clinch week has been auditions for the postseason roster. They’ve handled it like Spring Training, trying to see what the best combination of 25 guys will be. If they get out of this week healthy, it’s been a successful week.
Kershaw gets his final tune up for the postseason and his final shot at impressing for the Cy Young vote. It’s a longshot given how much time he’s missed, but ~150 innings of literally unheard of pitching is arguably more valuable than 180 innings of very good pitching. The voters won’t agree, but if a reliever is getting series consideration in the AL, Kershaw should get some in the NL.
Kershaw likely won’t pitch too deep into the game and would need to pitch 20 innings today to be a qualified starter. If he was, he’d shatter the major league record for K/BB and he’d have the lowest WHIP since 1884. Kershaw won’t be qualified for any rate stats, but he’s still tied with Syndergaard with 6.5 fWAR (which is a counting stat, and Thor has thrown 41 more innings than Kershaw).
Kershaw will pitch game one against the Nationals on October 7th, most likely in DC. Depending on how the series is going, he might have to come back on short rest in game four. That would obviously be less-than-ideal given his back injury, so expect this outing to be shorter than usual.
He owns a 1.30 career ERA at AT&T Park in 125 innings. In three starts in SF last season, Kershaw allowed six runs, which is the most he’s ever allowed in a season up there.
Albert Suarez was originally scheduled to start today, but the Giants will send Ty Blach to the mound instead. You probably could have guessed, Blach throws with his left hand.
Blach put together a nice season in the minors before being called up in September. He’s made three appearances, two of them in relief and one in a start. His two relief appearances went very well, as he allowed two baserunners in three innings in Colorado and didn’t allow a baserunner in three innings in LA. He earned a start in San Diego on the 25th and allowed two runs in three innings.
This would be where I tell you about Blach’s pitches, but Brooks Baseball isn’t cooperating this morning. According to MLB Pipeline, Blach’s best pitch is his changeup, and at times he has a solid curve and slider. He also features two different fastballs that have some movement, but aren’t exactly world beaters.
With the exception of right field, this lineup is shockingly normal against a lefty. They faced a lefty yesterday and face a lefty tomorrow, so I’d guess they’re hoping Blach will only be in for 3-4 innings.
Yasiel Puig starts in back-to-back night against a lefty, and will probably start again tomorrow against Matt Moore. Josh Reddick should absolutely always be platooned, and Puig is a pretty nice platoon partner.
First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 PST and will be shown on SNLA and KCAL.