The Dodgers look to stave off elimination with a win in game four of the NLDS.
Yesterday’s game was stupid, so let’s talk about something else that was stupid. MLB is really screwing up these game times. It’s absurd that all of these games have been in the afternoon. It’s absurd that the two teams had to travel across country because they pushed a game back a day rather than push it back an hour. It’s absurd that neither team knew what time today’s game would be until just before midnight yesterday, as it hinged on the Cubs-Giants game.
Rant over. The Dodgers need to win today, or there will be many more rants. It’s a script we should all be familiar with.
For the third straight postseason, Clayton Kershaw is starting an elimination game on short rest. Despite the choker narrative, Kershaw has been excellent on short rest in the postseason.
There is a lot of debate on whether this is the right move or not. Personally, I hate this decision. It’s counterintuitive to disagree with sending the best pitcher on the planet to the mound for an elimination game, but that’s exactly what I’m doing. This gives them a much better chance to win game four and send the series to game five in D.C. However, this forces them to decide between Julio Urias or Rich Hill in game five. Urias is 20, Hill would be working on short rest (thanks to the delayed game on Saturday). You figure the Dodgers will have to score a bunch of runs to win one of these next two games. Take that chance against a barely-healthy pitcher at home instead of against Max Scherzer on the road.
On the other hand, it’s damn near impossible to justify losing a series because you didn’t use your best pitcher. Of course, that’s a minor victory if you lose a series in four games rather than five games. You need two wins, and this decision gives them a worse shot at two wins. There will be plenty of offseason to debate this move, but it seems shockingly short-sighted to me. I get it, but I surely don’t agree with it.
Joe Ross will start for Washington today. He’s coming back from injury, but put together a really nice second season in the majors. Ross held a 3.43 ERA/3.49 FIP in 105 innings, but has only thrown 9.9 innings since July 2nd. He missed about two months with a shoulder injury and came back for three short starts in mid-September.
Ross started one game against the Dodgers this season and fared well. He allowed two runs in 6.1 innings, but that was the game that featured a Yasiel Puig walk off little league home run.
Ross allowed one run in each of his three September tuneup starts, but didn’t pitch more than four innings in any of them. He’ll probably be backed up by rookie Reynaldo Lopez, whose major league debut came against the Dodgers in July. It did not go well, as he allowed six runs in 4.2 innings. He fared a bit better in his other 10 appearances, allowing 18 runs in 39.1 innings.
No surprises with a righty in the lineup. The offense has been the issue in this series, as everyone has underperformed except for Justin Turner. Corey Seager has started every game off with an extra base hit, but he doesn’t have a hit outside of the first inning. Andrew Toles, Chase Utley, Josh Reddick, Joc Pederson, Yasmani Grandal and Adrian Gonzalez each have two hits through the first three games, but none of them have an extra base hit.
Mostly the same for Washington. Jayson Werth is back in between the two lefties. Pedro Severino is behind the plate again instead of Jose Lobaton. Severino took some healthy hacks off Kershaw in the first game, including a double that set up their third and final run.
Since the Giants avoided the sweep last night, they get the night slot and the Dodgers play in the afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 2:08 PST. If the Dodgers win, game five will be on Thursday.