The Dodgers will wait upon the matchup between Chicago and Washington to find out their next opponent. Regardless of the opponent, we should see more of Pedro Baez.
Pedro Baez. Just the mention of his name is enough to raise the blood pressure of Dodgers fans all over. After a solid start to the season, Baez unraveled late, leading many to question Dave Roberts’ unwavering faith in him. And while it is true that he has struggled mightily over the past few months, you cannot discount what he has done. That is especially true when you look at who he could match up against in the Championship Series.
Let’s start with the Cubs since they do have a game lead as of Tuesday night. The defending World Series champions are out to prove they are the real deal this year, and a rematch with the Dodgers looks more and more likely.
After taking two games to one lead over Chicago in the NLCS last year, the Dodgers dropped three straight to end their championship aspirations. The Cubs are essentially the same team roster-wise, with a few new additions to the bullpen.
Kris Bryant is having another monster year, Anthony Rizzo matched his home run and RBI output from the year before and Javier Baez is still just as lovable/hateable as ever. So why does Pedro Baez deserve a shot against such a high-octane offense?
Well, the answer is simple: history. Baez has matched up well against Chicago, and VERY well against their starters. Baez has held the team as a whole to a batting average below .227 and is yet to allow a home run (except in the playoffs) in the process.
Against the starting eight*, he has been even better holding them to a .200 batting average in 20 at-bats. The only concerning thing at this point is how he has performed against Chicago in the playoffs. Last year, Baez gave up a home run in a big spot to Anthony Rizzo. That blemish aside, Baez has been too good for the Dodgers to ignore.
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Then we look to the Nationals, who are currently down a game in their series. If they manage to come back and take the Division Series against Chicago, they would love to see Pedro Baez off of the roster.
Baez has utterly dominated Washington over his career, holding the current team below a .112 batting average. Against the starters**, Baez has been even more dominant, allowing them just two hits over the course of 23 at-bats.
In particular, Baez has been able to keep their three big bats in check throughout his career. Zimmerman, Harper and Murphy are a combined 0-7 against Baez, striking out four times. The results Baez has turned in against the Nationals cannot be ignored, and they certainly would prefer to see someone else.
The Dodgers are also at a point where their bullpen is a bit taxed. After turning in 12 innings of work, they essentially pitched half of the Division Series against Arizona. They were phenomenal during that time, but the starters had a combined earned run average of 4.11 and gave up six home runs. That being said, Baez will most definitely need to make an appearance at some point, like it or not.
*Assuming a starting lineup of Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Wilson Contreras, Jason Heyward, Anthony Rizzo, Addison Russell, Kyle Schwarber, and Ben Zobrist
**Assuming a starting lineup of Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy, Anthony Rendon, Michael Taylor, Trea Turner, Jayson Werth, Matt Wieters, and Ryan Zimmerman