The Dodgers were thrown a curveball before the NLCS is even underway, as the Brewers announced they will start two left-handed starters to begin the series.
The Dodgers haven’t even seen a single pitch from the Milwaukee Brewers yet but they were thrown a curveball as the Brewers announced that Gio Gonzalez will start game one followed by Wade Miley starting game two. It was expected that right-hander Jhoulys Chacin would begin the series for the Brewers.
The Dodgers have used platoon lineups this season and it will be interesting to see if they follow their regular season lineups to a tee or if they differentiate the lineup a little bit for the postseason. It has already been announced that David Freese will start game one so that means Max Muncy will likely begin the game on the bench.
This season Gio Gonzalez was much tougher on left-handed hitters holding them to a .219 batting average compared to a .265 average against righties. Wade Miley doesn’t have much of a difference in his splits as he allowed a .225 average to lefties and a .240 average to right-handed batters.
The current Dodgers’ roster has 119 at-bats against Gio Gonzalez and they have hit just .235 against Gonzalez with two home runs. Both home runs are by Matt Kemp who boasts a .333 average against Gio Gonzalez. Justin Turner has hit just .105 against Gonzalez so he will look to find some newfound success. David Freese who is starting against Gonzalez today has a .286 average against him.
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Against Wade Miley, the Dodgers have had much more success. The current Dodger roster holds a .261 average against Miley with six home runs. Matt Kemp also leads the Dodgers in home runs against Miley with two bison blasts. Freese, Grandal, Machado, and Puig have also gone yard against the veteran southpaw.
Yasiel Puig normally doesn’t start against lefties but he needs to be in the lineup against Miley as he is 6-17 against Miley with a 1.051 OPS. His on-base percentage against Miley is over .500. Freese should get another start in game two as he has also battered Miley around to the tune of a .389 average (7-18).
By starting two lefties to begin the series that means the Dodgers may be forced to bench their best power bat in Max Muncy to begin games one and two. It does mean however that Muncy would be available to pinch-hit in a big spot later on in the game. With the Brewers’ starters not likely to pitch deep into the game, it’s almost like playing a game with a first and second half.
The Brewers have used their pitching staff in unconventional ways this postseason so it will be a game within the game to see how Dave Roberts counteracts the moves made by Craig Counsell. One thing is certain, and that’s that there will be a ton of pitching changes made this staff and if the Dodgers have it their way, the pitching moves will start after a couple of innings.