Everyone seems to be discussing what the 25 man roster will be for the first round. Tonight Urias should have cemented his hold on being the number one option to start game four.
The Dodgers should enter the postseason with nary an injury among their position players. As healthy a group as they have had headed into the postseason. As long as Scherzer and company don’t break one of the LAD ribs that should hold for the first round.
The rotation enters with a bit of trepidation about Rich Hill’s blisters. Clayton Kershaw has a fresh enough arm that they could throw him in game four, but I’m not sure we can count on Rich Hill for game five, so it might be best if game four is not a must win to go with Urias and let Kershaw handle game five. If game four is a must win, you probably have to go with Clayton instead of the rookie.
The bullpen is as healthy as it could be.
All in all, given all the injuries the Dodgers have suffered this season, they will enter the postseason in a very good spot. Sure it would have been great to know Brandon McCarthy was completely healthy and ready to take the ball in game four. And maybe he is.
This is the roster I’d send out against the Nationals:
|Rich Hill|||||Game Two|
|Kenta Maeda|||||Game Three|
|Julio Urias|||||Game Four|
Against RHP the starting lineup will go eight deep. Even if they choose Kendrick over Puig or Toles to start in LF that is a long lineup. Defensively they can sub in either Puig or Toles in LF.
Yet, even with all the Dodger depth, they are a weakened lineup against LHP. Replacing Reddick with Puig is a wash, but replacing Joc with Hernandez doesn’t help much. Gonzalez is weaker, Grandal is weaker, Turner is weaker. It is no wonder the team struggles against LHP, but the only LH starter they will be facing is Gio Gonzalez.
Since the last player on the roster is going to be mainly a pinch hitter I elected to go with Andre over Culberson or Segedin. Sept baseball is gone so the starters will be pitching deeper, and the big pinch-hitting could be coming late in the game. Mark Melancon is a rhp so I think Andre is the choice here. Andre didn’t exactly light it up but I’d rather have him at bat in the 9th in a critical spot than Segedin or Culberson.
The pitching choices seemed easy, these are the best pitchers the Dodgers have right now. I’d have preferred the May version of Liberatore but he doesn’t exist so, so I’m going with the current version of Avilan. Hopefully, 1/2 the pitchers in the eight-man bullpen never need to pitch.
I’d prefer the games play out like so:
Kershaw for 7, Blanton for 1, Jansen for 1 (3 – 1 victory)
Hill for 6, Baez or Grant Drayton for 1, Blanton for 1, Jansen for 1 (4 – 3 victory)
Kenta for 5, Baez for 1, Drayton for 1, Blanton for 1, Jansen for 1 (6 -4 victory)