Here we go again

The Dodgers have advanced to the NLCS for the sixth time since Clayton Kershaw joined the Dodgers in 2008 and only once have they advanced to the World Series. Starting tonight they will try to make it the second time, and the second time in a row but for the first time, they will have to go through the Milwaukee Brewers to defend their National League crown and get back to the World Series. Once again the Dodgers will lean heavily on Clayton Kershaw but this time Clayton has a bit more help in the rotation than in NLCS seasons past. With plenty of rest, I still don’t think it was an easy call to go with Clayton because Ryu has been the Dodgers best pitcher in the last month, including his gem in game one of the NLDS.

It seemed to me that Clayton has always started game one but that is not the case. Clayton did start game one against the Phillies in 2009 at the tender age of 21. He did not fare well getting hammered for five runs. It was the kind of game that would become a Clayton Kershaw October trend, he cruised for four innings but was crushed in the fifth giving up a three-run home run to Carlos Ruiz and a game crushing two-run double to Ryan Howard who was notoriously poor against left-hand pitchers.

Clayton didn’t start another NLCS game one until 2017 when he beat the Cubs last year 5 – 2.

Overall Clayton has made seven NLCS starts and the team is 3 – 4 in those games but they are 3 – 1 in his last four.

Date         Series Gm# Opp   Rslt  IP  H ER BB SO Pit GSc IR
2009-10-15     NLCS   1 PHI  L 6-8 4.2  4  5  5  3  89     34
2016-10-22     NLCS   6 CHC  L 0-5 5.0  7  4  0  4  93     39
2017-10-14     NLCS   1 CHC  W 5-2 5.0  4  2  1  4  87     54
2013-10-12     NLCS   2 STL  L 0-1 6.0  2  0  1  5  72     70
2013-10-18     NLCS   6 STL  L 0-9 4.0 10  7  2  5  98     17
2017-10-19     NLCS   5 CHC W 11-1 6.0  3  1  1  5  89     66
2016-10-16     NLCS   2 CHC  W 1-0 7.0  2  0  1  6  84     78

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 10/12/2018.

In his last start, Clayton pitched the best post-season game of his career, putting up a game score of 81 which was the first time he topped a game score of 80 in the postseason even though he has 42 games scores of 80 or more during the regular season. Clayton has made 316 regular season starts so he has put up a game score of at least 80 fairly regularly during the regular season.  It was great to see him finally hit that elite threshold in October.

Facing Clayton Kershaw will be Gio Gonzalez who has had excellent success against the Dodgers in the past but those teams didn’t include lefty killers David Freese,  Manny Machado, and Matt Kemp.  If you want to throw a lefty against the group below, good luck with that.  When they finally capitulate and bring a right-hand relief pitcher the Dodgers can counter with the best hitter in the National League not named Yelich, in Max Muncy, and possibly one of the most improved hitters in 2018 Joc Pederson.

Player                      Split Year   OPS  PA  H 2B 3B HR RBI   BA  OBP  SLG
David Freese        vs LH Starter 2018 1.238  42 15  2  1  2   9 .429 .524 .714
Justin Turner       vs LH Starter 2018 1.089 192 59 21  1  9  33 .355 .432 .657
Max Muncy           vs LH Starter 2018 1.022 125 31  5  0  9  25 .298 .416 .606
Chase Utley         vs LH Starter 2018  .973  32 10  3  1  0   3 .357 .438 .536
Manny Machado       vs LH Starter 2018  .951 142 40 10  0  7  25 .317 .387 .563
Matt Kemp           vs LH Starter 2018  .844 254 68 12  0 12  37 .292 .346 .498
Enrique Hernandez   vs LH Starter 2018  .802 253 58  9  2 12  29 .257 .328 .473
Cody Bellinger      vs LH Starter 2018  .778 207 43  9  2  6  19 .247 .353 .425
Chris Taylor        vs LH Starter 2018  .739 264 52 12  2  9  25 .228 .322 .417
Yasiel Puig         vs LH Starter 2018  .738 168 36  4  1  7  21 .242 .315 .423
Yasmani Grandal     vs LH Starter 2018  .648 127 20  6  0  4  12 .183 .299 .349
Austin Barnes       vs LH Starter 2018  .641 161 28  3  0  4  13 .206 .325 .316
Joc Pederson        vs LH Starter 2018  .636  68  9  3  0  2   5 .164 .309 .327
Brian Dozier        vs LH Starter 2018  .579 104 14  5  0  2   9 .163 .288 .291

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 10/12/2018.

The Dodgers may only get a few looks at Gio as the Brewers will go to their vaunted bullpen very quickly, while the Dodgers will hope that Clayton can get them at least eighteen outs without any big innings.

The Brewers haven’t lost for a while, but that will probably change tonight when the Brewers and their fans find out they are playing the eventual World Series Champions in 2018.  If the Dodgers lose to a team that is starting Gio Gonzalez, Wade Miley, and Chacin then I shouldn’t write about baseball anymore because it would be highly confounding to me.

The Dodgers have the better rotation

The Dodgers have the postseason veterans

The Dodgers have the better 1st, 2nd, SS, 3rd baseman, Catcher, and two of three outfield spots.

The Dodgers don’t have a moose but they do have a wild horse.

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1 Comment

  1. 68elcamino427

    Kershaw Maddux
    This is the way it can work.
    Pinpoint control with the fastball and good junk that makes strikes look like balls and balls look like strikes to the eye of the batter.

    Maybe he can develop a nasty change-up to include in his repertoire moving forward?

    Like

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