Cardinals @ Dodgers Oct. 4, 2014: NLDS Game 2, Lynn vs. Greinke

OK, things can’t possibly be worse than last night. The thing that is most baffling is that, despite Mike’s great breakdown earlier today, there was no logical way of explaining the events of Friday. But let’s move on.

Cardinals
Dodgers
6:37 p.m.
Los Angeles
3B
Carpenter
2B
Gordon
CF
Jay
CF
Puig
LF
Holliday
1B
Gonzalez
1B
Adams
RF
Kemp
SS
Peralta
SS
Ramirez
C
Molina
LF
Crawford
2B
Wong
3B
Uribe
CF
Grichuk
C
Ellis
P
Lynn (R)
P
Greinke (R)

The Dodgers send Zack Greinke to the mound to make his first start of the 2014 playoffs. Last year, he was everything the Dodgers needed him to be — 21 IP, 14 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 17 K, 1.71 ERA. With Clayton Kershaw pitching poorly in Game 1, the Dodgers need Greinke to pitch well tonight. This is exactly why they signed him to the then-highest salary ever for a right-handed pitcher; for moments like this.

Greinke is going up against a Cardinal offense that scored the same number of runs on Friday as they did in the final three games of the regular season. And with Greinke on the hill, the lineup looks different than last night’s — most notably, Jon Jay moves up to the No. 2 spot and Kolten Wong is inserted to play second base.

The Dodgers are sending out the same lineup that posted nine runs last night. Lance Lynn opposes Greinke, and he did something this season no pitcher in baseball could laid claim to.

So, the Dodgers should be looking for his low-90s fastball. He threw it 79 percent of the time this season (second-most in baseball) and it had a FanGraphs runs above average value of 10.5, making it easily his best pitch. His slider, curveball and changeup all checked in with negative values, so if/when he gets into trouble, the Dodger hitters have to look for that heavy fastball.

The Dodgers got to Lynn on June 28 at Dodger Stadium, as they tagged him for seven runs (six earned) in just two innings of work. It was easily his worst start of the season. From that start to the end of the season, Lynn was Adam Wainwright-esque: 2.11 ERA, .228 batting average against and averaged 6.4 innings per start. While regular season success isn’t indicative of postseason success, there is recent history of the Dodgers performing well against the big righty.

The offense did its part last night by pounding out 16 hits and nine runs in a game started by Wainwright. I wouldn’t expect that to be the norm, but this is the best offensive Dodger team in many, many years. It’s the pitching that needs to step up tonight and hold the Cards’ offense in check.

There isn’t truly a “must-win” game until it’s an elimination game, but tonight’s game is just that. The Dodgers need this game in the worst way after last night’s disappointment. They can ill-afford to go down 0-2 heading to St. Louis with Hyun-Jin Ryu making his first start in more than three weeks and an unknown like Dan Haren (though, Kershaw would probably throw that game).

ThrowsRelieverSat 10/15Sun 10/16Mon 10/17Tue 10/18Wed 10/19Thur 10/20Fri 10/21
LAvilan--OFF-2421OFF
RBaez34-OFF-2727OFF
RBlanton28-OFF13-19OFF
LDayton3-OFF16-12OFF
RFields--OFF-910OFF
RJansen-18OFF21--OFF
RStripling10-OFF-2018OFF
LWood--OFF-32-OFF

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler
Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.