Dodgers @ Mets Oct. 12, 2015: NLDS Game 4

Well, here it is. Here’s possibly the final game of the Dodger season. Here’s possibly more fuel on the “Clayton Kershaw can’t win in the playoffs” fire. Here’s potentially the end of Don Mattingly‘s tenure as Dodger manager. Here’s the difference between going home with Zack Greinke queued up for a deciding Game 5, or just going home. As a great duo once said, “this could lead to excellence… or serious injury.”

Dodgers
Mets
5:00 p.m.
New York, NY
CF
Hernandez
RF
Granderson
2B
Kendrick
3B
Wright
1B
Gonzalez
2B
Murphy
3B
Turner
LF
Cespedes
SS
Seager
C
d’Arnaud
RF
Puig
1B
Duda
C
Ellis
SS
Flores
LF
Ruggiano
CF
Lagares
P
Kershaw (L)
P
Matz (L)

If they’re going to go out, it’s at least with the best possible lineup that Mattingly could have assembled against rookie lefty Steven Matz. Yasiel Puig, Justin Ruggiano, A.J. Ellis, Enrique Hernandez, and Corey Seager are in. Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford, Yasmani Grandal, Joc Pederson, Jimmy Rollins, and Chase Utley are out, ready to jump in against righty relievers in the late innings.

These are all the right calls. This is the right lineup. It’s the best you could have asked for.

I know: Ethier on the bench against a lefty is just going to kill a ton of fans. Those fans are wrong. Never forget. (Also, even if we’re using flawed one-year split stats, Ethier hit just .200/.229/.244 against lefties in 48 plate appearances, so I’m not even sure what that argument would be.)

The Mets start the same eight as last night, this time in front of Matz. And why not? Seemed to work pretty well for them.

There’s not really a whole lot else to add, except this: I know everyone is focused on Kershaw. I know everyone is focused on how Mattingly handles the bullpen, particularly if and how Kenley Jansen is deployed. But I don’t think it’s going to be either of those issues that decides this game. It’s going to be about whether or not the offense can put some runs up against Matz, or if this is going to be yet another tight-fisted affair where every run is life or death.

I’m hoping we see more Dodger baseball on Thursday. And if not? Well, file this one away the next time you hear people insisting home field advantage is the difference between winning or losing.

About Mike Petriello

Mike Petriello
Mike writes about lots of baseball in lots of places, and right now that place is MLB.com.