Nationals @ Dodgers Oct. 10, 2016: NLDS Game 3

Nationals
Dodgers
1:08 PM PST
Los Angeles
CF
Turner
LF
Kendrick
LF
Werth
3B
Turner
2B
Murphy
SS
 Seager
RF
Harper
RF
 Puig
3B
Rendon
1B 
 Gonzalez
1B
Zimmerman
C
 Grandal
SS
Espinosa 2B  Culberson
C
Lobaton
CF
Pederson
P
Gonzalez (L)
P
Maeda (R)

Last night, I argued that Gio Gonzalez is a little different than most left-handed pitchers which have given the Dodger offense a deserving bad reputation. Gonzalez does not throw a slider, one of the best weapons for getting out same-sided hitters. However, I skipped the bad news. The Dodgers have faced Gio Gonzalez before this season, and the results were not very good. On July 20th at Dodger Stadium, Gonzalez pitched six innings, allowed one run on three hits, struck out six batters, and walked two. By game score, it was his sixth-best start of the year.

However, that start shouldn’t be viewed as a wholly bad sign. Corey Seager had that day off. Charlie Culberson started in his place, and both are in the lineup today. Chris Taylor started in the July game against Gonzalez, as did Scott Van Slyke. Zach Walters got a plate appearance too. There has been a lot of turnover in the Dodger platoon lineup since then, but not to much avail. However, Gio Gonzalez’ arm slot (high) and repertoire (platoon-friendly) are more important than the results of just one start. Additionally, the Dodgers occasionally beating up Matt Moore is a good sign that you shouldn’t read too much into one game anyways.

Today’s lineup is interesting. The main item to note is that Charlie Culberson is getting the start over Chase Utley, which makes sense due to platoon issues. Austin Barnes may be a better choice, but they made the choice to bury him on the roster weeks ago and starting him out of nowhere wouldn’t have been a good idea. Justin Turner is batting second, which is odd considering that he has struggled significantly against left-handed pitching this year. This seems like a vote of confidence that his splits are a fluke, though it’s worth noting that they date back to Turner’s breakout Dodger debut in 2014. Since then he has a 108 wRC+ against left-handed pitching and a 151 wRC+ against right-handed pitching. That’s not as hopeless as his 77 wRC+ against southpaws this year, but it’s still significantly backwards. Corey Seager moves down a spot to number three in the lineup, Yasiel Puig is batting cleanup, Adrian Gonzalez is still playing first, and Joc Pederson gets the rare start against a lefty in center.

Hoping to stave off a desperate situation is Kenta Maeda, who takes the ball for the Dodgers. Maeda struggled significantly in his final tune-up against the Giants, throwing his worst start of the season. The results of one start aren’t necessarily concerning, but what might be more of a red flag was his velocity. Maeda’s fastball averaged a hair over 90 mph in his last start, the lowest since he was beat up by the Mets in mid-May. His previous start against San Diego was lower than what is average for him as well. Perhaps he is tiring, but perhaps the week of rest will help alleviate that somewhat.

For those wondering about Maeda’s playoff record, his Carp were usually not in contention. They only made the playoffs twice in his tenure, and he made three starts. Here are the results:

Year Opponent IP H R/ER HR BB K
2013 Tigers 7 5 1 0 2 5
2013 Giants 5 4 3 1 1 2
2014 Tigers 6 7 1 1 1 6

If you’re looking for hot take fodder here, there really isn’t any. The end results: five runs in 18 innings (2.50 ERA), with 13 strikeouts and 4 walks. The conclusion: Kenta Maeda was basically himself. Two good starts and one mediocre one basically add up to what his averages were on that side of the Pacific. Hopefully he can be himself today, too.

Meanwhile:

I have opinions on this, but we can cross that bridge if we get to it.

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 Daniel Brim

Daniel Brim
Daniel Brim grew up in the Los Angeles area but doesn't live there anymore. He still watches the Dodgers and writes about them sometimes.