Dodgers @ Astros Oct. 28, 2017: World Series Game 4

(Via)

The Dodgers go into this Game 4 down 2-1 and in an almost must-win position. With a tired bullpen and Alex Wood on the mound, the task looks daunting. But there’s still hope.

Dodgers
Astros
5:20 p.m. FOX
Houston
CF
Taylor
CF
Springer
SS
Seager
3B
Bregman
3B
Turner
2B
Altuve
1B
Bellinger
SS
Correa
RF
Puig
1B
Gurriel
2B
Forsythe
RF
Reddick
C
Barnes DH Gattis
DH
Pederson
LF
Gonzalez
LF
Hernandez
C
McCann
P
Wood (L)
P
Morton (R)

Charlie Morton — a solid pitcher — isn’t infallible. He helped pitch the Astros into the World Series, but the Yankees touched him up in Game 3 of that series. The thing is, the Dodger bats have gone cold in this series, and that was evident last night when they could muster just four hits off Lance McCullers. If the Dodgers are going to get length out of Wood and tie this series, the offense is going to have to get after Morton early in this game. He’s tough against opposing lineups the first time through (.245 wOBA), but teams get to him the second (.339 wOBA) and especially third times through (.335 wOBA). Odds are he won’t make it a third time through the lineup, so the Dodgers are going to have a tough task of getting to him early in the outing. Expect the right-handed hitters to do it, as Morton has extreme reverse platoon splits — .345 wOBA against righties compared to .249 against lefties.

The Dodgers are employing the same lineup as Game 3. I thought maybe Cody Bellinger might get dropped in the lineup as he’s 0-for-11 with seven strikeouts in the World Series, but he’s back in there hitting cleanup. I also thought maybe Austin Barnes might get a day off in favor of Yasmani Grandal (especially since Dave Roberts opted to pinch-hit for Barnes last night), but Grandal is on the bench again today.

Scoring early should help Wood relax and not have the weight of the entire Dodgers’ season resting on his shoulders, because it kinda is. Here’s hoping the bats can show up.

See? Clayton Kershaw gets it. Speaking of Kershaw, some thought maybe he might go on short rest after an unfavorable result last night, but that doesn’t make any sense. Kershaw is throwing at least one more time in this World Series, regardless of what happens tonight. Having him on regular rest for a game to potentially send the series back to Los Angeles is about as good a position the Dodgers could ask to be in right now. It also allows him to throw in Game 7 on short rest — not start, but to pitch out of the bullpen. He’d be backing up Darvish, which could be a nice redemption story for him. They have to get there first, though.

Kenta Maeda isn’t available tonight, predictably. Everyone else should be fair game, though. If the Dodgers can avoid using Brandon Morrow — who has throw in 10 of the 11 Dodger postseason games so far — that would be preferable.

——

Following last night’s inexcusable racial incident, Yuli Gurriel won’t be suspended until the beginning of next season. There are many takes on this decision, most of which are this suspension doesn’t have teeth. It doesn’t, really. It puts the game before common decency. If making a racial gesture toward another player isn’t worthy of being suspended in the World Series, what is?

In case you didn’t know, Yu Darvish is also part of this players’ union, so the union decided to prioritize the person in the wrong rather than the victim. I’d say it’s shocking, but it really isn’t.

I’m still hoping this will affect change going forward (looking at you, Chief Wahoo), but I’m extremely skeptical.

Kershaw is so adorable sometimes.

——

Just win, please.

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., and has yet to be shot.