Braves @ Dodgers October 5, 2018: NLDS Game 2

Photo: Stacie Wheeler

The Dodgers handled business in game one of the NLDS, as Hyun-Jin Ryu shoved and the Dodgers donged three times en route to a 6-0 victory. After the game, Tom Verducci did not (but definitely did) as Max Muncy about pussy experience. It was a good day, and now the Dodgers have a chance to take a 2-0 lead to Atlanta.

Braves
Dodgers
6:37 PM
Los Angeles
LF
Acuña Jr.
LF
Pederson
3B
Camargo
3B
Turner
1B
Freeman
1B
Muncy
RF
Markakis
SS
Machado
C
Suzuki
RF
Puig
2B
Albies
CF
Bellinger
CF
Inciarte 2B Hernández
SS
Culberson
C
Grandal
P
Sánchez (R)
P
Kershaw (L)

Clayton Kershaw starts Game 2, which is apparently a point of drama. Ryu started Game 1 on five days’ rest and was dominant, throwing the most pitches he’s thrown in a game since August 12, 2017. Now, Kershaw gets the ball on five days’ rest. Stealing from a stat sheet that Joe Davis tweeted out earlier, Kershaw is 7-1 with a 2.56 ERA when working with five days’ rest this season.

Should this series go five games, the Dodgers will have a choice between Ryu and Kershaw, and neither will be on short rest. It’s incredible that this is actually a point of contention among Dodger fans. Shouts to random radio people suggesting that the Dodgers did this to coax Kershaw into opting out (wtf).

Anyways, the decision to start Ryu over Kershaw was also made easier by the fact that Kershaw wasn’t as dominant as we’re all used to. He was simply a normal top-tier pitcher in baseball rather than being the clear-cut best pitcher in the world. For the second time in the last three seasons, Kershaw failed to amass enough innings to qualify due to a back injury. In 2016, Kershaw was 13 innings shy of putting together an unreal season (1.69 ERA/1.80 FIP ). This season, Kershaw fell five outs shy of the 163 innings the he’d have needed to qualify. His 2.73 ERA would have been the seventh-lowest among qualified starters, and his 3.19 FIP would have been the 11th-lowest. It was an un-Kershaw-like season and it ended with a very un-Kershaw-like start in San Francisco. In the second-to-last regular season game, Kershaw allowed eight hits and five runs in five innings to a Giants team that featured two batters with OBPs over .320. It wasn’t even one of those starts where one bad inning did Kershaw in, as he allowed a run in the second and two runs in the third and fifth innings. One of Kershaw’s better starts of the season came in his only start against Atlanta this season. It was one of four starts this season where Kershaw pitched into the eighth inning, and he allowed one run and six hits in 7 2/3 innings.

Anibal Sanchez starts for the 25th time this season. He was shockingly great after his last three years in Detroit went terribly. In 136 2/3 innings, Sanchez posted a 2.83 ERA/3.62 FIP and a 1.083 WHIP, the lowest of his 13-year career. Sanchez dominated with soft contact, as Joakim Soria was the only pitcher in baseball with at least 150 batted balls against that allowed a lower average exit velocity. Sanchez’s 83.7 MPH average exit velocity was the lowest among all starters and only Brett Suter had a lower percentage of hard-hit balls against him. Sanchez allowed 95 “hard-hit” balls against him in 372 batted balls against, with only Suter and relievers Kenley Jansen, Pedro Baez and Kyle Crick allowing a lower percent. Sanchez had one of his roughest starts of the season against the Dodgers, allowing four earned runs and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings. He only allowed one hit through the first four innings, but the Dodgers scored in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings off Sanchez en route to an 8-2 win.

The Dodgers have the same eight position players in todays game as they did last night. Yasmani Grandal moves down to hitting eighth and Yasiel Puig hits behind Manny Machado. The Braves have everyone in the same order, but Kurt Suzuki starts behind the plate instead of Tyler Flowers.

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The Dodgers announced Walker Buehler would start Game 3 Sunday in Atlanta. It appears we now know who his opponent will be.

Kevin Gausman is currently scheduled to start Sunday. Mike Foltynewicz is being considered to start Game 4, if necessary.

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Joe Davis will be replacing Bob Costas in the booth today. Tonight’s game (and the rest of the series) will be on FS1, not MLB Network.

About Alex Campos

Alex Campos
I'm a writer that has blogged at a whole bunch of places about a whole bunch of sports. I was most recently writing for Chavez Ravine Fiends, but was also the former editor at Dodgers Way. I graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Marketing. At Long Beach, I covered the Dirtbags in the 2014 season as an assistant sports editor at the Daily 49er.