Braves @ Dodgers NLDS Game 2: Anderson vs. Gonsolin; Kershaw scratched

Tony Gonsolin. Photo by: Stacie Wheeler

Last night’s game sucked. Max Fried shoved, Walker Buehler survived. The bullpen blew up and the bats went silent. But that level of suck doesn’t compare to this level of suck.


Say what you will about Clayton Kershaw‘s postseason woes (while completely ignoring his successes), this certainly does suck.

3:05 P.M. Arlington
RF Acuña Jr. RF Betts
1B Freeman SS Seager
DH Ozuna 3B Turner
C d’Arnaud 1B Muncy
2B Albies C Smith
SS Swanson CF Bellinger
3B Riley LF Pollock
LF Markakis DH Pederson
CF Pache 2B Taylor
P Anderson (R) P Gonsolin (R)

Kershaw was solid against the Padres in the NLDS and was set to take on rookie Ian Anderson, who has been sensational this postseason. Now, Tony Gonsolin gets the call in a matchup of rookie right-handers.

The Dodgers had the starting pitching edge coming into this series, but that gap has narrowed significantly since we don’t know just how long these back spasms will keep Kershaw out. Early indications are it isn’t a serious issue.

Encouraging.

Kershaw is definitely out for Game 3, so you have to figure Julio Urias throws the bulk innings in Game 3 (either as a starter or after an opener). If Kershaw isn’t ready for Game 4, Dustin May — also unavailable today — would likely go in either Game 4. May threw 21 pitches last night, so if the Dodgers want a longer outing for May, they may push him to Game 5 with a bullpen game in Game 4 (started by Joe Kelly or Alex Wood?), if it isn’t Kershaw.

May probably wouldn’t have thrown last night if this was known. On one hand, it probably wasn’t. On the other hand…

Either way, it isn’t an ideal situation for the Dodgers, but they do have options. In the unlikely even that they need to replace Kershaw on the roster, he’d be out of any potential World Series. If it were to happen, it would be fun for a guy like Josiah Gray to make his MLB debut in the NLCS. But we’re a long way from anything like that. All indications are that Kershaw will be ready for Game 4 or 5.

Gonsolin hasn’t pitched since Sept. 26. That was 17 days ago, so there could be some rust. I have long since questioned why he didn’t get into any playoff games up to this point, but let’s hope it’s more “he’s rested” than “he’s rusty,” because the Dodgers don’t want to go down 0-2 in this series (the “no shit” statement of the day).

For the Braves, Anderson has been sensational during the 2020 season — both regular season and playoffs. He has yet to allow a run in 11 2/3 innings. He has struck out nearly 40% of the hitters he has faced and has allowed just eight base runners. You can’t ask much more from a 22-year-old rookie in the postseason.

The Braves’ lineup features a change from last night’s, as Adam Duvall was removed from the roster with a strained oblique. He was replaced by Jair Camargo (who will likely start at third base against left-handed pitchers). Cristian Pache starts in center field, pushing Ronald Acuna Jr., to right field, making Atlanta’s outfield defense that much better. Last night’s hero Austin Riley moves up to the No. 7 spot

The Dodgers are rolling out almost the same lineup, except Joc Pederson is in for Enrique Hernandez. Pederson is starting at DH, which moves Chris Taylor to second base. I know lineup construction doesn’t mean a lot, but I’d really like to see almost anyone else hitting in the middle of the lineup right now than Max Muncy (yes, this is meant to come back and bite me in the ass, but there is a little truth to it).

Finally…

https://twitter.com/BauerOutage/status/1316053857118679040

Ab-so-fucking-lute-ly not.

First pitch is on FOX Sports 1 at 3:05 p.m., because reasons.

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.