Well everyone, despite a 3-1 series deficit in the NLCS, the Dodgers made it to the World Series. The team accomplished the 3-1 comeback, which had only happened 13 other times in postseason history. The most recent time was the 2016 Chicago Cubs coming back from the 3-1 deficit to win the World Series over Cleveland. Thankfully, with Clayton Kershaw FINALLY not pitching unnecessarily on short rest or out of the bullpen in an elimination game, he is on full rest for the game one start against the Rays. He’ll go up against the overpowering right-handed Tyler Glasnow.
|2B||Lowe (L)||SS||Seager (L)|
|3B||Wendle (L)||CF||Bellinger (L)|
|CF||Kiermaier (L)||LF||Pederson (L)|
|P||Glasnow (R)||P||Kershaw (L)|
For an overall look at the entire matchup between the two teams, check out this piece that Dustin wrote.
The Dodgers will once again run out their alternating right-handed and left-handed lineup against the right-handed Glasnow. With Austin Barnes catching, the only real decision to make was between Will Smith or Edwin Rios at designated hitter. As good as Rios has been, he has six strikeouts in his 16 postseason plate appearances, a 37.5% strikeout rate. With a career 28.1% strikeout rate, this can often times be a limiting factor when putting him into the lineup. Will Smith had just a 16.1% strikeout rate this season, accompanying a 14.6% walk rate. Glasnow can be wild at times, so with his overpowering stuff, the matchup may favor Smith’s patience and ability to work the count.
Glasnow has made four starts this postseason, and as good as he can be, he’s given up at least two earned runs in three of those four starts. The one start he didn’t give up a run was just a two inning stint on short rest. He features a 4.66 ERA and a 5.88 FIP in this postseason, allowing six home runs in just 19.1 innings. Although he has the high ERA and FIP, his home run per fly-ball rate is a ridiculously high 31.6%. His expected FIP based on a regular home run per fly-ball rate is adjusted to a 3.74 FIP. With a significant amount of very hard hit balls ending up on the warning track at Globe Life Field, he could conceivably perform much better there as it seems to be a pitchers park thus far. In 2020, he featured a 38.2% strikeout rate, trailing only Shane Bieber and Jacob deGrom — elite company. At the same time, he was also in the top twenty in walk-rate with 22 walks and seven wild pitches in just 57.1 innings. He’s honestly a bit of a wild card — he hasn’t been good this postseason, but his stuff can be so overpowering that he can have an incredible start every time he takes the mound. He is however susceptible to giving up walks and home runs, both of which play into the Dodgers’ strengths.
Tampa Bay also has an elite pen featuring matchup nightmares. If the Dodgers don’t get to Glasnow early, Tampa could have a real edge this game.
Overall, Kershaw has been good this postseason with a 3.32 ERA and 3.14 FIP over 19 innings. He has a 0.95 WHIP, with 23 strikeouts and just two walks over his three starts. This is also skewed by his fantastic start against the Brewers in the Wild Card Series, as he’s allowed seven earned runs over his last two starts, resulting in a 5.73 ERA and a .879 OPS allowed. The Rays offense overall is significantly weaker than that of the Braves or the Padres, but they still crush left-handed pitching with a 121 wRC+, which was good for fourth in the league.
With Glasnow on the mound, Kershaw will need to be better than his last two starts. In his start against the Braves, three of his four earned runs came in the sixth inning, where the top of the lineup saw him for the third time. In his start against the Padres, two of his three earned runs came in the sixth inning as he once again faced the top of the order. Coincidental? The Dodgers may just need five good innings from Kershaw and leave the remaining innings up to their bullpen. The Rays offense has been significantly worse against right-handed pitching, so Kershaw may just need to hold a lead or keep the game close until the Dodgers right-handed relievers can enter the game.
In other news,
This is relatively expected, however Dave Roberts also noted that Dustin May and Julio Urias could be available in relief. Luckily, the bullpen management is not my job. If it’s a very close game, you’ll typically go to your best relievers to close it out and figure out the plan for game two after that.
This is super cool. These highlight and hype videos have been put together really well.
This is really interesting to take a look at. The roster turnover has been significant, but all the core pieces have remained the same.
After a quick meeting with the training staff he’s supposedly doing fine, but this seemingly represents Max Muncy‘s defense this postseason.
This is a good sign matchup wise, as I was under the assumption that they both were hitting over .500 against him based on watching them while they were on the Padres.
First pitch is at 5:11 PT on Fox.