Alright everyone, it’s that time of the year again. Clayton Kershaw is making his first start of the 2020 playoffs, with a chance to send the Milwaukee Brewers home. Definitely won’t be stressful at all. The right-handed Brandon Woodruff takes the mound for Milwaukee, as he looks to keep their season alive.
|7:08 P.M.||Los Angeles|
|LF||Yelich (L)||SS||Seager (L)|
|P||Woodruff (R)||P||Kershaw (L)|
The Dodgers will run out nearly the exact same lineup as last night, with the only change being Austin Barnes catching instead of Will Smith. Smith will still be in the lineup, batting fifth as the designated hitter. This makes the lineup change essentially just having Barnes batting instead of Edwin Rios. Mookie Betts had two doubles last night, and came five feet short of having a home run as well. Corey Seager did have the home run, hitting one 447 dead center. Luckily enough four runs was enough to win, but the team somehow managed to leave a ridiculous 15 runners on base. That’s not an ideal recipe for success. Tyrone Taylor and Chris Taylor will both hit seventh for their respective teams.
The Brewers shift their lineup around so that Christian Yelich is the only left-handed batter in the game against Kershaw. Looking at Kershaw’s splits, it shows that the damage he allowed this season mainly came against left-handed batters. He allowed three home runs against LHB in just 14.2 innings, with a 24.5% strikeout rate and 4.49 FIP. In his 43.2 innings against right-handed batters, he allowed just five home runs, with a 29.2% strikeout rate and 2.92 FIP. Small sample sizes here, but it’s not nothing. Something to keep an eye on is that during his last two starts, he featured two of his lowest average fastball velocities of the season at 91.2 and 90.8 MPH. As long as he has command and separation between his fastball and slider, he should be fine. Should be fine.
We don’t need to talk about his last postseason outing, it was last year and it was out of the bullpen in an elimination game. It was fine, turned out great.
Woodruff is a very good pitcher. Over 73.2 innings this season, he posted a 3.05 ERA, 3.20 FIP and a 0.99 WHIP. Among 111 starters with at least 40 innings pitched, his 31.1% strikeout rate was 14th, and the remainder of his stats put him squarely among the top 15-20 starters in baseball. In his last start, he went eight innings striking out ten and allowing just two hits. It’s unlikely the Dodgers get as many opportunities as they did last night, so they’ll have to capitalize on every opportunity they get.
In other news,
The Oakland A’s managed to squeak out the game three win against the White Sox, but ESPN having Ramon Laureano mic’d up was very controversial. Not only this play which is great, but as he charged a ball hit to him with runners on, you can see him adjust his ear piece as he’s approaching the ball.
Justin Turner was also mic’d up during the game last night, but Dave Roberts has said he is not going to allow any more on field interviews. This is absolutely the right call, a bit ridiculous of ESPN to try and do this during the postseason, especially during a three game series.
Roberts and Brusdar Graterol seem to still have faith in Jansen, which makes approximately two.
First pitch is at 7:08 PT on ESPN — If the Padres/Cardinals game is still going at 7:08 which it most certainly will be, the game will likely start on ESPN2. I’ll update if anything else changes.