Dodgers @ Braves NLCS Game 4: Kershaw vs. Wilson

In a rout that featured an eleven run first inning, the Dodgers won their first game of the NLCS, to put themselves in a situation to tie the series with Clayton Kershaw on the mound. Julio Urias provided five innings, while the other four innings were covered by Kenley Jansen, Pedro Baez, Alex Wood, and Adam Kolarek. Daniel wrote a piece earlier today regarding Jansen’s recent struggles. Kershaw will take the mound today with a relatively rested bullpen behind him against Bryse Wilson, the twenty-two year old rookie.

5:08 P.M. Arlington
RF Betts RF Acuña Jr.
SS Seager (L) 1B Freeman (L)
3B Turner DH Ozuna
1B Muncy (L) C d’Arnaud
LF Pederson (L) 2B Albies (S)
CF Bellinger (L) SS Swanson
DH Ríos (L) LF Riley
2B Hernández 3B Camargo (S)
C Barnes CF Pache
P Kershaw (L) P Wilson (R)

After a huge offensive day with four hits including the first inning three run homer, Joc Pederson will slide up to fifth in the batting order. He’s now five for nine in the series with one walk and no strikeouts. With Austin Barnes behind the plate like usual with Kershaw pitching, Will Smith will start the game on the bench and likely be the first guy up in a pinch hitting position. Smith and Chris Taylor both struck out three times yesterday, so Enrique Hernandez will get the start over Taylor. Hernández had two solid plate appearances yesterday, with a single and a walk, and also hit the solo home run in game one. Edwin Rios and Justin Turner will swap places, with Turner playing third and Rios at designated hitter. If a left-handed reliever were to come into the game, AJ Pollock with his 1.185 OPS against left-handed pitching will also be readily available. The Dodgers have another fantastic matchup today against the young right-hander.


Grant Dayton and Huascar Ynoa combined for six innings yesterday for the Braves, with Jacob Webb and Shane Greene handling the last two. This means they have Wilson and likely six or seven relievers available to make it through today.

Wilson is yet to pitch in the playoffs, and last pitched in a game on September 27 where he threw just 66 pitches. His season high for pitches is 82 on September 9, and unless he’s ridiculously efficient, it’s likely he can’t go super deep into the game. Max Fried won’t start till game six, meaning outside of Wilson today, the Braves don’t have many multi inning options today OR tomorrow. Wilson has thrown a total of just 15.2 innings this season, featuring a 4.02 ERA and 4.85 FIP. He has fifteen strikeouts and nine walks over that stretch, and just like Wright yesterday, Wilson has a really tough task ahead of him.

Kershaw now has a 1.93 ERA through his two starts this postseason, including 19 strikeouts in 14 innings, while featuring a 37.3% strikeout rate. He went six innings, allowing three earned runs with no walks and six strikeouts in his previous start against the Padres. By the book that’s a quality start, and it was enough for the team to get the win.

He didn’t pitch poorly in that outing, Wil Myers managed to poke a ball into the right-center gap, Manny Machado homered on a slider below the zone, and Eric Hosmer hit a solo home run on what was definitely a bad fastball left in a poor spot. A solid outing against a top tier offense, and now it’s time to face another. Kershaw has allowed just a .580 OPS to right-handed batters this season, featuring a 2.92 FIP, 0.87 WHIP, and a 29.2% strikeout rate, with 49 strikeouts in 43.2 innings. Just like yesterday with Urías, outside of Freddie Freeman, this Atlanta offense is predominantly right-handed — another advantageous matchup for the Dodgers.


In other news,

This one minute edit from the 15-3 win yesterday is really cool.

If you open the tweet and scroll down, you can see the whole excerpt from Wood’s short interview. It’s pretty well put in regards to being down 2-0 and responding in a big way.

Hopefully Pederson stays dialed in as he moves up in the order, as he had just 14 starts this season at fifth in the lineup or higher.

As expected, Fried will not start in game five, and the Braves don’t have a ton of guys who can go tomorrow.

Just like Atlanta, Dave Roberts is yet to name a game five starter as the plan for tomorrow also depends on the result from today. Today is still a must-win game, so the starter for tomorrow is a future issue.


First pitch is at 5:08 PT on Fox.

About Allan Yamashige

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Just a guy living in Southern California, having a good time writing about baseball. Hated baseball practice as a kid, but writing about it rules. Thanks for reading!