I’m not ready to panic yet, but I am sure some of you are. The Dodgers and Nationals split the two games in Washington over the weekend and the series returns to Dodgers Stadium with the two clubs tied at one game each. The Dodgers took the first game by a 4-3 score thanks to great relief pitching and power hitting from Corey Seager and Justin Turner. Kenley Jansen recorded a 5-out save as the Dodgers took a 1-0 series lead.
Washington then struck back by beating Rich Hill and the boys in blue by a 5-2 score. The Dodger offense stranded a small army of base runners and National’s backup catcher Jose Lobaton smashed a three-run home run to put the Nationals ahead for good. Now the Dodgers are back home where they play well and feel comfortable.
The Dodgers were never expected to win both games in Washington, and that is why I am not ready to panic. A split was the best outcome we could hope for. The Nationals are good, and play just as well at home as the Dodgers do. Now if the Dodgers lose today then I will panic.
Dodgers vs. Washington – NLDS Game 3
Game Time – 1:08 PM – TV-MLBN
The Dodgers will have to face left hander Gio Gonzalez, while they give the ball to right hander Kenta Maeda. The 31-year old left hander has had a down year for the Nationals. He posted an 11-11 record with a 4.57 ERA in 32 starts. He struck out 172 and walked 59 across 177.1 innings pitched while posting a 1.3 WHIP.
The Dodgers faced Gonzalez once back on June 20, and lost. In that game Gonzalez tossed 6 innings of one-run ball and struck out 6. Gonzalez struggled a bit in September down the stretch posting a 7.43 ERA. Gonzalez is 4-6 with a 4.45 ERA on the road this season. In the regular season Gonzalez is 3-1 with a 1.69 ERA in 5 career starts against the Dodgers. The veteran lefty is 2-1 with a 2.25 ERA at Dodger Stadium. The current Dodgers are hitting just .160 (23 for 144) against Gonzalez with one home run and 14 runs driven in. Nobody has hit him well, and the Dodgers should just trust their regulars right now.
This is not the time to be playing the percentages or going with bench guys. It’s time to play the guys that got you here and have some faith in them. Doesn’t matter how they have done against left handers.
Gonzalez vs. Dodgers
As for Maeda, his last start of the regular season was not good. However he has had plenty of time to rest. When Maeda has 6 or more days of rest he has posted a 4-1 record and a 3.48 ERA. Opposing hitters are batting just .210 when he has six or more days of rest. A well rested Maeda is a good Maeda. The Japanese import did not face Washington during the regular season. Overall he finished with a 16-11 record and a 3.48 ERA in 32 starts. He struck out 179 and walked just 50 across 175.2 innings of work.
Now is not the time for the Dodgers to be playing percentages. You guys know how much I hate playing the percentages. Take Yasmani Grandal for example. I know some of you were calling for his head after game 2, but consider this. If the Dodgers play Ruiz in game 3 they are losing a huge power source from the middle of the lineup. I don’t care what Ruiz has done 5 years ago against Gonzalez or the Nationals. Ruiz hasn’t been a good hitter in years and Grandal hit 27 home runs during the regular season. You can’t take out a legitimate power threat in your lineup and replace him with a B-hitter that hasn’t been a run producing threat in several years. Same goes for the rest of the left handed hitters in the lineup.
What the Dodgers need is for the regulars to start making adjustments during games. Stop using the same swings on the same pitches. Make those in-game adjustments and change your plate approaches. They didn’t do that in game 2.
The Dodgers also need a quality start from Kenta Maeda. The Dodgers need to start hitting left handed pitching (They are already 1 for 14 against lefties in the series), and I don’t know maybe stop pitching to Daniel Murphy would also help.
Check out the lineups for today:
Dodgers Lineup vs. Washington
#Dodgers NLDS Game 3 lineup:
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) October 10, 2016
Looks like Yasiel Puig is in the lineup and batting cleanup behind Corey Seager. Joc Pederson gets dropped to eighth in the batting order, and Charlie Culberson is playing second base. The rest of the lineup looks mostly normal. Thank god. I still think Andrew Toles should be playing instead of the ice cold Howie Kendrick.
Here is the Washington Lineup
You can catch the game at 1:08 PM on MLB Network. All I can say is keep the faith until they lose today, then lose yourself.