1) Beat The Rays Starters
The Rays have possibly the best trio of starters in baseball, Glasnow, Snell, and Morton. (Granted two of them are having very average postseasons) If the Dodgers want to win this series, the other starters need to follow Kershaw’s example and out-pitch their counterpart. Luckily, the Dodgers have the ability to go toe-to-toe with the Ray’s big 3.
Dodgers Big 3: Postseason Record and ERA
- Clayton Kershaw: 3-1, 2.88 ERA, 0.84 WHIP (Won Game 1)
- Walker Buehler: 2-0, 1.80 ERA, 1.20 WHIP (Won Game 3)
- Julio Urias: 4-0, 0.56 ERA, 0.63 WHIP
Rays Big 3: Record and ERA
- Tyler Glasnow: 2-2, 6.08 ERA, 1.44 WHIP (Lost Game 1)
- Blake Snell: 2-2, 3.33 ERA, 1.32 WHIP (Pitched in the Game 2 Win)
- Charlie Morton: 3-1, 2.70 ERA, 1.15 WHIP (Lost Game 3)
Most games will most likely start with a rubber match. And with momentum being a huge advantage in the playoffs, early runs will most likely lead to wins.
Now the Dodgers have the advantage in game 4 as they send out what has been an almost perfect Julio Urias. The Rays are likely having a bullpen game. It’s almost the exact reverse of the Game 2 script for the teams.
If all goes well, Kershaw will look to end the series tomorrow night and win a World Series MVP.
2) Walk and Slug
Good things tend to happen when the Dodgers walk and hit for extra bases. This one may seem obvious, but good things follow when you walk in a lineup filled with home run hitters. Take a look a the Dodger’s NLCS stats.
- NLCS Walks/Homers/Win or Loss
- Game 1: 2 BB, 1 HR, 11 K’s, Loss (1 run)
- Game 2: 6 BB, 2 HR, 1 triple, 1 double, 11 K’s, Loss (7 runs)
- Game 3: 8 BB, 5 HR, 3 doubles, 12 K’s, Win (15 runs)
- Game 4: 4 BB, 2 HR, 1 double, 7 K’s, Loss (2 runs)
- Game 5: 1 BB, 3 HR, 2 doubles, 14 K’s, Win (7 runs)
- Game 6: 5 BB, 2 HR, 5 K’s, Win (3 runs)
- Game 7: 5 BB, 2 HR, 3 doubles, 7 K’s Win (4 runs)
When the Dodgers had either 5 walks or 5 extra base hits, their record in the series was 4-1. The one loss being the brutally close 8-7 loss which was more a pitching issue, than a walking issue.
And then a quick look at the other series so far…
- NLWC against Brewers
- 2 Game sweep, 7 Dodger BB’s, 1 HR, 5 doubles, 17 strikeouts
- NLDS against Padres
- 3 Game sweep, 20 Dodger BB’s, 1 HR, 7 doubles, 1 triple 23 strikeouts
- Game 1 World Series: 7 BB, 2 HR, W (8 runs), 2 doubles, 11 strikeouts
- Game 2 WS: 4 BB, 3 HR, L (4 Runs), 1 double, 15 strikeouts
- Game 3 WS: 3 BB, 2 HR, W (6 runs), 1 double, 10 strikeouts, 10 hits, 2 stolen bases (Betts)
But this is so much more than scoring runs via homer. Walks change the game. It’s a guaranteed 4 pitches the opposing pitcher wasted of his start or appearance. Innings can go from quick to brutal. It puts the pitcher into the stretch and under pressure. Runners on second force the battery to mix up their signs.
The Dodger’s have already pulled off double steals twice that have scored all 4 possible runs because of walks.
3) CLOSE THE DAMN GAME
What started as the best bullpen in baseball, has turned into a nail biting affair every night. Even in the Dodger’s Game 1 Win, Gonzales struggled and had to luck into a line drive double play to save himself. But that was after already giving up 2 runs.
The Dodger’s only have one pitcher that hasn’t given up a run this postseason, Joe Kelly, and it’s because he’s pitched less than 3 innings. As a whole, the bullpen has given up 23 runs in just over 40 IP.
Jansen looked to be back at the beginning of the year, but now he’s very boom or bust. Some nights he’s throwing 92-94 with good movement, and other nights he’s throwing 88 over the plate.
He’s sporting a 4.26 ERA in the postseason after the Randy homer last night. Not awful, but you need your closer to be lights out in the postseason.
And the two backups, Treinen and Graterol, have a 3.72 and 4.05 ERA respectively. The best performers so far have somehow been Baez, and Wood. After that the pitchers haven’t worked much, or have a lower ERA than Jansen.
Basically, Dave Roberts is going to need to be adaptive with this pen. Right now, some guys are coming out and just not pitching well. Roberts will need to put “roles” aside and roll with the hot hand instead like he did in Game 7 of the NLCS.
So far, the Pen has been about 50-50 for Roberts halfway through the series. 5 relievers are perfect, 5 have given up runs.