The Dodgers need just one win to advance to the NLCS, while the Padres will have to execute a major miracle to sweep the final three games of this series. Both teams have yet to announce their pitching plans, and both have options for today’s game. The Dodgers have much more flexibility with their pitching staff, and could go with either a starter or an opener strategy. For the Padres, the pitching picture is a little murkier. The taxed bullpen will have to shoulder the load as the starting staff has been decimated lately by injury.
The series started badly for the Padres. Start Mike Clevinger lasted into the second inning before suffering from an inflamed elbow, which took him off the playoff roster. The bullpen allowed five runs, but even worse, had to carry the brunt of the innings from game one. With no off day, the strain on that bullpen could be apparent as the series goes deeper. Also, with Clevinger and Dinelson Lamet out for the series, the Padres bullpen could be called upon to pitch the entirety of up to two games.
If losing Clevinger was not bad enough, the Padres also lost the game 5-1. A Padre error led to a Dodger run to tie the game in the fifth inning, and then Los Angeles exploded for four runs in the six inning, and the dominant Dodger bullpen held the Padres scoreless over the final four frames to take game one. In game two, Cody Bellinger robbed Fernando Tatis, Jr. of a go-ahead sixth inning home run on a phenomenal catch, and then the Dodgers had to survive a bases loaded jam in the top of the ninth to take the two game lead.
Dodgers One Win Away from NLCSAs of press time, the Dodgers have yet to announce a starter for game three. Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin have started games this season, but Dustin May pitched two innings in the series opener. Gonsolin makes sense, and his 2.31 ERA and 2.29 FIP indicate he is ready for a high stakes postseason start. Against the Padres, Gonsolin pitched 11.2 innings across two starts, allowing just a single run on seven hits while striking out 10 hitters.
Through four postseason games, the Dodger bullpen has been dominant. Los Angeles relievers combined to shut out the Reds and Padres for 13 consecutive innings before Kenley Jansen surrendered two runs in the top of the ninth. Jansen gave way to Joe Kelly, who walked Fernando Tatis, Jr. and Manny Machado before coaxing Eric Hosmer into a game ending ground out to second base. Jansen’s struggles could take him out of the closer role as the series continues, but the Dodgers have plenty of options.
You cannot talk about the Dodgers without mentioning Mookie Betts, who has slashed a torrid .385/.429/.692 with a 1.121 OPS and four doubles in three playoff games. Cody Bellinger has also slashed .273/.333/.273 with three hits. Corey Seager hit a pair of doubles in game two, and Max Muncy also had a pair of hits for the deep and dangerous lineup.
Padres Face Elimination, Sweep at the Hands of the DodgersLike the Dodgers, the Padres have yet to announce their game three starter, more out of necessity due to the injuries to the pitching staff. Chris Paddack is the most likely choice for starter, but the Padres have options with a ton of young talent in Adrian Morejan, Luis Patino, and Ryan Weathers at starter, but their playoff readiness is still in question. The trio has combined to pitch 6.2 scoreless innings in the playoffs thus far.
The Padres offense will need to find their gear to help out a beleaguered pitching staff. Going into game two of the series, Tommy Pham, Fernando Tatis, Jr., and Jake Cronenworth had led the Padres offense. Pham has gone 7-for-17, while Tatis, Jr. has slashed .375/.474/.813 with two home runs. Cronenworth leads the team with a 1.422 OPS. Despite those numbers, the Padres were able to only muster four hits in the opener. In game two, the Padres did hit a couple home runs and finally broke through against the Dodger bullpen.
- San Diego: N/A
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