Last night, the Dodgers were able to utilize their top four relievers to close out the game. It wasn't the conventional way of course, as Randy Wolf was pulled in the fourth inning, but the Dodgers have to be happy any time they have a lead after five or six innings and can turn the game over to their bullpen. The site of Ronald Belisario, Hong-Chih Kuo, George Sherrill, and Jonathan Broxton usually means curtains for the other team.
In a perfect world, the Dodgers will get to use those same relievers tonight, perhaps adding a pinch of Ramon Troncoso to the winning recipe. Here's a look at how these relievers did with zero games rest on the season:
|With 0 Days Rest||With Rest|
*I used Sherrill's numbers for the entire season, including his time in Baltimore.
There's really not a huge difference either way for Broxton, Sherrill, and Belisario, who have been used on back-to-back days quite often this season. The outlier is Kuo, who was only used three times in such situations all season, an understandable strategy given his injury history. Kuo was ineffective in one of his three outings, giving up a couple runs to Atlanta, a game in which he allowed his only home run since returning from the disabled list in late July. Aside from the small sample size, don't be alarmed by the high walk rate with no rest for Kuo; two of his three walks were intentionally issued to Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday to set up one of the most thrilling strikeouts of the season, the "I want Parkman" moment, if you will.
Since it's the playoffs, I would guess Kuo is available again today, if needed, although Ramon Troncoso might be added to the mix as well. Then again, Clayton Kershaw could shorten the game all by himself. But should the Dodgers need to go to the bullpen again today, fear not.
Here are the lineups. The only change for either team is Julio Lugo starting at 2B instead of Skip Schumaker.