LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Dodgers 25-man roster is stacked with young players and that’s who they are turning to in Game 1. Here are what the orders looks like on both sides:
NLDS Game 1 Lineups
|Pollock LF||Turner SS|
|Freese 1B||Eaton RF|
|Turner 3B||Rendon 3B|
|Bellinger CF||Soto LF|
|Taylor RF||Kendrick 1B|
|Muncy 2B||Cabrera 2B|
|Seager SS||Robles CF|
|Smith C||Gomes C|
|Buehler P||Corbin P|
All but one of the nine Dodgers starters have played in the postseason before, with catcher Will Smith being the exception. The Fresh Prince appeared in 54 games for LA this season and impressed when he joined the team for good back in July. He batted an impressive .253/.337/.571 and racked 15 home runs over the second half.
Even though October baseball is a new experience for Smith, manager Dave Roberts is not worried about the young stud’s adjustment to the pressure.
“The baby face,” Roberts said. “Don’t let that fool you ... this guy is as tough as they come. He’s a college kid, he’s groomed, he’s intelligent ... And the pitchers are really understanding, trusting Will and so that’s been really good to see that growth.”
Young players making the postseason lineup is not unfamiliar to Dodgers fans. Over the past several years, starting rookies is a common occurrence. Mixing in young players in the past helps to get them some playoff experience, which is starting to pay off in the present.
“You look back at our three years,” Roberts said. “[Corey] Seager was one of those young players, [Cody] Bellinger was one of those young players, [Julio] Urias, one of those young players. And now you’re supplementing those guys with some other guys. Some young, new faces in [Dustin] May and Smith and Gavin Lux.”
In addition to the 20-something year olds, there are some older and wiser players ready to lead the way such as David Freese, Justin Turner and A.J. Pollock.
- The Dodgers announced Clayton Kershaw will get the nod in Game 2, facing Steven Strasburg.
- Alex Verdugo may not be ready to play in this postseason, as reported by David Vassegh.
- Rich Hill is likely the starter for Game 4 in Washington D.C.