The Dodgers look to sweep a three-game series from the Padres in San Diego this afternoon. Clayton Kershaw opposes Joey Lucchesi in the matinee matchup.
Kershaw’s last start wasn’t a great tune-up for the postseason, as he allowed four runs to the Rockies in six innings of work. Not terrible, I suppose, but he did allow three home runs, which is pretty terrible. But this is Kershaw’s last start before a presumed Game 1 start a week from today against either the Nationals or Brewers. The Dodgers have recent postseason experience against both teams, as they faced the Nats in the 2016 National League Division Series (five games) and in last year’s National League Championship Series against the Brew Crew (seven games).
If the playoffs started today, the Dodgers wouldn’t be in the best of shape. Corey Seager left last night’s game with hamstring tightness, further cementing himself as a #TrueDodger. It’s a shame because he’s coming off being named the NL Player of the Week and has been on fire in the last couple of weeks — .459/.487/.784. His season batting line sits at .274/.338/.481 for a respectable .819 OPS and 114 wRC+, especially for a plus-defender, if you’re into defensive runs saved. He should be back Friday, but we’ve heard statements like that before. Fortunately for the Dodgers, they can plug in Gavin Lux at shortstop, which opens up first- and second base for the quintet of Matt Beaty, David Freese, Enrique Hernandez, Max Muncy and Chris Taylor.
Justin Turner is also trying to recover fully from an ankle sprain. Before last night, he had started the previous three games, but he’s just 2-for-8 with two walks since coming back. I suspect he’ll play the remainder of the schedule, but don’t be surprised if he doesn’t play complete games.
Joe Kelly is fighting through a lower-body injury that has nagged him for the last few weeks. It probably won’t keep him off the postseason roster, but it’s a bit concerning that it’s presenting so much just before the playoffs begin.
On a positive note, Kenley Jansen looked as good last night as he has in a while. His cutter had good movement and velocity. It took him all of 11 pitches to dispatch of the Padres. The 95 MPH cutter he threw to Luis Urias last night elicited a surprised and optimistic reaction from Joe Davis on the broadcast. If Jansen can figure out how to be that version of himself rather than the one we’ve seen for most of the last two seasons, the Dodgers’ bullpen could be in pretty good shape.
On that note, Dustin May — in a high-leverage situation — was thoroughly impressive. He also needed just 11 pitches in what was his most dominant outing as a reliever. He might be pitching himself onto the postseason roster.
No lineups yet, but Seager isn’t playing. I’d bet Will Smith catches today in place of Russell Martin and, with a lefty on the bump, Joc Pederson will get the day off (at least to start).