Game 2 of the NLCS features starting lineups a little different than expected for the Dodgers and Braves, both because of injury.
Clayton Kershaw was scratched from his Tuesday start with back spasms, and Tony Gonsolin will start on the mound in his place. That means no Austin Barnes behind the plate, and Will Smith will catch for the second straight night.
That opens up the designated hitter spot for Joc Pederson, making his third start of the postseason.
NLCS Game 2 lineups
|1B||Freeman (L)||SS||Seager (L)|
|LF||Markakis (L)||DH||Pederson (L)|
Pederson was 2-for-3, driving in a pair of runs in the Dodgers’ NLDS clincher in Game 3 against San Diego.
Edwin Ríos, who started at designated hitter in Game 1 of the wild card series but missed the NLDS with a groin injury, is active again for the NLCS, but might be limited to pinch-hitting duty only for the first part of the series.
“I’m in a pretty good spot right now. We have a plan, and we’re going to go with that,” Ríos said on Tuesday. “I’m ready for whatever. I want to get out there and play.”
Through 66 games this season, the Dodgers have been held below six total runs in any two-game span only four times: 3 runs (August 10-11 vs. San Diego), 4 runs (August 27-28 vs. San Francisco & Texas), 5 runs twice (July 25-26 vs. San Francisco, and September 14-15 vs. San Diego).
The Braves have their first lineup change of the postseason, after Adam Duvall suffered a left oblique injury in Game 1, and was removed from the roster.
Cristian Pache, who took over for Duvall on Monday, starts and bats ninth in Game 2. He’s in center, with Ronald Acuña Jr. moving to right and Nick Markakis in left, probably the best defensive outfield for the Braves that doesn’t involve Ender Inciarte.
It’s just the second major league start for the 21-year-old Pache, who was a consensus top-25 prospect in baseball before the season.
Gonsolin faced the Braves once in 2019, allowing a run on four innings in Atlanta. Among Braves in the lineup on Tuesday, Acuña was 1-for-2 against Gonsolin, Marcell Ozuna was 0-for-1 with a walk, while Freddie Freeman, Travis d’Arnaud, and Ozzie Albies were each 0-for-2.