The Dodgers will stick with Joc Pederson and Edwin Ríos in the starting lineup for Game 4 of the NLCS, loading up on left-handed batters against Braves starter Bryse Wilson on Thursday night.
Much like Kyle Wright in Game 3, Wilson has much better numbers against right-handers in his career. In Wilson’s parts of three seasons in the majors (42⅔ innings in total), right-handers hit him to the tune of .280/.354/.510, compared to .343/.452/.600 for lefties.
In the minors in 2019, Wilson’s splits were less severe but still apparent. In 21 Triple-A starts last year, left-handers hit .282/.326/.416 against Wilson, compared to .236/.272/.375 for righties.
Pederson and Ríos both homered against Wright in the first inning of Game 3. All five Dodgers home runs on Wednesday were hit by left-handers, with Max Muncy, Cody Bellinger, and Corey Seager joining the hit parade.
NLCS Game 4 lineups
|1B||Freeman (L)||SS||Seager (L)|
|2B||Albies (S)||LF||Pederson (L)|
Chris Taylor (4-for-28 this postseason) and Will Smith both get days off, their first non-starts this postseason, and A.J. Pollock sits for a second day in a row, with Kiké Hernandez getting a start at second base.
Mookie Betts is the only Dodger to have faced Wilson, lining out to right field on September 3, 2018 while with Boston in his only at-bat against him.
Austin Barnes will catch Clayton Kershaw on Thursday night, for the 12th time in 13 starts this season. Barnes is excellent at framing, and has a rapport with Kershaw built over time, so his reputation is more grounded in defense.
This is Barnes’ 10th postseason start catching Kershaw, more than any other catcher. A.J. Ellis started eight times behind the plate with Kershaw on the mound, and Yasmani Grandal caught Kershaw seven times in October.
But this postseason, Barnes has produced at the plate as well as behind it. He singled twice in Game 2 against the Brewers, driving in the Dodgers’ first run. He singled two more times and walked in Game 2 against the Padres, and scored on the Dodgers’ first scoring play of that game as well.
He also got into Game 3’s blowout after a trio of Dodgers starters got rest, going 0-for-2 as the designated hitter.
Among the Braves starters in Game 4, Freddie Freeman has faced Kershaw the most, going 8-for-31 with a home run, a double, and 12 strikeouts (.258/.324/.387). Ronald Acuna Jr. also has a home run and a double against Kershaw, going 2-for-10 with two strikeouts.
Marcell Ozuna is 2-for-14 (.143) with a triple and seven strikeouts against Kershaw, Travis d’Arnaud is 1-for-11 (.091) with four strikeouts, and Johan Camargo is 0-for-8 with a walk and three strikeouts.