Hernández has played in nine of the Dodgers’ first 10 games this postseason, but seven games were as a reserve. He was 0-for-5 with three strikeouts and a hit by pitch with no starts in the first two rounds, but he’s 3-for-7 in the NLCS, including a home run in Game 1 against Fried, the Dodgers’ only run of that game.
Hernández said the clubhouse was more fired up than usual before Saturday’s game, still wired off Friday night’s comeback win.
“I can tell you that this is probably my first day game in six years as a Dodger that I’ve seen this much energy before a day game in the clubhouse,” Hernández said. “There’s music. There’s some screaming going on. There’s a little bit of dancing, mostly by me.
“We got a good thing going on right now.”
This is Hernández’s third start of the series, this one coming with Chris Taylor out of the lineup one day after injuring his right ankle making a throw from left field.
NLCS Game 6 lineups
|1B||Freeman (L)||SS||Seager (L)|
With Taylor out, the Dodgers opted for their only other right-handed bat available to start, putting Austin Barnes at catcher with Will Smith as the designated hitter. The Dodgers only started a catcher in a true day game after starting the previous night once this season, when Smith caught the final two games of a series in San Diego on Sept. 15-16.
(I’m not counting when Barnes started back-to-back games against the Mariners on August 17-18, because the second “day” game was a 4:10 p.m. start.)
That leaves a bench with three left-handed batters (Joc Pederson, Edwin Ríos, Matt Beaty) and the right-handed Taylor, who received treatment from trainers Friday night and Saturday morning, and did not need any MRI or X-rays in their estimation.
“He’s just going to kind of keep treating it, move around, and I expect him to be available if the situation calls for it at some point today,” manager Dave Roberts said.
Freddie Freeman homered against Walker Buehler in Game 1, the only run scored against Buehler in five innings. Freeman also homered in Game 2, and has been a monster all series. The likely National League MVP favorite is 8-for-18 (.444/.524/.944) with three doubles, two home runs, six runs scored, and six RBI in the NLCS.
“He hits left and right. He covers all quadrants, and speed. It’s tough,” Roberts said of Freeman. “We’ve pitched him well at times. When we do make mistakes, he’s made us pay. That’s what you get when you’re talking about an MVP-caliber player.”
The Dodgers are the home team in Game 6, and will be again in Game 7 should they win on Saturday.