With eight regular starters, there’s usually really only one choice, maybe two depending if Will Smith will be the designated hitter on days he doesn’t catch. Smith catches Walker Buehler in Game 1, leaving only one lineup decision.
With left-hander Brent Suter starting on the mound for the Brewers, the Dodgers will go with Edwin Ríos at designated hitter, eschewing the more platoon-susceptible Kiké Hernández and Joc Pederson, who are available to pinch hit later in the game.
It’s the first postseason game for Ríos, who hit .250/.301/.645 this season, with three of his eight home runs against southpaws in only 19 plate appearances.
“I love the balance in the lineup,” manager Dave Roberts said Wednesday. “I love Eddie, getting an at-bat against Suter.”
For what it’s worth, left-hander Brent Suter, starting on the mound for the Brewers, lasted three, three, three, and four innings in his four starts this season.
Only five active Dodgers have faced Suter before, none more than two at-bats. All stem from a single start on July 22, 2018, in Milwaukee. Justin Turner doubled, and Chris Taylor had a two-run single.
Game 1 lineups
Suter lost that game, allowing six runs in three innings, though the bulk of the damage came from two home runs by Matt Kemp.
Among the Brewers to have faced Walker Buehler is Jedd Gyorko, who has reached base five times — a double, two singles, and two walks — in six plate appearances, all in 2018-19 with the Cardinals. Both Christian Yelich and Orlando Arcia are 3-for-7 with a home run against Buehler, both dingers coming in the 2018 NLCS.
Yelich for the Brewers is batting leadoff for the first time since 2018, after batting only second or third during the last two regular seasons.
These head-to-head numbers are one thing, but also help illuminate one of the quirks of the 2020 season. The Dodgers only played teams in the NL West and AL West, so this is their first time seeing Milwaukee in person in a year. Same goes for the Brewers in scouting the Dodgers.
“You’ve got to go back to some video, and you just haven’t really seen them up close and personal, because guys change year to year,” Roberts said Tuesday. “We haven’t seen this Devin Williams. We’ve seen a lot of video, but to see him firsthand would have been helpful.”