LOS ANGELES — Nothing has been made official, but it sure looks like Lance Lynn will start for the Dodgers in Game 3 of the National League Division Series on Wednesday night when the series shifts to Chase Field in Phoenix.
Lynn pitched four innings in an intrasquad scrimmage at Dodger Stadium last Thursday in keeping ready for his next outing, with manager Dave Roberts saying last week that Lynn was “in play” for Game 3. On Monday at Dodger Stadium, Roberts was a bit more firm in the decision.
“As I sit here right now, I don’t see anyone outside of Lance starting Game 3. We’ll see how tonight goes, but I think that’s a pretty safe bet,” Roberts said before Game 2. “For us it’s a guy that’s been there before. We trust in the fact that he’s going to pitch well, and to have a group of arms behind him.
“I feel very confident that’s why we got him, to come here and pitch big innings for us.”
Lynn did pitch big innings for the Dodgers after they acquired him from the White Sox on July 29. Since joining the team, Lynn’s 64 innings were second on the team, two outs behind Bobby Miller, helping to stabilize a starting rotation that was in disarray at midseason.
Lynn put up a 4.36 ERA in those innings and allowed 16 home runs, part of his 44 home runs allowed on the season, the most given up by a major league pitcher in a dozen years and tied for the sixth-highest total in MLB history.
How long Lynn is asked to pitch in Game 3 remains to be seen. He might end up being the only starting pitcher in this series to not have faced his opponent during this regular season.
The Dodgers also plan to aggressively use their high-leverage relievers if they can get a lead.
Ryan Pepiot, who threw simulated innings during Friday’s workout at Dodger Stadium, is also in play to pitch in Game 3, as Roberts said last week. Pepiot had better numbers than Lynn, with a 2.14 ERA in 42 innings, with 38 strikeouts against only five walks.
Pepiot had a similar strikeout rate (23.9 percent) to Lynn on the season (23.6 percent), though Lynn only struck out 17.2 percent of his batters faced since joining Los Angeles.
“I can see Ryan pitching in that game,” Roberts said Monday.
Whenever Pepiot pitches he’ll make his postseason debut, one of four rookie pitchers on the Dodgers NLDS roster.
The Dodgers also reiterated their plan to start Clayton Kershaw in Game 4, which will be on four days rest. Emmet Sheehan, who pitched 3⅔ innings in relief in Game 1, will also be available in a bulk role if needed in Game 4.
The Diamondbacks in Game 3 will most likely turned to rookie Brandon Pfaadt, who started their wild card opener in Milwaukee but was pulled after allowing three runs in 2⅔ innings. Arizona manager Torey Lovullo wouldn’t fully commit to his Game 3 starter ahead of Game 2.
“There’s a very obvious candidate. That’s probably the target. That’s where we’re going to be leaning,” Lovullo said before Game 2. “But let’s get through today and I’ll give you guys that. I know it’s TBA right now.”