keyboard_arrow_uptop

Dodgers/Cardinals

The Dodgers face an elimination game and have the best pitcher in baseball taking the mound for them on three days' rest. Here is a look at the PECOTA odds and projected lineups for Game Four of the NLDS.

Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw) at Cardinals (Shelby Miller), Tuesday, 5:00 EST
PECOTA odds of winning: 70.5% Dodgers, 29.5% Cardinals

Projected Starting Lineups

Dodgers vs. Miller (R)

Cardinals vs. Kershaw (L)

Dee Gordon (L) 2B

Matt Carpenter (L) 3B

Yasiel Puig (R) CF

Randal Grichuk (R) RF

Adrian Gonzalez (L) 1B

Matt Holliday (R) LF

Matt Kemp (R) RF

Jhonny Peralta (R) SS

Hanley Ramirez (R) SS

Yadier Molina (R) C

Carl Crawford (L) LF

Matt Adams (L) 1B

Juan Uribe (R) 3B

Pete Kozma (R) 2B

A.J. Ellis (R) C

Jon Jay (L) CF

Clayton Kershaw (R) P

Shelby Miller (R) P

Injuries/Availability: Even on short rest, expect Mattingly to lean on Kershaw. It’s an elimination game for Los Angeles, so all hands on deck and all that good stuff. The Dodgers bullpen hasn’t been taxed, but the guess here is that Mattingly would prefer to avoid all of them except closer Kenley Jansen. Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal was the only reliever to toss more than 20 pitches on Monday night, but after a day off on Sunday, he’ll likely still be available.

Outlook: Again, the Cardinals face a lefty, which plays to their strength as an offense. Ryu stymied them and Kershaw did the same for six innings, but the numbers (about 30 points of OPS) say they prefer facing southpaws. Regardless, it’s Kershaw. Yes, he had the stinker-seventh on Friday. Yes, he also had the rough outing against the Cardinals last postseason. But it would still be surprise if Kershaw didn’t come out and deliver a Cy Young-like performance. His only other start on three days' rest came last postseason against the Atlanta Braves. Kershaw was his regular dominant-self in that outing, tossing six innings, giving up two runs (both unearned) on three hits while striking out six and walking just one. As per usual, it’s probably unwise to bet against Kershaw.

It’ll be interesting to see if the Cardinals stick with the Game One lineup (above) that eventually got to Kershaw or if Game Three hero, Kolten Wong, finds his way back in the starting lineup.

Yasiel Puig has struck out in eight of his last nine plate appearances, but that one non-K was a triple in Game Three, which led to the Dodgers only run of the game. While the Cardinals strategy of pounding him away has mostly worked thus far, his triple was on an outside pitch that he drove into the right field corner. If Puig’s bat awakens, the Dodgers certainly can display the offense that was in full-force in Game One’s shocking loss. Really, Los Angeles has enough talent in the lineup to score in bunches even if Puig slumbers for a bit longer.

PECOTA likes the Dodgers, or more accurately, it loves them. Though both offenses have quieted down after an unexpectedly high-scoring Game One, the Dodgers putting up a crooked number against Miller certainly seems more likely than the Cardinals doing so against Kershaw for the second time in five days.

Nationals/Giants

There is an ongoing trend thus far in this series, in which the team with the superior starter on the mound has lost each of the past three games. If that trend continues, then the Giants will be uncorking the champagne after a defeat of Gio Gonzalez and the Nats, though PECOTA sees Washington overcoming San Francisco's home field advantage to bring things back to D.C. for a Game Five. Here is a look at the PECOTA odds and projected lineups for Game Four of the NLDS.

Nationals (Gio Gonzalez) at Giants (Ryan Vogelsong), Tuesday, 9:07 pm EST
PECOTA odds of winning: Nationals 53.3%, Giants 46.6%

Projected Starting Lineups:

Giants vs. Gonzalez (L)

Nationals vs. Vogelsong (R)

Hunter Pence (R) RF

Denard Span (L) CF

Joe Panik (L) 2B

Anthony Rendon (R) 3B

Buster Posey (R) C

Jayson Werth (R) RF

Pablo Sandoval (S) 3B

Adam LaRoche (L) 1B

Brandon Belt (L) 1B

Ian Desmond (R) SS

Gregor Blanco (L) CF

Bryce Harper (L) LF

Brandon Crawford (L) SS

Wilson Ramos (R) C

Juan Perez (R) LF

Asdrubal Cabrera (S) 2B

Ryan Vogelsong (R) P

Gio Gonzalez (L) P

Injury/Availability Notes: Pablo Sandoval was banged up via the infamous sacrifice of Game Three that gave the game to the Nats, and it's possible that he comes off the bench rather than play the full game against a southpaw starter. Jeremy Affeldt has appeared in all three games for San Francisco, though he has thrown just 23 pitches over the last four days (including three tosses in Monday's contest), so he is likely available for some LOOGY work at the least. Yusmeiro Petit is probably a non-option after tossing 80 pitches in Saturday's marathon, but Tim Lincecum has yet to be used and could be an emergency replacement if Vogelsong falters. Craig Stammen threw 50 pitches across the first two games, though he should be available for a short outing after two days of rest. Ryan Zimmerman will likely remain in the pinch-hitting role for Game Four, after failing to draw the start against a lefty in Game Three; otherwise the Nats will likely trot out the same imposing lineup that they have used for the first three games of the series.

Outlook

The Giants have a lot of lefties in their typical lineup, but they will likely make a couple of changes versus Gio Gonzalez. Gio has a nearly-even platoon split for his career, and in fact left-handed bats have hit for a bit more power against him, and many of the Giants regulars have fared well against same-sided pitching (including Joe Panik and Brandon Crawford, albeit in small samples). The likely adjustments include a right-handed outfielder in place of Travis Ishikawa and a shuffling of the batting order, allowing the Giants to split up their lefty bats by putting Hunter Pence closer to the top.

Anthony Rendon has been absolutely on fire for the Nationals, both in this series (nearly one-third of the team's hits) and for the season as a whole. A key for the Nats is for Adam LaRoche and Jayson Werth to pick up the slack and make the most of those opportunities when Rendon sets the table – Werth and LaRoche are a combined 2-for-28 with nine strikeouts and three walks in the series. Similar to his rotation-mates, Gonzalez finished the regular season on a tear; the lefty tore through September with a 2.48 ERA and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 31-to-5, including a final start that featured a dozen strikeouts and just three baserunners across seven frames versus the Mets. Pitching has been the cornerstone of the 2014 Nationals, and the Washington faithful have to hope that the first couple of games were more aberration than indication of events to come