The Key To A Dodger Miracle: Two Lefty Starters Lined Up

kershaw_all-star_2013-07-16As the NLCS takes a travel day, the odds are still stacked against the Dodgers. They have to win each of the next two games, while the Cardinals need only win one, and they need to do it in St. Louis, where they dropped each of the first two games. It’s far from impossible that a team this good can manage to win two road games in a row, but it’s also going to be extremely difficult, especially with how limited Hanley Ramirez has been and the incredibly up-and-down nature of the offense as a whole, particularly with Michael Wacha & Adam Wainwright looming.

But if there is one thing that Dodger fans can hang their hats on, it’s this: Clayton Kershaw in Game 6, Hyun-jin Ryu in Game 7. That’s not just because it’s “the best pitcher on the planet and also a very good pitcher,” but also because if the Cardinals want to advance to the World Series, they’re going to be staring at two lefty starters in a row to do it — and we know that’s their primary weakness.

For example, Viva el Birdos on what lefties are doing to St. Louis first baseman Matt Adams:

Adams has gotten badly exposed against the Dodgers’ pitching, and their left-handers in particular. Adams had a strong platoon split in an admittedly not huge sample size in MLB: he has a 61 wRC+ for his MLB career against lefties, but hits right-handers for a 138 wRC+. Even taking the sample size into consideration, it seems likely that Matt Adams poses a serious liability against lefties. With Allen Craig out with a serious injury, the Cardinals don’t have a lot of choice about what they do at first base. The current plan seems to involve burying Adams at 6th or 7th in the order and crossing our collective fingers.

They go so far as to suggest perhaps starting David Freese at first (a position he has exactly one career start in) to save Adams for big pinch-hitting spots against righty relievers, though that seems unlikely to happen. (It’s also a good reminder that for all the injury woes the Dodgers have had, losing Craig — along with earlier injuries to Jaime Garcia, Rafael Furcal, & Chris Carpenter — has been a huge blow to St. Louis.)

It’s not just limited to Adams’ 2-for-14 against lefties in the playoffs, either. Matt Holliday is 2-for-12. Matt Carpenter is 2-for-13, with a triple. Yadier Molina is 1-for-9 with a walk. Jon Jay is 2-for-9. It can’t be ignored that most of those plate appearances came against guys like Kershaw, Ryu, and Pittsburgh lefties Francisco Liriano, Justin Wilson, & Tony Watson in the first round, because those are all extremely quality pitchers, but St. Louis troubles against lefties have been a season-long concern. And, obviously, it’s not like the Dodgers don’t have plenty of offensive questions themselves.

But if the Dodgers are going to make a miraculous comeback, it’s going to start with pitching, especially if Zack Greinke really is available to back up Ryu in relief in Game 7. Having two lefty starters lined up, especially with how fantastic Ryu looked in Game 3, is just about the best possible position to be in to take advantage of St. Louis weaknesses.

1136 comments
DBrim
DBrim moderator

Whatever. We replaced a guy who will almost never play in the majors with a guy who will almost never play in the majors.

Coffee Head
Coffee Head

cardinals' fans complaining ab furcal injury makes me lol

Coffee Head
Coffee Head

wasn't castellanos supposed to be good

BlueMarvin
BlueMarvin

So since it's an off day, does that mean we're about to see "NEW" followed by a URL that includes 'baxter' in there someplace?

moneynow27
moneynow27

Adam Wainwright and Carlos Beltran make me proud of being an LA Dodger fan.   

Coffee Head
Coffee Head

should we disable hanley and call up butera?

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

I'll tell you why not, my column.

BlueMarvin
BlueMarvin

@DBrim Sure, rob us of our possibly heated topic of conversation by injecting LOGIC into it.  Thanks DBrim.

TheConman
TheConman

@DBrim Yea but Alex was OUR guy who will never play in the majors

Disgruntled Goat
Disgruntled Goat moderator

@Winning! maybe for a while, then kinda not. sort of surprised they gave up on him. he was decent at being AAAA guy when needed. 

BlueMarvin
BlueMarvin

@Winning! He was buried though, poor dude.  Maybe now he'll find a bench role with a big league team.  Hope he does.

DBrim
DBrim moderator

It's what I do.

Coffee Head
Coffee Head

@TheReggieHurley @Winning! @BlueMarvin part luck part devlopment.  dodgers got good value out of withrow and paco, but paco looked burnt out in september now not on roster.  league was awful, wilson a late season pickup.  we had that one guy who threw like a 100 but hurt his leg after a couple appearances.  relief pitching success comes in cycles.

TheReggieHurley
TheReggieHurley

@Winning! @TheReggieHurley @BlueMarvin dude i was reading the cardinal blog yesterday and the guy said in the beginning of the season the cardinals bullpen was it's biggest weakness. Their bullpen now is completely different and full of young guys. This reminds me of the dodgers cuz we have all these young guys that can throw heat but not much control so they didn't make the roster. I dunno if cards just got lucky with that or if they could actually tell who is gonna be successful. 

TheReggieHurley
TheReggieHurley

@Winning! @TheReggieHurley i don't watch any non dodger games and i didn't keep up with the giant players. From what i read the giants had shit lineup and great pitching. Honest question: which team has better lineup, the giants that won the WS or the dodgers w/o hanley ramirez, matt kemp, and an injured ethier.  Which team has better pitching?