NLDS Opening Games, 2015

First game: Cubs at Cardinals, 3:30PM PT, TV: TBS

The Cubs and Cardinals have been rivals for decades, but this is the first time they’ll face one another in the postseason. As if that weren’t enough, the opposing pitchers once played together for the Red Sox.

John Lester (11-12, 3.34 ERA) starts for the Cubs, while John Lackey (13-10, 2.77 ERA) starts for the Cardinals. Lackey leads all active pitchers in two playoff categories: today will make his 19th playoff start and he’s already thrown 117 postseason innings. Lester has a 6-4 record with a 2.57 ERA in the postseason himself.

Further game notes here.

Second game: Mets at Dodgers, 6:30PM PT, TV: TBS

LHP Clayton Kershaw (16-7, 2.13 ERA) starts for the Dodgers. RHP Jacob deGrom (14-8, 2.54 ERA) starts for the Mets. Kershaw’s only blemish in his brilliant career is his 1-5 record and 5.12 ERA in the postseason. This will be deGrom’s first playoff appearance. He faced the Dodgers once this season and gave up two hits over 7 2/3 innings.

The Mets added Yoenis Cespedes, Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson in mid-season and got David Wright back as well. “It’s a completely different lineup, not just Cespedes,” Kershaw said. “…a completely different team. Obviously, a lot better than what we faced in July.”

Dodgers’ playoff roster:

Lineup when available.

318 thoughts on “NLDS Opening Games, 2015

  1. WBBsAs and package, will you two guys please knock it off? The constant sniping annoys others, including me. It’s unnecessary and it’s devolved into “So’s your old man!” territory.

  2. I can’t imagine anyone really being surprised by last night’s result. Disappointed, yes, surprised, no,it’s not like it hasn’t happened many times this year. I don’t see how Greinke can not opt out of his contract. And Clayton too, when his option comes up. And if I were a top tier free agent pitcher this off-season, I’d have to think mighty hard to sign a contract with the Dodgers if they don’t try to fix their hitting problem.

  3. I came down from the Monterey Peninsula to visit my mother, who turns 95 next month, and attend last night’s game. Kershaw was one notch below his A plus level and had run out of gas in the 7th. Had he ever walked three batters in an inning before? deGrom was brilliant, but the season-long issues at the leadoff spot and middle relief helped doom us. Weather was hot and sticky. Rare unenjoyable weather at a Dodger Stadium game. Go get ’em Greinke!

  4. In talking with my friends last week, my greatest fear was Kershaw and Greinke pitching well, and the Bums losing 1-0 on unearned runs. Well, it wasn’t unearned, but just the same….

    Looking at the hitters, not sure where the spark will come from…they don’t seem to string together a bunch of hits, they certainly aren’t going to win any games with the long ball. Seeing them against good teams, they seem to remind me of the money ball A’s (yes, a very expensive version) as they seem to be built for the long haul of the season, but I don’t see 2-3 hitters who strike fear in opposing pitchers.

    On another note, maybe Kershaw gets a little too “up” for the playoffs…it takes him a couple innings to relax and settle in, burning a lot of pitches in the process. No idea if this is the case, or how to deal with that….it’s not really the number of pitches in my mind, it’s the effort expended.

    • Hard to imagine him being more intense than he already is for regular season games, but you are probably right. Donnie might be second guessed for not starting another left-hand bat in Grandal, as AJ despite his offensive surge is still dreadful against righties. No guarantees with Grandal however, given his ongoing slump. Not sure either that having a better pitch framer would have been helpful, as Clayton is a swing-and-miss guy in any event.

      • I personally like AJ, and he did get a hit last night. And I have never been a fan of the lefty righty matchup thing, unless that is all you have going for you…in which case you’ll probably lose anyway. The good hitters hit.

        • Grew up with Dodgers switch hitting infield and Earl’s O’s, so I appreciation for the approach. You may not want to construct your team that way but looking at splits for guys like Dre, SVS and Ruggs, the advantages in specific plate appearances are clear to me.

  5. We outhit them but left 7 on base. We out-struckout them, but that’s not generally considered desirable. de Grom was a monster, and he beat Clayton at his own game. I can’t remember the last time Kershaw walked three guys in one inning, and it sure came back to bite him.

    • Hopefully they can find a way to beat a “quality” team . . . in two series after this one as well!

  6. Ooph. Rough game. To me, it was Wright’s 12 pitch at bat, the one bad pitch to Murphey, and DeGrom’s dominance that made the difference. Mostly DeGrom.

    • I think the mistake was taking out Kershaw. If Kershaw gets the final out and the Dodgers tie the score it may have turned out differently.

      • If wishes were horses then beggars would ride. From what I can tell he was pretty beat, walking several light-hitting players he’d normally blow away.

          • That’s a different question.
            Kenley would’ve been the best option, but how quickly can he warm up? I know I wasn’t thinking Kershaw had lost it until he walked the third one that inning. Unless Kersh faked an injury, I don’t think KJ could’ve been ready to come in.

          • It is up to Donnie to decide how to handle the pitchers. Kenley would have been a far better option but I still would have stayed with Kersh.

          • Don’t forget it was 90+ degrees out. Clay really did look gassed in the seventh. That’s why Wright’s 11 pitch at bat and then drawing the walk was such a big deal.

          • Yes, we know, one reliever in the bullpen is sufficient. Mike Marshall’s 108 games and 208 innings in 1974 were just for wimps. Kenley should be able take over for every starter every night (even though all those starters should be throwing complete games every time out).

          • Have you ever thought of giving a response that is your response? It seems you always want to decide what others are thinking or so sarcastic they don’t deserve to be read. I guess this one is fact based as you say all of yours are.

          • I always thought four starters and one reliever should be enough to get any team through the season but, if your starters are good enough, you shouldn’t even need that reliever.

          • In the news conference he said that Hatch wasn’t under consideration for one out. Such is the mindset of relievers having their roles. Pretty universal thinking among managers.

          • I am not a fan of DM, but he can only work with what he is given. If you have a lousy undependable bullpen, with no one guy you can turn to, then when the game is on the line as it was in the 7th inning, you get what you get regardless of who you bring in.

          • And for the second year in a row, no less, Baez relieves Kershaw to get similar results.

      • I’m sure Donnie flashed back to the exact situations last year, when he was second-guessed for leaving in Kersh, to disastrous results.
        I’m he wasn’t throwing in the towel, but perhaps it was as much to keep Kershaw from personally surrendering the runs (even tho they were credited against him). As has been mentioned here already, this was not the dominating Kershaw.

      • Clay himself said in the post-game show that he didn’t fight that decision. “I put myself in that position,” he said. “DeGrom just out pitched me.”

    • It was deja vu all over again with Wright’s AB and the MIA LA bats.
      The 3 walks in one inning, 4 in the game from Kershaw was a total surprise.

  7. Announcers noted Baez problems with first batter faced. OPS of .773. Not the luckiest fellow, however, with babip of .516!

  8. Round up the usual suspects: bats & bullpen (tho Kersh didn’t help his cause).

  9. C’mon, bats — no bottom of the 9th — let RBI (and everyone) get out early!

  10. I really don’t recall the last time Chase Utley came up to bat and I thought, “oh good, Chase Utley is coming up to bat.”

  11. ……………………………………………………………………………………
    (If any other part of my comment included actual words, I’d violate every rule on the blog)
    Ha.

  12. Tough call, but Clayton unable to put away those two hitters. (just wish it was someone else coming in)

  13. Hadn’t really focused on that hesitation step by Clayton before. See it a lot with Japanese pitchers.

  14. Why must it always be on such a razors edge? Why so tight and so tough to score runs?

  15. Rule one violation. AGon crushed that foul ball, and it truly looked like it was a HR until the last minute.

  16. Please tell me… (in terms of “regular season scrub – turned Dodger post season killer HR”)

    Daniel (does not Matt Adams (does equal) Matt Stairs
    Murphy equal)

  17. Up to the bats. Again. Maybe DeGrom will tire this inning. He’s thrown a lot of very hard fastballs, many inaccurately.

  18. If our boys were to lose this game 1 – 0 ….

    My newspaper headline would be…

    ” One bad pitch call from AJ Ellis…… Dodgers down 0-1 In Series with Mets “

  19. Would it be barely possible to drop the edginess and just enjoy a playoff game?

    This kind of stuff makes this blog far less enjoyable for me–and most likely others.

      • I had to give you both an “up” because I’m not sure if WBB is being snarky or sarcastic/funny. Truth be told, I should be able to tell by now…..

        Ahhhhh…. Perhaps the Playoffs are getting to me…. 🙂

  20. C’mon, bats!
    Unfortunately, no matter what the Dodgers do, we fans lose in the postseason without Vin. Speedy recovery to him!

  21. NY’s plan has to be to get rid of Kersh and get to the bullpen ASAP. Hopefully not many more pitch count innings like that one.

      • Good point.
        So maybe the plan is swing early (hope Kersh and AJ are aware of that) and the hope is wear him out.

        • Seems like the best strategy for them. Though Clayton will throw 120 pitches if he has to.

  22. The first pitch thing that RBI was talking about (though in the case of the ‘Stros)

  23. So while watching the opening innings I’ll browse my copy of the SI NFL preview issue, which just arrived in the mail this week, four weeks into the season. It’s dated Sept 7. I have gotten three issues dated more recently than its issue date.

    I thought I’d be a wiseguy and wrote them a letter; we’ll see what they can think of to explain this.

    Maybe Kershaw will strike out the first six guys while I’m reading.

      • I actually rode the Lurline from LA to HNL in July of 1968, just a year or two before Matson stopped sending passenger ships along that route. I was 17. Fortunately there were about a dozen other teenagers on board or I’d have gone mad.

  24. Ticket, check. ’88 championship t-shirt, check. Kershaw Cy Young pin, check. Butterflies? Check check check.

      • Package, I think all of us are babysitting you and WBB on this site. I sometimes wonder what would happen if we could lock the both of you in a room all day.

        • Hey Audit, I have had over 5 hours to think and rethink your response to a nothing comment. I was just kidding on my babysitting comment but I guess you and others felt it was justified. I did not do anything to cause it to be said but you and others felt otherwise. Doesn’t matter what WBB thinks about this comment as he didn’t do anything to justify it. I understand he dislikes me and that’s OK but you don’t need to speak for others. No one needs to babysit me and they can say what they want to. I wish in the future you would be honest and not speak for others as they are able to speak for themselves. I will never again feel that some folks speak the truth when it is obvious that they are not honest. So don’t hold back, jump on whenever you feel it is necessary. I don’t need babysitting.but thanks for your concern.

  25. Feeling excited and nervous. It seems like so much postseason action has already happened. Let’s get it on Dodgers.

    I’m out tonight until and will miss the first three innings or so. Look forward to checking in and chatting when I get back.

  26. NLDS Preview from Sports Illustrated with attention to the slightly-misleading nature of Kershaw’s postseason losses (no run support: “Among the four postseason losses he has suffered over the last two seasons, two came by scores of 1–0 and 3–2.”)

  27. Cueto really tanking in KC. Before the deadline, I was mildly interested in acquiring him, but the Dodgers FO appears to have known better.