Despite a re-arranged lineup against lefty Dallas Keuchel, the only actual personnel change manager Dave Roberts has made for tonight’s game is to replace DH Joc Pederson with wounded third baseman Justin Turner, moving Logan Forsythe to third and inserting Charlie Culberson at second, replacing Forsythe. It’s tough for Pederson to be on the bench after his monster home run last night, but given Roberts’ career-long platooning, even if Turner were 100% and manning third, another righty hitter would be the DH against Keuchel.
Now that that’s out of the way, the importance of tonight’s game cannot be overemphasized. First is the fact that it’s Clayton Kershaw starting tonight, and the fact that he has to keep up his 2017 post season run and get the Dodgers to the seventh inning with a lead. But even more than the pressure issues directly on Kershaw are these pieces of
reality: Game Six means Justin Verlander pitching against the Dodgers and Game Seven means the Whirling Darvish pitching for the Dodgers. Both are scary, ESPECIALLY the Whirling starting a potential Game Seven.
While the Dodgers did reasonably well in Game Two against Verlander, hitting two home runs and scoring three off of him despite getting only two hits, his overall late season and post season run has been spectacular, and with lower temperatures and cooler air expected Tuesday night at Dodgers’ Stadium, the ball will not be carrying as well, and hitting it out will be a harder task, especially against a guy as hot and talented as Verlander.
But the real scary part is the reality that quite likely the Whirling could be starting the most important game is recent Dodgers’ history, a possible Game Seven of the 2017 World Series, Wednesday night. A few days ago, I buckled, and gave the Whirling some credit for his post season success, and then I was rewarded, as were the Dodgers and Dodges’ fandom, with the REAL Whirling and his horrendous, putrid, disgusting, beyond awful outing in Game Three. If he pitches like that in a Game Seven, well then congratulations, Houston Astros.
But that is a few days off, and at least one win is required to get there (and if it’s two, then it’s a moot issue) and that win has to come tonight.