October 23, 2017

During the postseason, the Dodgers have generally platooned at second base (Forsythe and Utley) and leftfield (Hernandez and Ethier/Granderson), with the shortstop situation clouding the picture a bit. With the designated hitter in play for Games 3-5, it wouldn't be a surprise if Seager fills the spot at least once and perhaps all three times. Grandal, a switch hitter whose production against lefties took a nosedive this year, could fill that spot as well during a righty start, if third catcher Kyle Farmer is on the roster.

The lefty-swinging Utley, the 38-year-old "Silver Fox" is a team leader whose baserunning smarts and defense offset his declining bat; this was the second year in a row he finished with a 92 OPS+. He did very well as a pinch-hitter this year (.273/.442/.424 in 43 PA). He’s 0-for-9 with a pair of walks, a hit-by-pitch and four strikeouts in the postseason.

Ethier, who was limited to 38 plate appearances and two home runs during the regular season due to a herniated disc, hit a big home run in Game 3 of the NLCS. He's an experienced pinch-hitter (.286/.394/.479 in 165 PA) who could also figure in the DH equation. Granderson has looked utterly lost since his August acquisition from the Mets, hitting .161/.288/.366 with seven homers and just nine singles in 132 PA. He's 1-for-15 with eight strikeouts in the postseason, his plate appearances offering both length (4.93 P/PA) and futility. Lefty-swinging centerfielder Joc Pederson has been in an epic slump (7-for-68 from July 29 onward, including 1-for-5 with a double in the NLCS) and could be the odd man out if Farmer makes the roster.

In Houston, Evan Gattis and Carlos Beltran are manager A.J. Hinch’s regular designated hitters, though the former likely has the leg up on the latter for DH duties when the Series heads to Houston thanks to his ALCS Game 7 home run. It doesn’t help Beltran’s case that he’s looked close to finished this year, posting an 84 OPS+ in the regular season and going just 3-for-17 this October. Cameron Maybin is the fourth outfielder who could get a start against any of Los Angeles’ three lefty starters, though he has a reverse split both for his career and this season. More likely than not, he’s a defensive replacement and a bench bat for the NL games. Derek Fisher and Juan Centeno have yet to get postseason at-bats; the former is the fifth outfielder, the latter is the backup to McCann (though he’s technically third-string, as Gattis is more likely to get a start behind the plate).

Edge: Dodgers

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