(Photo Credit: mlb.com)
While the dust has finally settled on top of the Washington Nationals and the NLDS, the Dodgers have turned the page to the next chapter of the 2016 postseason by announcing the 25-man roster for the seven-game championship series against the Cubs on Saturday morning.
Skipper Dave Roberts told reporters on Friday that his club intended to add another bullpen piece, and his indication was indeed correct as team officials confirmed the addition of lefty Alex Wood. Super-utility man Enrique Hernandez was also added to the roster mix, giving the Dodgers a bit more versatility on defense as well as a solid right-handed bat off the pine.
Utility infielder Charlie Culberson and catcher Austin Barnes, who were both members of the NLDS roster against the Nationals, were bumped to make room for Wood and Hernandez.
In 10 starts before having surgery on his left elbow in June, Wood posted a 1-4 record with a 3.99 ERA alongside 62 strikeouts and 19 walks in 56-1/3 innings of work. Upon returning to the club late last month, Wood made four appearances in relief, tossing four scoreless frames while striking out four batters and surrendering only one hit and a walk.
Although Wood does have the capability of providing a start if needed, he figures primarily to be an addition to a bullpen which was severely taxed in the NLDS against the Nationals.
After being among the top hitters in baseball against left-handed pitching last season, Hernandez is poised to make a playoff contribution after a disappointing 2016 and being left off the NLDS roster completely.
Per Eric Stephen of True Blue LA:
“Hernandez had a rough 2016 season, hitting .190/.283/.324 in 109 games and 244 plate appearances, and was left off the Dodgers’ roster for the NLDS. The right-handed Hernandez did hit .189/.308/.361 against left-handed pitchers in 2016, and against southpaws in his career has hit .270/.362/.478. He is 3-for-12 (.250) with a triple and home run in his career against left-hander Jon Lester, the Game 1 starter for the Cubs. That home run was hit this season on June 1 at Wrigley Field, and it was the only run the Dodgers tallied against Lester in 15 innings in 2016.”
In addition to announcing Lester starting the opener and revealing their own 25-man roster for the series, the Cubs have already laid out their starting rotation plans through the first four games, which include Kyle Hendricks taking the bump in Game 2 on Sunday, followed by Jake Arrieta in Game 3 in Los Angeles on Tuesday and John Lackey in Game 4.
Outside of Kenta Maeda taking the Hill in Game 1, the Dodgers haven’t yet revealed any further pitching plans, although it is presumed that resident ace Clayton Kershaw will oppose Hendricks in Game 2.
First pitch for the opener on Saturday evening is slated for 5:08 p.m. Pacific time and will be televised on Fox Sports 1.