While Los Angeles will mostly dance with the Dodgers who brought them to the National League Championship Series, there is talk of change near the edge of their postseason roster.
Most prominently, Ross Stripling is a candidate for reactivation. With the length of the series increasing from the best-of-five National League Division Series to the best-of-seven NLCS, the Dodgers have reason to look for one more arm to take on multiple innings. Erstwhile starers Alex Wood and Caleb Ferguson essentially serve as go-to lefties on a nightly basis, so the Dodgers might not want to blow one of them out in case of a blowout.
Stripling, apparently the last man cut from the National League Division Series roster, has been working to resolve a perceived pitch-tipping issue, and is back in play. There have also been rumors about Julio Urías making a surprise appearance, but the fact remains that he faced not a single big-league batter in 2018 with the Dodgers leading by fewer than 13 runs.
On the offensive side, the Dodgers are probably considering adding a left-handed bat to their bench. Whenever a right-handed Brewers starter is on the mound, the Dodgers will probably open the game with every left-handed bat they currently have — Joc Pederson, Max Muncy, Cody Bellinger and switch-hitter Yasmani Grandal. That leaves no left-handed hitters on the bench to do battle with a heralded Brewers bullpen teeming with righties.
The Dodgers’ options aren’t great here. Chase Utley would be the most likely possibility, but he hasn’t had a hit since July 30. Alex Verdugo, who had a .358 on-base percentage against northpaws in 67 plate appearances this year, is the far less sentimental, far less experienced but nevertheless reasonable alternative. Andrew Toles is the wild card.
Who might the Dodgers drop to make room? Dylan Floro has been a talented find for the Dodger bullpen this year, but he faced only one batter in the NLDS. Brian Dozier had a nice pinch single in NLDS Game 3, but he is a one-position right-handed batter who at this point doesn’t fill much of a need on a team that has Kiké Hernandez plus Chris Taylor in reserve.