NLDS Game 4 Preview: Matt Beaty Replaces A.J. Pollock In Lineup; Dodgers Look To Eliminate Nationals
Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Beaty hits a single against the San Diego Padres
Jake Roth/USA TODAY Sports

Propelled by a seven-run outburst in the sixth inning, the Los Angeles Dodgers cruised to a 10-4 win against the Washington Nationals in Game 3 of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park.

Having guaranteed at least one more game at Dodger Stadium this season, the club is now in position to advance to their fourth straight NL Championship Series with another victory on Monday.

The Dodgers face a tough task at hand in solving Max Scherzer, who makes his first start and second overall appearance of the NLDS. He last pitched in Game 2 at Dodger Stadium, striking out the side on only 14 pitches in a scoreless eighth inning of work.

In Scherzer’s lone start of the 2019 postseason, he allowed three runs on four hits (two home runs) over five innings against the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Wild Card Game.

The 35-year-old is no stranger when it comes to pitching in elimination games, but success has escaped him. Scherzer allowed four runs out of the bullpen in a Game 5 loss to the Chicago Cubs in 2017.

Scherzer additionally faced the Dodgers in a winner-take-all NLDS Game 5 the previous year, yielding just one run in six innings of work. He was tabbed with a no-decision, as L.A. got the best of Washington’s bullpen en route to a 4-3 win.

Monday marks Scherzer’s 15th career start in the postseason (18th appearance). He owns a 3.78 and 1.11 WHIP with 109 strikeouts against 34 walks in 88 innings pitched.

His last quality start in the playoffs took place on Oct. 9, 2017 in Game 3 of the NLDS against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Scherzer allowed just one run and one hit in 6.1 innings.

The Dodgers counter with Rich Hill, who makes his 2019 postseason debut. The left-hander went 4-1 with a 2.85 ERA, 4.10 FIP and 1.13 WHIP in 13 starts this season.

One of those — Hill’s third outing of the year — was against the Nationals. He allowed three runs on five hits, including one home run, and had five strikeouts over five innings of work.

Because he’s battling a flexor strain injury, a best-case scenario for Hill is to provide four strong innings on Monday. He built back up to that threshold in September, closing out the month with scoreless outings against the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants.

The Dodgers made a slight tweak to their lineup for Game 4, inserting Matt Beaty for the struggling A.J. Pollock. Beaty, one of three rookies penciled in by Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, bats sixth and plays left field.

Pollock is 0-for-11 with nine strikeouts thus far in the NLDS. “I think No. 1, Scherzer is really difficult and shown to be tough on right-handed hitters,” Roberts said. “So to get Matt Beaty’s bat in there, there’s not a whole lot of downside.

“With A.J., I think right now he’s struggling with spin, there’s more chase in there than there has been in the second half of the season. For whatever reason; mechanical, maybe a little bit of pressing. So I think to give him a blow and get Matt in there, get as many left-handed bats against Scherzer as possible, gives us the best chance to win tonight.”

Dodgers lineup:

RF: Joc Pederson
1B: Max Muncy
3B: Justin Turner
CF: Cody Bellinger
SS: Corey Seager
LF: Matt Beaty
2B: Gavin Lux
C: Will Smith
P: Rich Hill

Nationals lineup:

SS: Trea Turner
RF: Adam Eaton
3B: Anthony Rendon
LF: Juan Soto
2B: Howie Kendrick
1B: Ryan Zimmerman
C: Kurt Suzuki
CF: Michael A. Taylor
P: Max Scherzer