While in previous years the final day of the regular season came with some excitement and playoff spots still to be decided, such is not the case Sunday. The Los Angeles Dodgers clinched home-field advantage through the World Series, and the Colorado Rockies locked up the second Wild Card spot.
The only matter at stake is order for the 2018 MLB Draft. Prior to knowing whether they’d guarantee themselves of finishing with the top record, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the club would use a bullpen game.
Since Ross Stripling was not called on in Saturday’s comeback win, he gets the start for the Dodgers in the season finale. Stripling is 3-5 with a 3.86 ERA, 3.65 FIP and 1.19 WHIP in 48 games (one start) this season.
It’s believed Stripling is among the right-handers relievers vying for a spot on the playoff roster.
The Rockies initially planned to hand the ball to Tyler Anderson, but with nothing left to play for instead start fellow southpaw Kyle Freeland. He’s 11-10 with a 4.06 ERA, 4.57 ERA and 1.48 WHIP in 32 games (27 starts).
Sunday’s start is Freeland’s first since Sept. 11; he’s made four relief appearances during that span. The 24-year-old is 1-1 with a 3.94 ERA and 1.69 WHIP in three starts against the Dodgers this season.
The last of which came in June, when Anderson allowed five runs on 10 hits, including one home run, over six innings and suffered the loss at Dodger Stadium. The rookie left-hander is 6-7 with a 3.64 ERA and 1.41 WHIP in 18 games (15 starts) at Coors Field.
Despite having nothing to play for, the Dodgers’ lineup includes several regulars. Chris Taylor is leading off, followed by Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger and Justin Turner.
The Rockies also have marquee starters in their lineup, headlined by Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado. Unless Blackmon goes hitless in four at-bats, and Justin Turner goes 5-for-5, the Rockies center fielder will win the National League batting title.
CF: Chris Taylor
SS: Corey Seager
3B: Justin Turner
1B: Cody Bellinger
LF: Kiké Hernandez
2B: Logan Forsythe
C: Yasmani Grandal
RF: Yasiel Puig
P: Ross Stripling
CF: Charlie Blackmon
RF: Raimel Tapia
3B: Nolan Arenado
LF: Gerardo Parra
1B: Ian Desmond
C: Jonathan Lucroy
SS: Pat Valaika
2B: Alexi Amarista
P: Kyle Freeland