The Los Angeles Dodgers enter play Friday night in control of their own destiny, as a win against the Colorado Rockies will clinch home-field advantage through the World Series. Meanwhile, the Rockies’ magic number for a Wild Card spot is two.
Should the Dodgers stumble in the series opener, one loss each by the Cleveland Indians and Houston Astros would still guarantee them homefield for the entire postseason. What’s more, the Dodgers are in position for their 103rd win, which would be the most in Los Angeles franchise history.
They are fresh off a 5-1 homestand that culminated with a series sweep of the San Diego Padres. By finishing 57-24 at home this season, the 2017 Dodgers hold the record for most wins in a single year at Dodger Stadium.
Hyun-Jin Ryu takes the mound for his final audition to make the club’s postseason roster as a starting pitcher. Alex Wood was once believed to have the inside track as a fourth starter, but the Dodgers have not committed to which role the southpaw will have.
Ryu has faced the Rockies three times this season, including twice at Coors Field. He’s 0-2 with a 7.27 ERA, 2.42 WHIP and allowed a combined six extra-base hits (five doubles, one home run) in just 8.2 innings pitched in the road outings.
Ryu is 2-2 with a 2.42 ERA in 10 starts since the All-Star break, and allowed just two runs in 13 innings (1.38 ERA) while holding opponents to a .191/.296/.255 batting line in his last three outings.
Overall this season, Ryu is 5-8 with one save, a 3.47 ERA and 1.33 WHIP in 24 games (23 starts). Ryu was removed in the third inning of his last start due to being struck by a line drive. The 30-year-old was diagnosed with a left forearm contusion and dealt with some residual discomfort.
Nolan Arenado is a career 8-for-14 off the southpaw, with three doubles, two home runs and six RBI. Charlie Blackmon is 6-for-19 with two doubles and one RBI. Blackmon leads the National League with a .328 batting average, just ahead of Justin Turner (.321).
The Dodgers face Chad Bettis for a second time, with both starts coming this month. He allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits, struck out five over five innings and earned a win at Dodger Stadium on Sept. 9.
Bettis bounced back from a poor outing to hold the San Diego Padres to just one run on seven hits in 4.2 innings, but suffered the loss. He’s 1-4 with a 5.72 ERA and 1.47 WHIP in eight starts this season.
The Dodgers have scored scored nine or more runs in three consecutive games for the first time this season and for the first time since July 21-23, 2013. They are without Chris Taylor, who expects to return from a hyperextended knee on Saturday.
Los Angeles made an intriguing roster move prior to the series opener by calling up Tim Locastro from Triple-A Oklahoma City. He’s a candidate to make the postseason roster as a pinch-runner. O’Koyea Dickson was placed on the 60-day disabled list to create room for Locastro on the 40-man roster.
CF: Curtis Granderson
SS: Corey Seager
3B: Justin Turner
1B: Cody Bellinger
RF: Yasiel Puig
LF: Andre Ethier
C: Yasmani Grandal
2B: Logan Forsythe
P: Hyun-Jin Ryu
CF: Charlie Blackmon
2B: DJ LeMahieu
3B: Nolan Arenado
SS: Trevor Story
1B: Mark Reynolds
RF: Carlos Gonzalez
LF: Ian Desmond
C: Jonathan Lucroy
P: Chad Bettis