Both the Astros’ and the Dodgers’ lineups are the same for Game 4 of the World Series as they were in Game 3. The two sides will do battle at 8 PM ET at Minute Maid Park on Saturday night.
CF Chris Taylor
SS Corey Seager
3B Justin Turner
1B Cody Bellinger
RF Yasiel Puig
2B Logan Forsythe
C Austin Barnes
DH Joc Pederson
LF Enrique Hernandez
SP Alex Wood
The Dodgers hope Bellinger is able to get back on track. His World Series struggles continued as he went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts last night. He’s now hitless in 11 plate appearances in the series against the Astros.
Dodger hitters thus far are batting .161/.243/.376 in 93 at-bats against Astros pitching in the World Series.
CF George Springer
3B Alex Bregman
2B Jose Altuve
SS Carlos Correa
1B Yuli Gurriel
RF Josh Reddick
DH Evan Gattis
LF Marwin Gonzalez
C Brian McCann
SP Charlie Morton
Reddick was mired in a slump during the ALCS, going hitless in the first six games against the Yankees. He’s hit safely now in each of his last four playoff games, including a 2-for-4 performance against the Dodgers last night.
The Astros have had a lot more success at the plate than the Dodgers. To date, they’re collectively hitting .266/.319/.495 in 109 at-bats across the first three games of the World Series.
The Rays were busy over the weekend, trading starter Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, designating All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, and then picking up C.J. Cron in a deal with the Angels. The Rays saved about $4 million — Odorizzi’s $6.3 million less Cron’s $2.3 million salary — and picked up a prospect. They’re still on the hook for Dickerson’s $5.95 million salary until they can find a trade partner, which seems likely.
Those are some head-scratching moves if you’re a Rays fan or a member of the Rays. Dickerson hit .282/.325/.490 with 27 home runs, 62 RBI, and 84 runs scored in 629 plate appearances last season, part of which resulted in his first trip to the All-Star Game. Designating him for assignment is strictly a financial move, assuming he can be traded. The Rays are currently operating with a payroll below $70 million. This comes just a week and a half after Rays ownership proposed the public footing most of the bill for the club’s new stadium. And the Rays had traded third baseman Evan Longoria — then the face of the franchise — to the Giants earlier this offseason.
Longoria expressed sympathy for Rays fans for having to put up with this. Via Andrew Baggarly, Longoria said of the curious Dickerson move, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base. … I’m not going to take too many shots but it’s pretty obvious that guy is a valuable player and didn’t deserve to be DFAd. Corey was our best player last year.”
Longoria isn’t quite on the money there. By WAR, Dickerson ranked fifth among position players on the team, according to Baseball Reference. FanGraphs is also in agreement. Still, it’s indisputable that Dickerson, who turns 29 years old this May, more than pulled his weight. The Rays do not have a surfeit of starting outfielders, so it wasn’t like they were making room for other capable players. Mallex Smith, who put up a .684 OPS in 282 PA last year, is slated to start in left field at the moment. Designating Dickerson for assignment, as well as trading Longoria and Odorizzi, were simply cost-cutting decisions.
The Rays’ M.O. has been part of the problem leading to the current stagnant free agent market (sans Eric Hosmer‘s eight-year deal on Saturday). Teams like the Rays, Phillies, Reds, and Tigers have been explicitly putting out non-competitive teams in order to facilitate a rebuilding process. Longoria is right to express sympathy for Rays fans, who see their favorite team worsening a roster that went 80-82 last year. The Rays haven’t finished at .500 or above since 2013 and doesn’t figure to halt the streak this year.