2019 NLDS: Will Smith Expected To Catch Walker Buehler; No Decision On Matt Beaty, Gavin Lux Or A.J. Pollock Being In Dodgers Lineup For Game 5

After setting a franchise record with 106 wins, the Los Angeles Dodgers are facing elimination Wednesday night as the Washington Nationals forced the 2019 National League Division Series to a Game 5.

The Dodgers find themselves in the precarious situation as a result of Nationals starters Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer living up to their billing as elite pitchers, and multiple players in their lineup struggling to find success.

Just over 24 hours before the winner-take-all Game 5, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he remained undecided on Matt Beaty, Gavin Lux or A.J. Pollock potentially being in the lineup. Pollock is 0-for-12 with 10 strikeouts thus far in the NLDS.

“I’m still kind of trying to toy with some things,” answered Roberts when asked if Pollock would be in the lineup against Strasburg in Game 5. “Just kind of weighing obviously putting runs on the board but also run prevention. So I haven’t made that decision yet.

“I’m certainly aware of the way he’s feeling at the plate right now. But if he’s starting or not, I know A.J. will be ready to help us win in whatever capacity.”

Pollock hit third when the Dodgers faced Strasburg in Game 2 and went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts (two against the Nationals’ righty). Roberts prior to first pitch of that game he had the struggling outfielder that high in the lineup because of career success against Strasburg.

The Dodgers’ fourth-year manager previously stated his confidence in Pollock before Game 3.

After Pollock went hitless with three strikeouts in the Dodgers’ win at Nationals Park, he was replaced in the lineup by Beaty for Game 4. Beaty went 1-for-3 and missed an opportunity to break a 1-1 tie after Cody Bellinger led off the fourth inning with a single and stole second base.

Beaty got ahead in the count 3-0 and flied out to shallow left field on the fourth pitch he saw from Scherzer.

Pollock went down swinging on a pinch-hit appearance in the loss, setting the Dodgers’ all-time franchise record for most strikeouts in a best-of-five series.

Although Roberts is undecided on again having three rookies in the lineup, Will Smith is already penciled in to catch Walker Buehler. “I do know that,” Roberts said. “And the other guys, I’ve got to kind of figure out what makes the most sense. But I do know that Will will catch.”

Lux made MLB and Dodgers postseason history with a pinch-hit home run in Game 1, but is just 1-for-8 with one walk and six strikeouts in his past three NLDS starts.