“It’s in my head, darling I hope
That you’ll be here, when I need you the most
So don’t let me, don’t let me, don’t let me down
D-Don’t let me down”
It’s amazing how quickly things turn, and how optimism can turn to worry. The Dodgers getting swept in San Francisco has fans scratching their heads and wondering if this team really is ready to make a good run in the postseason. The fact that the Dodgers could barely muster four hits in Vin Scully‘s last game ever only heightens the sense of dismay and concern. Also, that they allowed SF to make it to the wild card game against the NY Mets, and let talk of “even year magic” grow ever more louder.
With the Dodgers clinching six games before the end of the season, they had every right to take it easy, set their lineup for the series with Washington and give all their players as many chances to work on their swings as possible. And that is what they did, not pitching well or scoring many runs in the process. They lost two of three in San Diego, and ultimately got swept in San Francisco over the weekend.
In end, does it matter? With this team, I see the importance of starting the postseason with the most healthy team they can put on the field. The last two years, the Dodgers had home field advantage, and did not move on to the NLCS. Kenta Maeda, and whoever the fourth starter might be, could be better served to have their starts happen at home, with Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill veterans who can handle the pressure of road starts.
From Cliff Corcoran’s article on home field advantage:
“I’m not going to argue that home-field advantage is a detriment in playoffs of five games or fewer, but history says that being the home team is no advantage at all. That’s particularly true when one considers that home field in the Wild Card Games and Division Series is given to the team with the better regular season record (home field in tiebreakers is determined by a coin flip).”
Manager Dave Roberts said after the game, “When you’re trying to play the middle – get guys rested, set your rotation, things like that – it’s really kind of against what we’ve done all year. No excuse. We’ll be ready to go on Friday.”
Shortstop Corey Seager echoed those thoughts, saying “There should be no carryover. It’s just one of those weird times where you go from being so high after clinching. You can’t read anything into it. Just reset, regroup.”
But still, one would like to see their team entering the postseason on a roll. Know that the team is running on all cylinders, the bats are hot, the pitching is where is should be. But as much as we’d like to see otherwise, this is where the team is entering the postseason. This team does know, however, what it takes to buckle down and fight to win. They did so without their ace, and they can do so now, even if they are not as hot as we’d like to see. Teams have entered the postseason hot, only to fall flat because they had a long break between the regular season and the postseason games starting. But after the season this has been, the fighting to win the division, the loss of Kershaw, and all the other injuries, the season cannot end with the Dodgers limping into the playoffs and being eliminated quickly.
Don’t let us down, Dodgers.