With eight games now remaining in the regular season, Dodgers‘ skipper Dave Roberts hinted to the media on Friday that he will revert to using the best possible lineups down the stretch run of the schedule, indicating that the most important matter is getting into a consistent pattern of playing good baseball, as there will be enough time for players to rest between the season finale and the beginning of the NLDS on October 6.
“Where we’re at, it’s important for us to get back to playing good baseball. There is something to getting some rest but we are going to have three, four days after the regular season to get that recovery back,” Roberts told the MLB Network. “For us more importantly, it’s about playing good baseball and getting our guys in roles they might see during the postseason which goes to the bench and the bullpen guys.. That’s what I can envision the next 10 days.”
What that means is that over the coming games, fans of the club may be seeing a preview of sorts of what’s to come in the postseason, as far as player personnel goes.
The lineups over the last month—often being constructed with unorthodox logic—weren’t as big of an issue as the use of specific arms in the bullpen. Sure, the offense has been struggling mightily, but there were more than a handful of games where late-inning meltdowns from players such as Pedro Baez, Josh Ravin, and Ross Stripling conceivably cost the club several wins. It was, however, important to see these players and others perform in high-leverage situations, if only for the sake of determining who was worthy of postseason roster spots.
Outside of waiting out the healing process of Adrian Gonzalez‘s back injury, the majority of the position player portion of the playoff roster is theoretically set, although there are several competitions still running their courses for the primary starting roles.
Roberts will likely continue to mix and match his starting lineups based on the opposing pitcher, nevertheless, fans can likely expect to see better management of the bullpen, with certain setup and late-inning situations being handled by those who are better suited for such roles.
In spite of all that, one arm among the relief corps which may be unavailable in the middle game of the weekend series against the Giants is that of Kenley Jansen. The righty closer recorded his 40th save in the 4-2 victory on Friday, one night after registering a four-out save against the Phillies the day before. There should be plenty of fresh arms for Roberts to utilize, though, even if he’s trying to simulate a playoff type of bullpen scenario.
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