Get ready, October is coming.
That’s really all anybody is thinking about right now, the postseason. The Dodgers have said that all of the team records, and winning 100 games for the first time 1974, is really cool, but it’s not the ultimate goal. I’m not saying winning 100 games is easy, of course it’s not, but the Dodgers have their eyes set on the Fall Classic, and so do all the fans. The Boys in the Blue clinched the National League West on Friday, in a game which they cemented the one thing we’ve known all season; the Dodgers know how to win baseball games. To make matters better, within five days of each other, two of the longest-running home run records in baseball were broken; the NL Rookie Home Run record, and the All-Time Rookie Home Run record, broken by Cody Bellinger and Aaron Judge, respectively. So, after all this history, what’s next?
The postseason is what comes next, and it’s shaping up to be one of the best Octobers baseball has ever seen. The Astros will be there. The Red Sox will be there. The Indians will be there again, and so will the Nationals. And the Dodgers, the remarkable Dodgers, will be there, too.
Monday and Tuesday’s games were good examples of what the remaining five will look like, minus the stellar start from Yu Darvish (if the rotation stays as is, he’s scheduled to start Sunday in Denver.) The starting lineup was different each time, but they worked. They really worked. Logan Forsythe‘s swing is back, his four RBIs on Monday proved that. Austin Barnes is a great catcher, but he’s also a great second baseman. His three-run shot in the fifth on Monday helped the Dodgers to a 9-3 win over the Padres. Statistically, the only thing left for the Dodgers to try and achieve is the most wins in LA Dodgers history and securing home-field advantage in the postseason. Only one of those goals is pivotal come the playoffs, but with this team, there never seem to be enough records to break. What these last five games will do for the Dodgers is help them make choices for the postseason roster. Bellinger, Taylor, Darvish and Kershaw are obvious locks for the Dodgers in October, but the roles that Stripling, Buehler and Farmer will have in the postseason, if any, have yet to be determined. That’s why these games matter. The Dodgers have a good thing here. They have four games to create the best possible team heading into October. That team exists, I’ve seen it.
Monday and Tuesday—albeit against the Padres— were perfect examples of what this team could do. Monday evening, their No. 2 starter pitched at a level that all aces strive for. The Dodgers had their backup catcher playing second base, and Barnes did it extremely well. Forsythe showed that not only is he good at the hot corner when Turner gets the day off, but he showed he can hit incredibly well, and he’s showing it right when the Dodgers need him to.
The Dodgers are figuring everything out at just the right time. Personally, I’m okay with that 11-game losing streak, because it meant they were fated to clinch at home against the Giants. The Dodgers are good, they’re really good. Of course, I have my concerns heading into October, but I would be far more worried if I wasn’t worried at all. Worries mean there are things to figure out, and I have to say that when the Dodgers figure things out, it’s one of the most beautiful sights in the world.
October is coming, and none of us know what is going to happen. There could be a surplus of surprises, or it could go exactly as we all hope. We don’t know, and that’s what makes October great. Last season, many people hoped the Cubs would win it all, but nobody predicted how exactly they’d get there.
Last year, the Chicago Cubs encapsulated everything that October can be, and I have no doubt that a team, be it the Dodgers or somebody else, will find a way to do that again this year.
(FOLLOW SARAH ON TWITTER: @SARAHMANINGER)