The Dodgers are now heading into the dog days of summer, with an 18 game lead in their division and a nine game lead for home field advantage throughout the National League playoffs.
The schedule from here on out seems pretty easy, as the Dodgers only face two teams who currently have a record over .500, the New York Yankees and the New York Mets. It could be easy to fall into complacency, accepting that you are good and maybe having to work hard to maintain that competitive edge.
In 2017, the Dodgers also enjoyed a huge lead in both division and home field advantage and ended up going on a huge losing streak through the end of August and September, losing 11 in a row at one point.
Last season, the Dodgers had to fight for every win and couldn’t win the division until the 163rd game. This season is reminiscent of 2017, and manager Dave Roberts will be tasked with not letting the team fall into that slide again.
The Dodgers do have some things to work out between now and October, however, and that is who will be on the roster come playoff time. David Freese, Chris Taylor and Enrique Hernandez are all set to begin their rehab assignments in the next week if not sooner. The player who have been filling in for them might find themselves out of a job.
Tyler White would probably be the first one to be DFA’d. His current slash line is .071/.235/.017/.307. Easy decision. Edwin Rios, also currently with the club, will be sent back down. But the next two spots aren’t quite so clear. Unlike White, Kristopher Negron has made the most of his time with the Dodgers. His slash line with Los Angeles is .391/.471/.652/1.069 and two home runs in seven games. Small sample size to be sure, but he’s opening some eyes.
Matt Beaty also has done a great job with his time with the big club. He’s hitting .292 with five homers and seems to have a knack to be cool and collected when a big moment comes up in the game. While he’s been up and down from Triple-A Oklahoma City all season, he has been with the club since the end of April and has worked to earn his keep.
The Dodgers have the happy problem of too many good players and the ability to swap one out for another when one hits the the IL or the goes on a big slide at the plate. The competition against themselves to remain on the team and ready for the postseason is there, even if the competition across the field might not be.
One other thing for the Dodgers to keep working towards is home field advantage in the World Series. They are currently one game ahead of the New York Yankees, and two ahead of the Houston Astros. Both of those teams are also leading their divisions pretty handily, and maybe they could be susceptible to those same dog days of summer. Just a few things to keep an eye on besides the games themselves.
The Dodgers start a three game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks tonight at Dodgers Stadium. Pitching matchups will be Robbie Ray and Walker Buehler tonight; Alex Young And Kenta Maeda on Saturday; and Mike Leake and Hyun-Jin Ryu on Sunday.
22 thoughts on “Dodgers’ Main Competition Is Amongst Themselves”
They actually face 3 teams with winning records. The Rays come to LA in September for a 2 game set. I have no problem with them keeping Lux where he is until September. The infield is crowded and if the kid is not going to play every day, better he is somewhere he will. Cute story on MLB.com about Kershaw and Bellinger convincing a 9 year old not to quit baseball. They sent him video’s…ahh the joys of modern communication. Panik close to signing with the Mets. Mad Bum almost got a no no last night.
Yup, I meant to add Atlanta but I was in a hurry this morning. I’ll fix it later
It would be difficult to give Lux playing time now over Kike and Taylor and leave one of those guys off the playoff roster. The Dodger brass is too loyal and I think the players appreciate that. Lux’s time is next year
There are enough at bats between now and the end of the year to audition Lux AND keep our utility guys sharp. As I mentioned, White and Negrón will be superfluous when Taylor, Freese and Hernandez get back.
Do we believe the Pollock surgery put all the elbow ills behind him? Yes, perhaps maybe we do.
Dodgers acquired veteran catcher Jose Lobatron from the Mariners for cash. He is headed to AAA as depth behind Barnes. With Ruiz out there was a need. Barraclough claimed by the Giants. Panik signed by the Mets and Echevarria waived.
Summer roster churns. I don’t usually pay a lot of attention to these, unless they involve one of our top 5 prospects. But I appreciate you doing the reporting on it Bear.
And this from Dodger Nation:
Since June 1st, the Dodgers’ bullpen is 19-7 with 3.34 ERA and 202 strikeouts.
I did not know that.
Nice bunt by Buehler, good to see a pitcher help himself out.
I would surely like someone to explain to me why you would ever hit Negron directly behind a Bellinger in the 5th spot. This entire lineup seems strange to me.
Looks ok to Arizona pitching so far. 2 hits over 7 innings.
Does it matter? Only in overall record. And all things considered I don’t expect the Dodgers to have the best record this year.
Joe Kelly is back it seems. When he’s on he’s really really good. Nasty stuff.
Who are you going to replace Kenley with if he did opt out? Moot question. Jansen has not been dominant, that much is certain, but that was the first homer he had given up since July3rd. The first hit off of him was a blooper. Not like the guy creamed the ball. Ump’s K zone was all over the place. Kelly made 2 pitches, Bellinger bailed him out with a great throw, and the next pitch he got the guy out. I thought he should have went back out there for the 9th inning. My concern with Jansen is that he could not get the save with the bottom of the lineup coming up. But give AZ credit too. Their pitchers got the job done. End of story, oh and Bradley is an ass. That ball did hit Pollock.
How can you say that Scoop about this offensive juggernaut! Hard to believe but have to wonder if Belli is gonna hit .300 this year!
Well at least we don’t have to worry about Kenley opting out of his contract!
I wish he would.
2 for 33 with 10 Ks. Jugger not. Not last night, that’s for sure. These games will happen. Not to the Yankees or Astros apparently, but to us for sure. The Mets appear to be rolling. Hopefully none of this matters. It’s who is peaking in September and October.
The Astros did lose like 7 or 8 in a row in May or June. It just matters at the end. I’ll take 5 wins and a clunker every time
Me too. 2 wins and a clunker over a season gets you 108 wins and a championship.
Both the Yankees and the Astros passed us. I wonder how good the Yankees might be with Severino back. They also have Hale and Sabathia out, along with Torres, Voit and a couple other guys missing. If those guys all get healthy they will give the Astros a tough series. Everybody figures it’s Dodgers, Astros and Yankees. Home field winner will be favored.
Rams on tonight. I think I get to see them. Direct dumped CBS, an insanely stupid thing to do, but apparently they worked it out.
Frankly gang, Y’all are putting the cart before the horse. All of the teams you are worrying about have to get there first. Yeah the Yankees and the Astros, DC and the Cubs, the Phillies and the Braves…all have to win first, including the Dodgers. 44 games left. They split and they have 99 2ins. Like Andy said the in this article, the Dodgers play 4 teams with winning records the rest of the way, Yanks, Braves, Mets, and Rays. They have beat up their own division. And they have 24 against their own division including the last 9. They also have games against weaker AL teams like the Orioles and the Jays. They have 3 games with the Mets and 3 with the Braves, all on the road, they also play the lowly Marlins. NY might be the biggest test of them all. That pitching staff and the way they are playing makes them a tough team to beat. The Dodgers have 44 games to figure it out. Verdugo will be out at least 2 more weeks. Stripling is going to be strictly a reliever when he gets back. I doubt White stays with the team much longer as when Kike and Taylor are ready he is gone. Kolarek finally retired a hitter last night. You always have to lookout for that team that finds itself at the end of the season and gets hot. AKA the Giants in 2014. They won 2 World Series as a wild card. The Dodgers since they are pretty much a lock to have the best record in the league, will face the wild card winner. That could be anyone of 6 teams at this point and we may well not know who is in that game until the last day. As of today, 3 teams are tied for the second wild card spot. The Dodgers have 41 losses. Yankees and Astros 40…it will come down to how well the Dodgers play over the last 44 games. They have been hamstrung by having to use White and Negron with Kike and Taylor on the shelf. For those of you chomping at the bit to see Lux, he got on base in his 45th straight game yesterday. Of bigger concern to me, are the ongoing slumps of both Bellinger and Muncy. Belli has hit 3 homers on this home stand, but his batting average has dropped to under .320. Muncy is like Belli, average dropping and his production is down. Those two get hot, and anything can happen. Bellinger looks to be pulling off of a lot of pitches.
Oh yeah, another lefty tonight. Young, who is 4-1. So expect another Roberts special lineup…….White is worthless.
Gyorko is now at OKC. Overall since he started his re-hab he is 5-11 with a homer and 3 ribbies. He has walked 3 times and struck out once. They said he needs 50 at bats, and he played back to back games for the first time the last 2 days. So help is on the way soon. He is playing 1st base down there.
What a fun team.