When you have the best record in the majors, you have the luxury of letting players rest whenever the manager sees fit. After all, the only thing on the line was the Dodgers’ streak of winning series this season.
Mookie Betts sat out the game on Sunday, and while his presence wasn’t missed in the lineup as the Dodgers scored six runs, he might have been used late in the game to possibly win the game. But these are not really the games that matter.
The Dodgers bullpen has regressed the last few games, although that was bound to happen. Caleb Ferguson especially has had a rough go of it lately. In the last 10 batters that he had faced, he allowed seven hits, including three home runs; and the last one was off the bat of former Dodger Matt Kemp for the win on a very hot Sunday Night.
Overall, the Dodgers lost two of three to the Colorado Rockies and that streak of series wins ended. The Dodgers scored 18 runs over the weekend and hit eight home runs. But Ferguson, Blake Treinen, Dennis Santana and Brusdar Graterol combined to allow 10 runs while in relief of the Dodgers’ starting pitchers. Even with a high powered offense, that’s not always easy to overcome.
Matt Snyder from CBS Sports wrote a mostly tongue-in-cheek article about how the Dodgers should tank in their games against Colorado so they definitely face the Rockies in the first round of the playoffs. Being the No. 1 seed, the Dodgers would play the eighth seed. As of this writing, that would be the Miami Marlins.
He does have a point. I believe the Dodgers could easily beat the Rockies in a best-of-three series. I also think that they could easily handle the San Francisco Giants, even if it’s an even year. Same for the Marlins.
The two teams to fear the most in such a scenario are the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Mets. The Phillies have Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola, and a battery of hitters including Bryce Harper who if hot, could do damage in a short series. The Mets, however, might be the most scary—a team could easily find themselves down 1-0 and having a must win game in the second game of the series, having to face Jacob deGrom.
However, there are 18 games left in the season and obviously lots of thing could change. The most important thing is that the Dodgers’ bullpen regains its early season dominance and that the Dodgers offense also shows up in the postseason. Nothing during the regular season matters if those two things don’t happen in the playoffs. 2020 has been a strange year—maybe it’s finally the year for the Dodgers to overcome their previous playoff downfalls.