Three Dodgers That Need to Step Up During the Playoffs

We have come to the final home stand, and last six games of the Los Angeles Dodgers 2021 regular season. And while not impossible to overtake the division lead, it seems as though the Dodgers will head into the playoffs as the first NL Wild Card seed.

The Dodgers sit two games behind the San Francisco Giants with those six games to go. The Dodgers will face the San Diego Padres and Milwaukee Brewers, while the Giants will also finish at home against the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Padres.

Los Angeles will basically have to win all their final games to have a chance to tie or overtake the Giants, and hope that either the Padres or the DBacks will have some fight in them for the remaining vestiges of their respective seasons.

Regardless of where the Dodgers start the postseason however, it still remains that they are in the postseason and will need the team to be firing on all cylinders if they want to repeat their World Championship. Yesterday, Dennis wrote about how the Dodgers are still the odd-on favorite to win the World Series. But that doesn’t happen if the players don’t perform.

The Dodgers are the odds-on favorite because of how many incredible players they have, from Max Scherzer to last year’s NLCS and World Series MVP, Corey Seager. Still, a few names stick out as being a tad bit more important if the Dodgers are going to go all the way.

Clayton Kershaw – Even a causal fan knows about the trials and tribulations of Kershaw in the postseason. His triumphs are often overlooked of favor of dredging up the past instances of when he was left out a little too long because he was carrying the entire team on his back. Or when he was cheated out of another great postseason outing (no, this writer will never be over that).

Kershaw has been seen this season hampered by injury, putting him at the back of the Dodgers starting rotation instead of his usual spot in the top two. Scherzer would most likely start the Wild Card game, and Walk Buehler would start NLDS Game 1, should they win. That puts Julio Urías for Game 2, and Kershaw for the always pivotal Game 3.

Mostly, Kershaw has been good in his return from the injured list. In his last outing he gave up three earned runs in 4.1 innings, but before that he had his slider working and was looking like his former self. That Kershaw will need to make an appearance in the playoffs for the Dodgers to make a good run.

Chris Taylor – the Dodgers main utility man, Taylor had an absolutely hot start to the season. He was good enough to make the All-Star Game. But since then, he has been way down, hitting just .147 over his last 30 games. While the Dodgers have some options off their bench, Taylor is the top one, able to play at almost any position. Gavin Lux may over take him in that top bench guy, if Cody Bellinger can come back healthy from the injured list and find his swing again in time for the playoffs. But Taylor with his ability to be slotted anywhere from middle infielder to all over the outfield is one the Dodgers must have performing at a higher level in the playoffs.

Dave Roberts – Although he inherited a very good squad, Manager Dave Roberts has a chance to go down in Dodgers history as one of the great managers the club has seen. And he can do that by guiding this team to back-to-back championships. Roberts’ clubhouse tactics have kept this team together through losing a huge off-season signing to off the field issues, and losing other key players to multiple injuries.

Still, he will need to continue guiding them and choosing the right players off the bench and out of the bullpen at the right time. And if the offense starts to falter, somehow figure out how to light a fire before it’s too late.

Hopefully, if they don’t win the division, that will be enough motivation for the Dodgers to get things going through the playoffs. Otherwise they 2021 Dodgers will be relegated to another 100+ win team that couldn’t get it done in the playoffs.

32 thoughts on “Three Dodgers That Need to Step Up During the Playoffs

  1. I am not a Roberts fan. Roberts has been given a top 1-3 rated team talent-wise for the last 5 years. He has managed to win one title. Roberts has singlehandedly lost games by his poor in-game pitching decisions. Roberts is a poor in-game decision manager. The Dodger Organization likes Roberts as he is a good person and runs a contented clubhouse. The record during the season is nice but the playoffs are what is important and if Roberts is against a team with similar talent he does not win.

    1. You are stuck with him T. He has one more year on his deal, and he ain’t going no where. Jaime Jarrin has announced that he will retire after next season. 64 years as the Dodgers Spanish language play by play announcer. He is 84 years old.

      1. Bear, you’ve got to read to the end of those press releases.
        Yes Jaime is retiring after next year as play by play announcer but that’s only so he can replace Doc as manager in 2023.

      2. I know we are stuck with Roberts. I wonder if the Dodger Front Office would be willing to have a strong manager as the Front Office reportedly makes a lot of decisions that many managers traditionally make. A great manager can propel his team to over-perform especially in the playoffs. I have not seen that type of management from Roberts. Roberts needs a team that is better to win.
        Yep, we are stuck with him. Unless he gets much better in his in-game decision-making I will never like him as a manager. Although I respect him as a person.

      3. There are no great managers out there. There are guys who motivate, and those who are good in the clubhouse. There are very few genius’s in the managerial ranks. And there are not that many who are great at in game decisions. A lot of it is luck. Kapler has been lucky. Is he a better manager than Roberts? Doubtful, if he was that good they would not have lost 9 games to LA. Lovullo, in Arizona is perfect for a rebuilding team. Roberts job is to take the analytics that the FO, scouting staff and his game planners give him, and put the BEST CHANCE OF WINNING, lineup on the field. I doubt the front office makes any of the in game decisions, but you can bet EVERY MOVE, Roberts makes is based on DATA and match ups. Managers do not manage by their gut feelings anymore. You think Tommy, or Alston, could get these guys more wins???? Roberts has done an excellent job this season, considering all of the lineup and pitching rotation juggling he has been forced to use. Fans are always going to complain about something. And he has not cost them any games that I have seen this season. His players have by not doing the job they are paid to do. You take that 5-15 stretch and the 3 games Jansen blew in July away and play .500 ball over those 23 games, say 11-10, they would be 3 games up instead of two down and none of that is on Roberts. I saw Alston make some huge blunders that cost them playoff wins. I saw Lasorda do the same damn thing. Roberts in comparison, is not that bad. He won one world series, was cheated out of another, and totally beaten by a better team in the third. He did make a huge mistake in game 5 of the playoffs against DC sending Kershaw back out for a second inning, and then not having anyone ready after he gave up the first homer. Sending Kelly back out to pitch the 10 was not too bright either.

  2. The Giants loss of Belt should really hurt them, but considering the way their year has gone that probably means that replacement Wilmer Flores or LaMonte Wade Jr (take your pick) will be this year’s World Series MVP.

    Their pitching staff is more or less staggering to the finish line and I think it’s quite possible that they’re eliminated in the NLDS. But then I’m the guy who told my Giants-fan friend that they would wind up this year at least 20 games behind the Dodgers and Padres.

    Listen to what I say!!!!! Then bet the opposite.

      1. The least you could do is give me 10% of your winnings.
        And, by the way, I don’t know how far the Giants are going to go in the playoffs but I say there is no way they win the World Series. Tell your friends in SF they can start planning their parade.

      2. I know you’re short, but I’ve never held that against you.
        8% is my bottom line. If you can’t pay me that, I won’t let you pay me anything.
        (I’ve always had a talent for negotiating)

      3. I’ve already figured out what I’m doing with the money you won’t be paying me. I guess all that’s left now is for me to get you my bank info and SS#. I’ll be posting that here in just a minute.

        And remember to take out withholding taxes, etc. before sending me that $0.00.

  3. Jaime Jarrin will go into the HOF. Los Angeles was very fortunate to have the two best baseball announcers in the history of baseball. He is an amazing man, husband, and father.

    1. Jarrin is already in the Hall. He won the Frick award in 1998. He will no doubt go into the broadcasters wing shortly..oh T, managers can encourage players to do their best, but performance is on the player. Managers have very little to do with that. All they can do is massage egos and explain their plans for the player. That is why Albert is so happy in LA. He knew exactly what his role was going to be. Pujols to 10 day IL, Bellinger activated. Got my 2021 Albert Pujols Topps now card yesterday. Topps will no longer make cards after their contract with MLB expires after 2025. Fanatics will start making cards in 2026.

      1. Bear we disagree about the impact of managers. Managers, Coaches make a huge impact on a team. They especially make a difference when playing teams that are at parity or better than their team. There is a reason some coaches, managers win championships and others do not. The way a team is run makes the difference in a playoff game. That is why the Dodgers are lucky Cash made a Roberts-type move and lost the WS before Roberts could make one of his terrible in-game decisions and lose another series.
        We have all been on teams. The manager establishes the team Culture establishes the will the grit of a team. The Great Managers WIN! Consistently even with lesser teams.
        By the way, Dodger Nation had an interview with Bellinger (He cut his hair) . Bellinger admitted that despite his MVP year success he has figured out he needs to change his arm and hand positioning at-bat. Jeez he is hitting 159 and he just figured it out.
        But the incredible news is he said he is starting to change. WOW thank you Bellinger…

      2. Sometimes it takes luck to win. How about the job Roberts did against Atlanta? And, instead of going to his closer, he stayed with Urias. That took guts. Listen you give too much credit to the manager. And too much blame. Cash might have pulled Snell, and that was a bad decision, but, it was only the 6th inning, so no one knows how long Snell might have lasted. And, there would have been a game 7 and Kersh would have been pitching for LA. You can assume all day long and it won’t make you right. For all the bitching about Roberts, his team is the only team in DODGER HISTORY to win 100 games in 3 of 5 seasons. There have been 9 100 win seasons in Dodger history and Roberts led teams have 1/3rd of that total. I am not saying he is a genius by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a hell of a lot harder to win Championships now than it ever has been. Alston, other than 59 and 62, never had to play playoff series. He only had to worry about beating the teams in the NL. Lasorda, had to win 1 division series to get to the World Series in 88 and 2 in the strike shortened season of 81. Roberts had to not only beat Milwaukee, but then San Diego, and Atlanta before he even got to the series. He did that with a couple of his best hitters mired in season long slumps, Pederson and Muncy. He got production from his new star, Betts, and Seager, and Pollock were key pieces. And enough of the Bellinger bashing. Give it a frippen rest. Had the kid been healthy all season and hitting like this I could understand it. But he has not been the same player. He is not even at full strength yet. He has missed almost half a season. Fans have no clue what the players have to do to get well and it is not that easy playing the game. Just because any fan thinks the guy should do something, does not mean he is not trying. If it ain’t broke, leave it alone. In Cody’s case, he and the coaching staff have worked their butts off trying to get him right. I saw the change in his stance earlier in the month before he got hurt again. Write it off to a bad year and let it go. The team values his defense, even though most fans just want to see home runs.

      3. You get emotionally attached to players. I get it. We all do but Baseball is also a game of stats. What matters in the sports and business worlds is performance. The Braves teams have gone down in history as a team that dominated for many years in the regular season but could not win the WS. They are not considered a “Great Team”. Had they won more than one WS they would be considered with other teams that won more titles as a great team. The Dodgers so far are in the Braves glide path. The Dodgers have consistently dominated the regular season and underachieved in the playoffs, I blame part of that on Roberts. And yes many times the best team does not win. The Giant teams come to mind. But they had an incredible manager that fostered a winning atmosphere. Bochy will be in the HOF.
        You love Bellinger that is fine you really should just admit it. You do not care that he is averaging 159, continues to hit into the shift, pops up, strikes out, and kills rallies. Many of us do care and cannot understand why they have allowed Bellinger to set a new mark for offensive haplessness. But Bellinger has finally admitted in an interview he has figured out he has to change!! WOOHOO>>> There may be hope for him. He has the Talent. I hope he does change and dominates.

      4. I am not emotionally attached to any player T. Never assume anything. What I do have is respect for the kids talent and a firm belief that he will rebound with a full spring training and another winter to fully heal. I also believe that he is really trying and working with the training staff and coaches on ways to improve. You and many other pooh pooh his season and do not count the fact the the guy has been hurt. Yeah, he is hitting .161, so what? He has not let it affect his defense. He has not pouted or anything like that. He goes out there every time he is asked and plays hard. That is what I look at. By the way, he hit a clutch HR in the 8th inning tonight to help them come back and win a game that it looked like they were going to lose. You bitch about Bellinger, but say nothing about Muncy and Taylor, who both over the last month have stunk up the joint and Taylor is closing in on his Dodger record for K’s in a season.

      5. LUCK only helps those that are prepared to take advantage of it! Life is a series of breaks good and bad. The person or team that has prepared is the one that can overcome the bad breaks and ride the good ones. Bochy had his teams playing as a team and was ready to optimize any opportunity. His team won 3 championships and I do not believe they had the best team in all three of those years. But they won!

      6. Life is a series of karmic events. Laws of physics determine everything. Equal and opposite reactions. What goes around comes around.

      7. On another blog some guy said the Angels are going after Scherzer in an effort to appease Ohtani, Rendon and Trout. I gave that idea some deep thought and said “nope”.

      8. Nope that’s not the reason they’ll go after him or nope they aren’t going to go after him?

      9. The Angels must address their pitching. Ohtani has stated he wants to play for a winning team, at this point that is not the Angels. The Angel’s new GM is a good one. With their everyday lineup, if healthy, they have a good team but they have never managed to have a reliable pitching staff.
        Who knows if the owner Mr Moreno is willing to spend the money and more importantly listen to his baseball people. Moreno has made some incredibly bad choices that have haunted the Angels. If they want to re-sign Ohtani they must get a competitive team. To do that they need pitching.

      10. No way Max signs there. I honestly believe he will resign with LA. And it will be a 3 year deal close to or a little over 90 million. I think they will discuss a 2 year deal with CK for significantly less money. Syndergaard is a free agent also, I wonder if they would kick the tires on him.

  4. I was thinking about Bellinger and how ineffective he has been. I wonder if they have attempted to get him to change and he has refused. The Dodgers are paying him 16 MILLION to bat 159! Have they thrown him in the deep end and watched him drown to see if he will finally figure out he must change his MVP stance? I think so. Bellinger mentioned his MVP stance in the interview. He was incredible for 2/3 rds of a year? Since then it has been a slow decline to the bottom. If he will finally change his stance and attitude I think he will have a very good 2022 if they play at all…

    1. Check the fact and your stats there T. It has not been a slow steady decline. He started last season off slow, and then hit .260 the rest of the way, Not MVP numbers, but a lot better than the .120 he was hitting the first month. This year is an anomaly simply because he has been hurt and that is the main reason he has struggled. It has nothing at all to do with his attitude. QUIT assuming stuff unless you have hard evidence to back up that BS statement.

  5. Bear I find it very hard to write off 159 as a bad year. 229 or 249 is a bad year. 159 is apparent.y the worst year in the history of the modern era. Chris Davis who hit 168 is probably saying thanks cody. Now I’m number 2. And why would the dodgers play a guy who hasn’t recovered from surgery. Like most people I would like to see cody bounce back, but this decline started long before the shoulder and I’m not very hopefully.

    1. You also are not taking into account the amount of time he has missed, the seriousness of the surgery he had, how it affected his swing. The lack of a full spring training and then breaking his leg 4 games into the season. His shoulder problems started before last season and were compounded by the injury he suffered in the playoffs. The guy is 25 years old. He had major surgery on that shoulder less than a year ago. And it is still not at full strength. You guys just do not get it. They played him because his offense was not really missed all that much. And he occasionally got a big hit. He was playing every day because they value the defense he gives them at a prime defensive position. CF. Any offense they got was a plus. Too many fans assume they know what is good for the team, and who they should play. Betts, played through his hip being balky until the pain became too much. Bellinger was not in pain, but his shoulder was not, and still is not at full strength. Let the people who know what is going on make the decisions. Bellinger will be back, and as good as ever next season. Mark my words. If he isn’t, well I will admit I was wrong. Muncy, Taylor have both been in a month long funk. And no one says crap. Funny, because tonight, when they needed it most, Bellinger, Muncy and Taylor, along with Seager, hit HR’s to bring them back from being down 9-6 to an 11-9 win.

  6. If anyone ever hits 159 again in this league we’ll jump right on it. I really hope you are right about Bellinger and we are all eating crow next spring, but I suspect that won’t happen.

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