Well, the 2021 Los Angeles Dodgers had a hell of a season. Unforgettable in so many different ways. 106 wasn’t quite good enough to win the NL West this year however, and so the Dodgers are now preparing themselves for a Wild Card game to decide if they’re moving on in the postseason.
The Dodgers finished the year strong, sweeping both the San Diego Padres and the Milwaukee Brewers at home. They hopefully have found their offense, having scored eight or more runs in each of their last five games.
But along the way, they lost two very important pieces of their roster. Both Clayton Kershaw and Max Muncy will be out for the foreseeable future with arm injuries.
Last Thursday, I wrote about the three people that would need to step up for the Dodgers to go deep into the playoffs. With Muncy and Kershaw now both out, I’d like to make an addendum to that column.
I had Kershaw as the starting pitcher that would most need to be on his A game. But as we have no idea when or if he will be pitching again, the responsibility will most likely fall on the shoulder of Tony Gonsolin, and more of the bullpen. Gonsolin did not have much success last year in the postseason, when he pitched in both the NLCS and World Series. In 9.1 innings pitched, he had an 8.68 ERA.
Since his return from the injured list earlier the year, Gonsolin has been pitching decently. Not terrible for a fifth starter, but not as well as one would hope heading into the playoffs. He allowed three earned runs in his last outing, going 4.1 innings against the Padres. In his outing previous to that, he went 5.0 innings allowing three runs, against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Another issue is that he’s not stretched out yet to go long into games, but, as the now the Dodgers’ fourth starter the bullpen will need to be ready to carry more of the bulk of his outing. But, he could also be used as a long relief man. However the Dodgers see him being used, he will have do better than he did in last year’s playoffs to help the team.
The bigger loss however is that of Max Muncy. The first baseman had his arm ripped back by runner Jace Peterson, and he immediately dropped to the ground in pain. As of this writing there is no additional news on the elbow, just that the Dodgers believe he will be out at least through the NLDS, and possibly the whole postseason.
This unfortunate event leaves the Dodgers with two possibilities for his replacement, who will most likely platoon in regards to the handedness of the opposing pitcher.
Albert Pujols will be the starter against lefties, with Matt Beaty likely taking on the roll against righties. While Pujols does not have the numbers he once had, no doubt he will relish being in the playoffs for possibly the last time in his career. Beaty has not seen much action in 2021 for the Dodgers. But if his last few at bats have been any indication, he is ready to show what he can do in the postseason. The utility player is 4-for-8 with two home runs and a 1.250 slugging percentage in his last two games, and a .375 batting average over his last seven games.
Cody Bellinger also might see some time at first base, if they playoffs are extended beyond Wednesday. But his defense is more needed in centerfield. Bellinger also has looked like perhaps he is starting to finally make some strides at the bat. It would be the perfect time for the tall lefty to finally find his groove.
The Dodgers still have the best odds to win the whole thing, with Vegas giving them 4-1 odds. The team has to get through the formidable St Louis Cardinals first, however. The Red Birds have won 12 of their last 15 games, and the two teams split a four game series at the beginning of September.
The NL Wild Card game will be Wednesday, October 6th on TBS at 5:10 PST. Adam Wainwright will take the hill for the Cards, and Max Scherzer will make the start for the Dodgers.
9 thoughts on “Dodgers Looking for Backups to Step Up Big in Playoffs in Light of Injuries”
Although the Dodgers are WS favorites I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be shocked to see any one of the playoff teams win it all. Some are more likely than others, but this field seems like one of the more evenly matched in recent years. Any team could get hot and win it.
Beaty really seems like the forgotten man this year. Sometimes I think we take his hitting for granted and he has an incredibly difficult job because they never seem to give him regular at bats. The guys who play every day can get into a groove, but not the players like Beaty. Not only was he coming off the bench most of the time, but they also sent him to OKC for awhile this year. I’d love to see him have a good post season and get some appreciation.
You hope the entire team steps up. Waino is no easy mark, but he can be had. He lost 7 this season, so someone beat him. As for Beaty, I think he is a good hitter and a marginal fielder. He is not very good in the outfield, but he is much better at 1st not making an error there in 21 games this season. Albert has only 1 error in 56 games there for the Dodgers. I like the experience Albert brings in the post season. But my heart says Dave is going to lean with Beaty against a RH pitcher. Cody is in CF no matter what. Defense is going to be key in this game.
Of course we hope the whole team steps up. But I’m less worried about Seager and Pollock than I am all of these guys i mentioned. I think they’ll get to wainwright
we have to hope so
Dodgers get the shaft. Cowboy Joe West, who cannot retire fast enough for me, is going to be the HP ump in the wild card game. Add insult to injury, if they go to the NLDS, Angel Hernandez, who has no business umpiring in the first place, he has the worst rating in the majors, is going to be the crew chief of the umps for that series… Manfred hates us.
How do we know that those two guys will ump worse for us than they do for the Cards?
Angel is getting his assignment because he screamed about being overlooked for post season stuff last year.
I hear that you and Joe are doing a duet for the Star Spangled Banner tomorrow.
No matter where they are, they will do something that will at some point piss both teams off. I do not do duets……..LOL….Hernandez has been screaming discrimination, and if memory serves, did he not file a grievance about that?
Yeah, and he lost.
Beaty is limited. Yes, he can occasionally hit, would probably have better numbers with a full time job, but frankly I’d rather have Joc. I was hoping McKinstry would win that job, he didn’t, but I believe he still could.
As for Wainwright, I trust the Dodgers are studying the heat maps. He’s got all the pitches, but the fastball is not his out pitch unless he gets you to chase. Against the Dodgers he’s going to spin it for strikes and tease with the 4 seamer just off the edges. This is a pitcher that will get a piss poor lazy ass ump like Joe West to call strikes 4” off the plate.