25 games might be the ideal amount of time to prepare for a postseason run in terms of deciding roles, resting starting pitchers and looking at players who previously may not have been considered.
But those 25 days could also be a potential pitfall if any injuries occur to a key player.
We have a pretty good idea which players will make up the core of the Dodgers’ postseason roster, but the roles they play might be a different story.
It’s tough to say which approach manager Dave Roberts and his front-office bosses might take, as we’ve seen them prefer to use players based on handedness or matchups in the past, while they’ve also stuck with veterans and proven performers regardless of those matchups.
The starting rotation is especially interesting. We know that Julio Urias should be the No. 1 guy, but the bigger question is how the team should use him down the stretch of the regular season to prepare for that role. Should they work him every sixth day, using him for just a handful of innings to keep him loose? Or should they use him with no restrictions, ensuring the work rate that has made him so successful all year is not interrupted?
The same relative theory applies to veteran Clayton Kershaw, although fans are probably holding their collective breath that an injury does not occur, causing the team to use openers and bullpen games that did not work so well for them in the playoffs in recent years.
Righty starter Tony Gonsolin continues to ride the roller coaster of recovery. One day, he’s playing catch and throwing without restrictions, and the next the prognosis gets worse. The last we heard, he could have enough time to build up for the playoffs, even though his forearm is healing much slower than expected.
If we don’t bank on Gonsolin and we assume May moves into the relief crew, that gives us a starting rotation foundation of Urias, Kershaw and Tyler Anderson with some lingering thoughts of Andrew Heaney.
Obviously, that’s a lot of speculation, but an all-lefty trio for the NLDS has a good chance of happening at this point. Over the next few weeks, it should be interesting to see if management takes a conservative approach to guard against injury or make an all-out effort to secure home-field advantage throughout the postseason.