With eight games now remaining in the regular season, Dodgers‘ skipper Dave Roberts hinted to the media on Friday that he will revert to using the best possible lineups down the stretch run of the schedule, indicating that the most important matter is getting into a consistent pattern of playing good baseball, as there will be enough time for players to rest between the season finale and the beginning of the NLDS on October 6.
With a win over the Giants on Friday evening, the Dodgers clinched the 2017 National League West Division Championship. It’s the Dodgers’ fifth straight and 16th overall NL West title, as the club reached the postseason in five consecutive seasons for the first time in franchise history.
It’s been a rather depressing end of summer for Dodgers fans, as the Boys in Blue couldn’t quite get much going through the end of August and the month of September. But today the Northern Hemisphere turns to autumn, and the Dodgers will be celebrating Clinchmas, and hopefully those losing days will fall behind them.
As there’s still the matters of wrapping up the division, vying for home-field advantage, and putting together some much-needed continuity inside the final nine games of the regular season, many fans of the Dodgers can’t help but look ahead and wonder which players will be called upon for the 25-man roster when the postseason arrives in just a few short weeks.
On the offensive side of things, there’s probably not a streakier hitter on the Dodgers‘ entire roster than catcher Yasmani Grandal. When he’s hot, he’s often capable of carrying the team’s production on his own shoulders, but when he’s cold, he sometimes shuts down completely. During these quiet stretches, the club’s output with the lumber frequently feels the effects of such nosedives, especially when he’s entrenched smack dab in the middle of the Los Angeles batting order.
It’s difficult to even know where to begin when writing an article on the Dodgers these days. Last Monday, I was flippant. Friday, I was morose and somewhat at a loss for what to say, and now….really, what does one say?
The good news is with 25 games remaining on the regular season schedule, the Dodgers still maintain a 12-1/2 game lead over the Diamondbacks in what has progressively become an interesting race in the National League West. The bad news is that Los Angeles runs into Zack Greinke on Tuesday evening in the middle game of a three-game set at Dodger Stadium. Greinke seeks to notch his 17th win of the season and keep the momentum rolling for the Snakes, who have now won 11 straight and 13 of their last 14 contests.
I’ve never looked at the roster of a playoff contender and seen any tough choices to make. I’ve never had to look at a teams outfield, and figure out who should play left field because usually there’s a clear answer. Not for the 2017 Dodgers. In the postseason, managers want to put their “A-Team” on the field, the problem is, the Dodgers have quite a few combinations of a championship caliber team, but it’s the best problem to have — it’s why they’re likely to succeed in the 2017 playoffs.
It seems silly to describe the 2017 Dodgers as a boring team, I suppose. But I was watching a sports talk show on TV the other day, and they were interviewing Cody Bellinger. They asked him how such a dominant team could be so boring.
It’s nice to know that when you take a vacation, and don’t have much service, that if you are a Dodgers fan, you can come back to find them exactly in the same position that you left them in — well in command of the NL West, the NL, and all of the majors, for that matter.