Dodgers Playoff Roster: Debating the Best Outfield Combinations

For as high of a ceiling the Los Angeles Dodgers’ offense has, it also has an extremely low floor. I’m not necessarily talking about the last handful of games that matter little at the end of the regular season as much as I’m thinking about the consistency over the entire year.

The scary thing is that four players have consistently carried the club over the course of the year. Justin Turner, who has had a remarkable turnaround during the second half, makes five. Anyone else, sans Gavin Lux, is a crapshoot when they come to the plate, with the majority of the question marks being outfielders.

If we think about a good average for OPS, the major league standard comes in right around .750. Five Dodgers have an OPS over .800 — (Freddie Freeman, Mookie Betts, Trayce Thompson, Will Smith and Trea Turner) — with JTurner at .797 and Lux right near the average mark at .756. Freddie Freeman’s .925 OPS is second in the entire National League, by the way.

After Lux, there’s a lot of daylight, with the next qualifying batter being Max Muncy at .725.

As far as the outfield crew goes not named Betts or Thompson, Joey Gallo has an OPS of .690 for the year, Chris Taylor is at .677 and Cody Bellinger’s at .649.

While some managers like to stick with a consistent lineup during the postseason, Dave Roberts this year might choose to base his daily batting orders on matchups or the opposing pitcher’s handedness. If we’re talking strictly about defense, a combination of Betts, Bellinger and Gallo with Thompson floating is tough to beat. However, it’s sometimes tough to win playoff games with just great gloves.

Taylor could possibly be one of the team’s streakiest hitters, but he’s almost always come up big in the playoffs, as made evident by his .476 average (10-for-21) with three homers and three doubles in last year’s NLCS.

Bellinger seems to be heating up a bit at the end of the regular season, but it’s impossible to predict how he’ll perform when the playoffs roll around.

Over his last 26 games, Gallo has gone 9-for-70 (a .129 average), and probably wouldn’t even be on the roster if it wasn’t for a few big-game hits and his stellar glove. To boot, Thompson is in a similar slump of his own, hitting just .169 (11-for-65) over his last 21 games after having a sizzling start in his return to the team.

I guess the point of this whole mess is that choosing an optimal offensive lineup can sometimes be a crapshoot outside of the Big 4 of Mookie, Freeman, TTurner and Smith. Should that group of four collectively go cold by the time the playoffs roll around, the Dodgers might have a tougher time than many people imagined.

Having outfielders like Bellinger and Taylor step up big in the playoffs — like they’ve done in the past — could be critical to the team’s success.

More Thoughts on Dodgers’ Record-Breaking 2022 Season

For some baseball fans, the concept of a record-breaking season seems unfulfilling unless it’s accompanied by a World Championship, especially if they’re fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers. It’s crazy to think that a season that begins with preparations in February and often lasting into November can be forgotten so easily if the team fails to bring home the top prize.

However, the 2022 Dodgers are a lot different, particularly when considering many of the obstacles they needed to overcome to reach this point. Skipper Dave Roberts might not be the most strategic in-game technician at times, but he definitely has a diplomatic talent that keeps players motivated and resilient despite the many potential distractions in the clubhouse. Sure, these guys are professionals, but not many teams around the league would have handled some of the setbacks as well as this club.

The bottom line is that the 2022 Los Angeles Dodgers were designed for success with the league’s second-highest payroll, and all the dividends paid off brilliantly at the end of the regular season.

Trevor Bauer

The whole Trevor Bauer saga feels like it occurred years ago. Regardless of your own personal thoughts on Bauer, the way the team handled the daily exposure and balanced out the starting rotation was admirable. Credit also goes to the front office and management team for taking an effective PR approach when dealing with the national media.

Although Bauer continues to fight his case(s) in court, most of the baseball world seems to have him tuned out at this point. It’s still hard to predict exactly what will happen for the righty next year, but it’s safe to say that his ongoing public shenanigans will not affect the performance of his Los Angeles teammates in the 2022 postseason.

Walker Buehler

When Walker Buehler took the bump on Opening Day for the Dodgers this year, the general consensus that the changing of the team’s starting pitching ace became official. However, Buehler fell victim to injury just 12 starts into the year, seemingly creating another chink in the starting rotation’s armor. It started out as a potential eight-week stay on the injured list with a right flexor strain, eventually necessitating season-ending UCL surgery.

At the time of the injury, Andrew Heaney was still on the shelf, so the Dodgers dug deep into their resources and awarded Michael Grove his first-career major league start. The team would go on to deal with multiple other injuries to players like veteran ace Clayton Kershaw and Tony Gonsolin, but the starting pitchers remained resilient enough to lead the entire league in combined ERA for nearly the whole season.

That’s not mentioning the resiliency of the bullpen when compensating for a lengthy injury to Blake Treinen and a season-ending injury to ironman Daniel Hudson.

And to think that Tyler Anderson wasn’t even a part of the Opening Day rotation…

Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy

Although Max Muncy made a dramatic recovery from a season-low .130 batting average on May 3, his current .200 mark at the Mendoza Line may appear disappointing to outsiders who didn’t follow along with his season’s progress. Thanks to Muncy’s talent of drawing walks, his season OPS is a little more respectable at .723, light years ahead of his lefty-hitting teammate Cody Bellinger’s OPS mark of .642.

We could probably sit here for hours and guess what would have happened if both of these players produced according to their potential, but their respective slumps probably opened the door for a few emerging players like Gavin Lux and Trayce Thompson.

Each year, it seems like there are dozens of obstacles the Dodgers overcome with their incredible organizational depth, but this year just stands out as something extra-special.

Dodgers Prepare for Last Regular Season Series

The final series of the season is here, a rare six-game set against the Colorado Rockies.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are closing the 2022 season with the same team they opened it up against. One hundred eight wins and counting for the Dodgers, they are 60 games over .500 for the first time in franchise history, just unreal records during this decade-long run. They’re the first team to achieve the feat since the Mariners did in 2001. Three teams this season haven’t even reached 60 wins.

However, the biggest question for October is who will close games for the Dodgers.

It has been apparent that Craig Kimbrel isn’t that guy anymore. If anything, these six games should be used as tryouts for the playoff roster, including position players. There are only so many spots available.

Several candidates are coming on late such as Miguel Vargas, who had himself a day yesterday.

Looking at the new playoff format, the first seed does get a bye, but not relatively the best matchup, as they’ll play the winner of the series between the fourth and fifth seed. Depending on the winning teams, I think there should be reseeding after that first round, similar to how the NFL implies.

The Dodgers also announced their starting pitchers for what is left of the regular season. Clayton Kershaw will start the first game of the series and the last game of the series. A six-game regular season series to end before the playoffs are pretty intriguing. It gives you that playoff feeling of playing the same team repeatedly, but the Rockies are a long way from playoff competition.

The pitching order for the Dodgers goes as follows: Kershaw, Michael Grove, Tyler Anderson, Tony Gonsolin, Julio Urias, and Kershaw again. Colorado has only announced their starters until Sunday, beginning with Chad Kuhl, Kyle Freeland, and German Marquez.

There is a clinching scenario tonight at Dodger Stadium, as the Dodgers can clinch home-field advantage throughout the World Series. They’ve already clinched the best record, but if they somehow lose six games in a row and the Astros win six in a row, and they met each other in the postseason, Houston would have home field. However, with a win, the Dodgers will secure home field and won’t have to open a series on the road even though they won over 100 games like last season.

If you also want to keep an eye on potential playoff opponents for the Dodgers, the Mets and Braves are only a game apart for the N.L. East Crown, and they face-off in a series this weekend. The second place will face the fifth seed, which is currently the Padres, who have a 2 ½ lead on the Phillies and a three-game lead on the Brewers.

So, it is quite possible that the Dodgers will face a team in the NLDS that has won over 100 games for the second straight year.

The first pitch for Friday night is scheduled at 7:10 p.m. Pacific.

Dodgers Playoff Roster: Pitching Staff Projections Changing by the Day

Even though just a handful of regular season games remain before the beginning of the postseason, the pitching staff projections for the playoffs seem to be changing for the Dodgers daily, and in some cases, by the hour.

Continue reading “Dodgers Playoff Roster: Pitching Staff Projections Changing by the Day”

Dodgers Injury News and Notes: Tony Gonsolin, Blake Treinen and More

The 2022 regular season will be over a week from today, on Wednesday, Oct 4th. The Los Angeles Dodgers are still treading water, just trying to keep in shape, in game mode, and not getting injured.

Last weekend, Craig Kimbrel was officially demoted from the closer position. Tuesday night, he blew another game, allowing the winning run to score in the bottom of the tenth inning. Not only did he allow the winning run, he walked in that run with the bases loaded.

Continue reading “Dodgers Injury News and Notes: Tony Gonsolin, Blake Treinen and More”

Dodgers Face Padres in Final Road Series of Regular Season

Here is the final road series of the 2022 season, or it might as well be another home series at Dodger Stadium South. Nine games are now left in the season, and the Dodgers have already tied their franchise record in wins in 106.

After the three-game series against the Padres, the Dodgers will commence the season with a six-game set against the Colorado Rockies. Who knows, this Padres series could be a mini playoff series. The Dodgers will face the matchup winner between the fourth and fifth seed, and the fifth seed is currently San Diego. The fourth seed will either be the Braves or the Mets.

Continue reading “Dodgers Face Padres in Final Road Series of Regular Season”

Dodgers News and Notes – Pitching Updates and More

Happy Monday once again Dodger fans – the second to last Monday of the regular season. Next weekend the Wild Card round begins, and then the Los Angeles Dodgers will know who they will face in the Wild Card race.

In the different format that MLB has this year, the Wild Card round will be the best out of three instead of a one and done like previous seasons.

Continue reading “Dodgers News and Notes – Pitching Updates and More”

Dodgers Roster: More Bullpen Thoughts as 2022 Postseason Approaches

About the only two good things happening lately in the Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen are the continued dominance of righty reliever Evan Phillips and the progression of right-hander Yency Almonte in his recovery from elbow issues.

Continue reading “Dodgers Roster: More Bullpen Thoughts as 2022 Postseason Approaches”

Dodgers, Cardinals Look to Tune-Up Before Postseason

Mookie magic propelled the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 3-2 walk-off win Thursday. It was the Dodgers 104th victory this season, which puts them three wins away from their franchise record with 12 games left to play.

Continue reading “Dodgers, Cardinals Look to Tune-Up Before Postseason”