Dodgers Set to Battle Revenge-Seeking Diamondbacks

And so the final week of the 2018 season is upon us, with the Dodgers holding a slim 1.5 lead over the Colorado Rockies. There are no more games at home, just three on the road again Arizona and three against San Francisco

Arizona refused to help Los Angeles out in any way this weekend against Colorado, losing all three games. That eliminated them from any postseason play. In fact, Arizona is 5-17 since the Dodgers took three-of-four from the to start the month and knock them out of first place.

Now, they’re looking to have a little retribution from the postseason last year. They also still have a bitter taste in their mouth from when the Dodgers clinched the division in 2013 and celebrated in the Diamondbacks’ pool.

“It’s hard to say you are going to pay people back in sports, because they are gifted athletes too” Diamondbacks manager Terry Lovullo said Sunday. “But we should make it as hard on them as possible to do what they are trying to do”. He went on to say, “That will be my message to the guys. I certainly don’t want to watch any team celebrate on our turf.”

There’s also Archie Bradley‘s famous comments last year that Chase Field is “Our House” and not the Dodgers’, even though there are routinely a good deal of Dodger fans there.

One wonders why they didn’t want ‘make it as hard’ on the Rockies, especially when they were fighting for a right to be in the playoffs. Seeing as they lost all three to Colorado, and the Dodgers’ magic number is six, it would be pretty hard for the Dodgers to be able to celebrate in Arizona. They would need to sweep the Diamondbacks, and Colorado would have to lose three to the Phillies at Coors Field, and the timing would have to be just so that the Dodgers would know by the end of Wednesday’s game.

Regardless , the Dodgers head into the series in Phoenix hot, winning 15 of their last 22, and nine of their last 11. As I’ve stated before, they have played to their competition, so if the Diamondbacks play hard, the Dodgers should be fine.

The Dodgers will send their best pitchers to the mound to try to keep their lead secure. Monday night will be Clayton Kershaw facing off against Robbie Ray. Tuesday will be Walker Buehler and Matt Koch, and Wednesday will be Ross Striping and Zach Greinke.

The Rockies play all seven days this week, while the Dodgers play six, with an off day on Thursday. If the Dodgers can take both series, the Rockies would have to sweep all seven games to win the division, and six to tie. Dodgers need to stay hot and not let the division get any closer than it is.

 

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Dodgers to Use Yet Another Lineup Variation Against Nix, Padres

One day after coming up short against the cellar-dwelling Padres, the Dodgers have decided to employ yet another lineup variation to face 22-year-old righty Jacob Nix in the second game of the series on Saturday night.

The biggest change for Los Angeles is Manny Machado moving to the cleanup spot. Max Muncy, who normally plays first base against southpaws and hits fourth or fifth, assumes Machado’s spot in the three-hole.

Two other new looks for the Dodgers occur as right fielder Yasiel Puig hits out of the sixth hole, while Chris Taylor garners a start at second base and hits eighth.

In the series opener, the Dodgers outhit the Padres 9-8 with primarily their right-handed lineup, but were ultimately defeated, 5-3. Young lefty Eric Lauer went five strong innings for San Diego, giving up just one earned run on four hits and two walks.

With the defeat, the Dodgers saw their division lead shorten to 1-1/2 games as the Rockies secured a 6-2 victory against the Diamondbacks.

Rich Hill, who has given up four earned runs in each of his last three starts, will take the mound for the Dodgers. The good news is that the Los Angeles offense has been producing behind Hill, scoring an impressive 49 runs in the last five games he has started.

First pitch is set for 6:10 p.m. Los Angeles time.

Saturday’s lineup vs. righty Nix:

  1. Pederson LF
  2. Turner 3B
  3. Muncy 1B
  4. Machado SS
  5. Bellinger CF
  6. Puig RF
  7. Grandal C
  8. Taylor 2B
  9. Hill P

 

 

Dodgers Roster: Comparing the 2018 Offense to the 2017 Postseason Version

The Dodgers have to feel pretty good heading into their final regular season series at home. They will be facing the San Diego Padres, against whom they’ve won 12 of the 16 contests they’ve played so far this season.

As Los Angeles is only sitting 2.5 games ahead of the Colorado Rockies for the division lead, they cannot afford to relax and assume the division is theirs. They need to take advantage of the fact they are now playing a team they have performed well against in the past, and continue that dominance.

Yesterday, Dennis took a look at what this year’s postseason rotation might look like in comparison to last year’s, and he concluded that the Boys in Blue are probably better off this year in that regard. So how about the offense?

The Dodgers started their 2017 postseason campaign with this lineup:

  • Chris Taylor CF
  • Corey Seager SS
  • Justin Turner 3B
  • Cody Bellinger 1B
  • Yasiel Puig RF
  • Curtis Granderson LF
  • Yasmani Grandal C
  • Logan Forsythe 2B
  • Clayton Kershaw P

At least a third of that lineup will be different this year, with Granderson and Forsythe no longer playing for the Dodgers and Seager out with his elbow injury.

As it currently stands, and if things don’t change, it appears that the Dodgers would start their 2018 World Series campaign against the Atlanta Braves. They would most likely send right-hander Mike Foltynewicz to the mound. (In fact their rotation is right-hander heavy, but more on that if the series comes to fruition.) With that in mind, we could see a lineup something like this:

  • Joc Pederson LF
  • Justin Turner 3B
  • Manny Machado SS
  • Max Muncy 1B
  • Cody Bellinger CF
  • Brian Dozier 2B
  • Yasmani Grandal C
  • Yasiel Puig RF
  • Clayton Kershaw P

Some might argue for Puig to be higher and Dozier lower in the lineup, but I really like Puig at the bottom. He can do serious damage and no one else has a number eight hitter like him. Dozier is the weak link in the lineup right now, and I’d rather hide him in the six spot to give the lineup more length.

This lineup is stronger and more powerful than last year’s lineup. And, more importantly, the guys left on the bench are more potent, too. In the lineup above, Matt Kemp, Chris Taylor, David Freese and Kiké Hernandez are still available. Even if you switch out Kiké for Dozier in the lineup, that still gives the Dodgers a formidable advantage over the four guys Atlanta might have waiting on their bench.

But the biggest advantage the Dodgers have in their lineup, in addition to the depth, is the thing fans have been complaining most about all season- platooning and lefty/right matchups. If a guy doesn’t start, he knows he’ll most likely get into the game later on as a pinch hitter, and he’ll be ready for that opportunity because they’ve been doing that all season. They know that even if they’re on the bench even if their bat is hot, they’ll still have a good chance to be the hero of the game. Case in point, Puig in Wednesday’s game.

With the caveat of “if they stay hot,” this team will do serious damage offensively. Along with Dennis’s assessment of the starting rotation, this year ‘s Dodgers’ offense might be a little better set up for the playoffs. They also have a lot to prove after a disappointing regular season, and the bitter aftertaste of last year’s playoffs still lingering in their mouths spurring them on.

Compared to Last Year, the Dodgers’ 2018 Rotation Is Better Suited for Playoffs

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(Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports)

Even with nine games remaining on the regular season schedule, the Dodgers still have plenty of work to do before they begin preparing for any type of playoff appearance. Still, the club is experiencing success in just about all aspects of play right now, but lately, it’s been the starting pitching that’s been the most effective and dominant.

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Dodgers Roster: Several Key Contributors Aiming for Milestones During Stretch Run

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(Getty Images photo)

The Los Angeles Dodgers are in the midst of a contentious playoff chase that is attracting the attention of the entire baseball world.

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Series Preview: Dodgers Face Rockies for 3 Critical Games in Los Angeles

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The Dodgers are in less of a precarious situation than they were a week ago, but they can take control of the their situation and division in their upcoming series with the Colorado Rockies beginning Monday.

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Puig, Dodgers Aim for Strong Weekend Finish Against Cardinals

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(Sports Illustrated photo)

The first part of the weekend couldn’t have gone better for the Dodgers—three straight victories over the Cardinals, coupled with two minor league championships by the Drillers and the Quakes. And to top things off, the Giants handled the Rockies in the first two contests of a three-game weekend set, allowing Los Angeles to reclaim sole possession of first place in the National League West.

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Schedules and Playoff Implications for Dodgers & Other NL Contenders

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The slog of the Dodgers‘ season continues. Los Angeles still sits 1-1/2 games behind the Colorado Rockies in the NL West, but have moved up to one game back in the Wild Card standings.

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Series Preview: Dodgers Prepare for Showdown with Cardinals in St. Louis

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(Getty Images photo)

What was once anticipated to be the most difficult leg of the current road trip has now turned into the most critical. With 16 games remaining on their regular season schedule, the Dodgers begin a four-game series against the Cardinals on Thursday evening, which could conceivably dictate the direction of both clubs in the postseason.

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Underachieving Dodgers Salvage Final Game of Cincinnati Series

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Just when you think the Dodgers are about to push themselves out of the 2018 playoff picture, they surprise you—like winning two out of three in a volatile setting like Denver. Yet on the other hand, right when you think the Boys in Blue have established momentum and might make a run at another division title, they lose two at home to the lowly Mets, then another two on the road to the cellar-dwelling Reds.

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