Sunday’s loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates prevented the Los Angeles Dodgers from trimming at their magic number of seven to clinch a third consecutive National League West division title, and further distance themselves from the New York Mets, who were blown out by the New York Yankees Sunday night.
Although the Dodgers have yet to secure a spot in the postseason, it’s largely a forgone conclusion, with securing home-field advantage in a likely NL Division Series matchup with the Mets the bigger carrot left to play for. October baseball may very well be in the Dodgers’ near future, but who will make the 25-man NLDS roster remains a fluid situation.
Kiké Hernandez and Yasiel Puig are both recovering from respective hamstring strains; so too is Jose Peraza, though he may have been a long shot even if healthy. With the regular season winding down, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly has been asked about a prospective postseason roster on multiple occasions.
Naturally, injuries and waiting to see which players may still return has impacted some of the projecting, which Mattingly has reiterated there’s been little of. “If we were making decisions in August, we’d be looking at it differently,” Mattingly said. “Kiké as a backup, but he’s not here right now. Peraza was on the radar a little bit.”
Perhaps the most intriguing situation unfolding is at shortstop between two players 15 years and 16 season’s worth of Major League experience apart. An injury to Jimmy Rollins, first believed to be a sore knuckle on his right index finger and now a sprained finger, created a window of opportunity for Corey Seager and the rookie shortstop has more than made the most of it.
The 21-year-old Seager is batting .379 with a 1.082 on-base-plus-slugging-percentage in 16 games since making his Major-League debut Sept. 3. The Dodgers’ top prospect has nine extra-base hits (two home runs; seven doubles) and has reached safely in all 15 games started.
As Rollins continues to have difficulty with throwing a baseball, the support for Seager to make the postseason roster has grown louder. However, Mattingly hasn’t tipped his hand either way, and was again split down the middle on Sunday.
“We haven’t got to thinking like that yet,” he answered when asked if the young shortstop would remain on the Dodgers’ active roster beyond the regular-season finale. “We’re still trying to win games. Once we get there, we’ll talk about that.”
Last season the Dodgers carried 13 position players and 12 pitchers for their NLDS matchup with the St. Louis Cardinals.