Now that the Dodgers are on to the next round, the team has the opportunity to adjust their rosters for their second round matchup against either the Pirates or the Cardinals.
While the winner of that series determines whether LA will have home field advantage in this round or not, I’m not sure it really impacts the decisions about which players will be on the roster.
With that said, here are the big factors in determining the NLCS roster:
Ethier’s health is of great concern to Dodger fans for a number of reasons, most notably the question of whether he’ll be healthy enough to be an everyday starter come Friday.
Safe to say that would be an upgrade over Skip Schumaker (who went 3/13 with two walks and two RBIs in the NLDS).
The real question, however, is whether the Dodgers would need to hang on to a fifth outfielder in the next round.
Many assumed that Scott Van Slyke was added to the roster as a fourth outfielder capable of playing the field, but if Ethier is allowed to do more than just pinch hit, Van Slyke might be on the outside looking in for the next round.
If Van Slyke doesn’t make the roster, look for the Dodgers to add another bullpen arm given the long upcoming series and the question marks about the next player on this list.
While we’re all still left wondering about the health of Ryu, I’d be surprised if he weren’t healthy enough to continue pitching this postseason.
That said, if Mattingly doesn’t feel comfortable with Ryu making a start next week, there’s really no reason to keep him on the roster over someone like Edinson Volquez.
A once dominant left-handed reliever this season, Paco has been a major disappointment in the past month of action.
Dating back to September 3, Rodriguez has allowed six earned runs and 20 base runners via walk or hit in just 6.1 innings. That performance was capitalized by his disastrous appearance in Game 3 in which he allowed three hits, a walk and two earned runs while retiring just two batters.
Rodriguez has always seemed to be a lock on the playoff roster, but given his recent struggles and probable exhaustion after all of his appearances this season, I’m not so sure his roster spot is so secure.
While no one has talked about Carlos Marmol, the Cubs transfer was excellent for the Dodgers this season and could be a more reliable arm out of the bullpen — although he’s right-handed.
I think another reliever to watch out for is Belisario, who, while he hasn’t been as bad as Rodriguez, is far from a reliable reliever at this point in the season.
Van Slyke — I think he stays on the roster, partly because he’s insurance should Ethier get hurt again, but also because he’s a power bat off the bench, something LA is severely lacking.
Ryu — I think his performance in round one had more to do with nerves than health, so expect Ryu to be ready come Game 3.
Rodriguez — I think his season-long performance has earned him a spot on this roster, especially because they don’t have another lefty to replace him with, but I think Rodriguez has become the least-trustworthy reliever LA has left on the roster.
In case you missed it, here’s the home run that sent the Dodgers to the NLCS!