Let’s talk WORLD SERIES! It brings us great pleasure to be able to bring you all a WORLD SERIES preview round table, because that means the Dodgers are in the WORLD SERIES!
Seriously, what a ride that NLCS was.
Let’s talk pitching. What did you think of Dave’s overall management of the pitching staff in the NLCS and what would you like to see him do differently in this series, if anything?
Gail Johnson: I really liked the use of Urías out of the ‘pen in Game 7 and especially loved that they let him finish it out. I don’t know that using May the way they did is the most effective use of his talent and so would be particularly impressed if they were to let him and Gonsolin start games 3 and 4 and let them go longer than 1 or 2 innings.
Tim Rogers: It is mixed for me. I don’t put some of these openers on Doc as that is probably coming from the front office. However, his call of Treinen in game 7 was excellent. The rest of game 7 he was excellent.
Daniel Palma: This was probably Dave’s best series as a manager for the Dodgers. While there were some mixed results (Graterol and González getting rocked in Game 4), it didn’t come as a result of terrible decision making. Going forward, I just want to see more gut calls versus analytic ones.
Eric Eulau: His sound decision making in Game 7 certainly overshadowed the debacle that was Game 4. For once, he used his eyes instead of a computer algorithm spitting out matchup stats and left Urias in – who was dealing. Hopefully, it’s a turning point for his bullpen management decisions.
Brian Robtaille: Roberts has had some good spots this postseason and some bad ones. If the Dodgers didn’t make it out of that NLCS, I’m sure many would be adding this year to other years of questionable decisions in the playoffs. But they did make it out, and it’s hard to argue that Game 7 was managed pretty well. If anything, I’d like to see Roberts trust his starters a bit more if they’re pitching well. I didn’t like the move to the bullpen in Game 6 when Buehler was lights out, but luckily it didn’t cost them.
Your trust in Kenley on a scale of 1-10?
Gail: a week ago it was a solid 2 but if he continues to do what he did in games 5 and 6, I’ll upgrade that to a solid…7?
Tim: Just as quickly as he gets his mechanics together, he can lose them. Trust is still about a 3.
Daniel: It’s still tough to fully trust Jansen, but his work in games 5 and 6 definitely helped. I would still shy away from using him in a 1-2 run game, but my confidence level had gone up to a 7.
Eric: 4 on a good day, 0 on a bad day. Closers need to be consistent and unfortunately, Kenley is just not consistent anymore. One day his cutter is 88 and flat, and the very next day it’s 92 with movement.
Brian: I’d say about a 7. Jansen has looked a lot better, but for me, it’s not only about his improvement, it’s the other options available. Julio Urias figures to be used in a starter role in the World Series, not as a closer. Blake Treinen has been good at times this postseason, but also hittable at other times. Graterol and Gonzalez have been used in high leverage spots, but usually earlier in the game. So, my trust in Jansen isn’t back to 100%, but I do think he might be the best option late in the game, depending on the circumstance and/or matchup. The leash should be short for sure though.
Who will be the Dodgers X-Factor?
Gail: I shouldn’t be allowed to answer this question because my answer to this question on a previous roundtable was Jake McGee. That being said, I feel an offensive outburst from Chris Taylor is imminent.
Tim: Joc Pederson and fastballs are the pair I am counting on. The Rays throw a ton of fastballs and Joc loves fastballs.
Daniel: I’m going with Tim’s thinking, but my pick is Edwin Rios. He has two huge homers in the NLCS and I predict a few more in the coming days.
Eric: Brusdar Gaterol, the arm that mangoes built. He has the potential to be the ultimate rally stopper and Roberts doesn’t seem to mind using him in stressful situations, regardless of the inning. If he’s on, he can change games.
Brian: I’ll say Justin Turner. I think he’ll come up with some big hits in the series at important times. He might even make a timely defensive gem too.
If the Dodgers win it all, who takes home the WS MVP trophy?
Gail: I am ruled by my heart and so I have to answer this question accordingly: Clayton Kershaw. I also want to see him accept the MVP trophy while simultaneously holding all 3 of his adorable children in his arms.
Tim: Mookie Betts is going to break out offensively and lead the team and cement his legacy.
Daniel: It almost seems impossible to get any hotter than he currently is, but Corey Seager has made it hard to bet against him. He carried his regular season success into October and the Dodgers will need him to keep it up to win it all.
Eric: Voters love storylines. There might not be a better one than Betts joining the Dodgers to push them to the World Series after a disappointing 2019 and defensively dominating the NLCS.
Brian: Like Gail, I’ll be rooting for Kershaw, and with at least two starts in the series, he could have a legit shot if he pitches well. But I’ll say Mookie Betts. He hasn’t homered all postseason, and I think he’s due for some power numbers.
Gail: Stress, laughter, tears, thrills, chills…and Dodgers in 6
Tim: The Dodgers have been living at that ballpark for two weeks. That is a little something extra and their experiences in the past can help them. The Dodgers are not satisfied with getting to the World Series and are driven. Dodgers in 6.
Daniel: This will be another stressful series, and most likely a low scoring one. That being said, the Dodgers will win in 5 and put an end to the 1988 talk once and for all.
Eric: Tim brings up a great point. The Dodgers are used to the Globe Life dimensions, including the crazy pinball bumper wall up the first baseline. The Rays had the best record in the AL for a reason, they’re a damn good team. Manager Kevin Cash is a sorcerer with that bullpen and lineup. Dodgers in 7.
Brian: Have the Dodgers broken my heart for the past seven years in a row? Yes. Does that mean that I’m somehow skeptical just because of that? Kinda, yeah. But something tells me this year may be different, and the Dodgers have one hell of a team. They get it done this time… Dodgers in 5.