With the regular season coming to a close and the Los Angeles Dodgers on the verge of beginning a third postseason run in as many years, some questions still need to be answered.
Manager Don Mattingly said on Friday there are a few roster spots still to be determined for their National League Division Series matchup with the New York Mets, which presumably involves deciding between outfielders and relieves to carry.
A.J. Ellis isn’t among the group of players who are vying for a roster spot. Adjusting to a new role as Yasmani Grandal’s backup, Ellis has come on strong in the second half. He was behind the plate Friday night, helping guide Alex Wood through seven strong innings of work.
With the Dodgers still fighting to earn home-field advantage, Ellis believes there isn’t time to adjust the club’s approach, particularly for Wood. “Right now, we’re trying to win games,” Ellis said.
“We got to pitch to our strengths, pitch to our game plan and at this stage in the game, it’s about execution.” While Mattingly has used various lineups throughout the season, the one in Friday’s game resembled what may take the field in the postseason.
“It’s important. I think it shows the importance everybody is putting home-field advantage in the first round,” Ellis said of regular starters still playing throughout the weekend. “To play here, where we’ve played so well this season. To have Clayton and Zack here would be huge for us.”
Ellis compared this year’s situation to when the Dodgers have clinched the division earlier in the season, which led to somewhat of a lull down the stretch. With Mattingly having previously stated he wouldn’t let off the gas, with the exception of providing rest for injured players, Ellis credited the manager for making sure the club remains focused.