For teams that qualify for postseason play, there’s little rest for the weary after navigating the grind of a 162-game regular season schedule. In the case of the Los Angeles Dodgers, October baseball not only means brighter lights, but extremely high expectations.
The Dodgers won the National League West a third consecutive season, but have yet to advance beyond the NL Championship Series over the last two years. Now on the brink of beginning another postseason run under manager Don Mattingly, the 54 year old addressed the handling of any angst.
“It’s going to be there. I think we just know that playoffs are a time where a lot is on the line and each game is really important,” Mattingly said on Tuesday. “So you just kind of embrace it more than worrying about it. Just be ready for it. We have a lot of guys who have been through it before, so it shouldn’t be a big surprise.”
Despite guiding the club to another 90-plus win season, Mattingly is viewed by many as being on the hot seat in some capacity. He survived the Dodgers’ front office makeover, which was largely attributed to his strong relationship with controlling owner Mark Walter.
After reaching the NLCS in 2013, losing to the St. Louis Cardinals in six games, the Dodgers were eliminated by the Cardinals in the 2014 NLDS. Although Los Angeles has had to overcome several injuries this season, they remain a favorite to advance past the New York Mets and reach the World Series.
Game 1 of the NLDS between the Dodgers and Mets is scheduled for Friday with a 6:45 p.m. PT start time. The series figures to boast strong pitching performances, and Jacob deGrom and Clayton Kershaw will be the first to put that theory to the test.