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Dodgers: Russell Martin Feels These Games Aren’t as Important as Others

He’s not wrong.

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 27: Will Smith #16 congratulates Russell Martin #55 of the Los Angeles Dodgers after defeating the San Diego Padres 9-0 in a game at PETCO Park on August 27, 2019 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

The Dodgers clinched a playoff spot 12 days ago. 8 days and 7 games remain in September. It’s safe to assume that not every single player is playing each game with maximum intensity as LA plays out the string. While home field advantage remains on the line — for both National League pennant games and home field advantage throughout the playoffs — it seems that the club has not emphasized a focus on best overall record.

This point was discussed on the latest episode of our Blue Heaven Podcast with Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register.

Veteran catcher Russell Martin also shared some thoughts with Bill on the subject.

We’ve done some things differently. We’ve saved some pitch counts. We’ve had some bullpen days. We’ve had some guys go in some situations just to prepare for the postseason, making sure guys have been in situations coming out of the pen and stuff like that. So we have done things differently. — via Plunkett, OC Register.

“Differently” feels like an understatement. The bullpen games have felt frustrating. The situational pitching changes have seemed forced. You can do everything you want to attempt to prepare for potential October situations, but if the intensity isn’t there, the point may be moot.

You can’t fake that we have clinched and these games probably aren’t as important as, say, a St. Louis-Cubs game today. There isn’t that same feel. But you still play to win and everyone in here wants to win every single time we go out there.

7 more different games remain for the Dodgers. Playing out the string against the Padres and Giants likely wont wield needed intensity for the club. However, there are things to be learned.

The status of Rich Hill will be tested on Tuesday in San Diego. Richie wants to prove he belongs with the squad in October and will likely get two attempts to make it happen. Moreover, rookie pitchers Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin will learn (and earn) their respective October fates this coming week. And it will likely come at the expense of the fans surviving flat-feeling bullpen games.

Written by Clint Pasillas

Clint is the lead editor of Dodgers Nation, and a host and analyst on Dodgers Nation's own Blue Heaven podcast live stream.

He's been writing, blogging, and podcasting Dodgers since about 2008. He was there for Nomar, Greg Maddux, and Blake DeWitt, and he'll be there for Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo, Dustin May, and any Dodgers of the future.

He's also a sandwich enthusiast, a consummate athlete, and a friend.

6 Comments

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  1. I’ve Been kind of just waiting for the playoffs most of the season anyway. So tired of these seasons where it all meant nothing in the end, the journey is old stale and played out at this point. Just win it all already it’s all I’ve been waiting for since that pathetic World Series ended last year

    • I’m sort of having that dejavu feeling as well. Going into the playoffs with a great season record. But Kershaw seems to be serving up the early-inning Charlie Brown stuff, Jansen is a coin flip (good or blown save), Kelly has a mystery leg problem, Beuhler isn’t consistent and counting on Hill is a long-shot gamble. Offensively, there is hope that the injured will play and that the month ago defensive blooper reels will be history.

      Roberts Alfred E. Newman “What me worry?” responses are wearing thin. He’d do better to just quit talking for a while. Maybe let Freidman answer for the bull pen?

      Last year’s World Series, is best left un-remembered, lest you get PBWSSS (Post Blown World Series Stress Syndrome ; )

      • Hahaha. Things have definitely been trending downward in all facets of the game in the second half. It’s the perfect set up for an early playoff upset. We’ll see though

  2. Maybe the Dodgers will be like the 2001 LAKERS. All of the sudden turn it on in the playoff’s and win the championship. It’s just hard to imagine Bellinger as Kobe, Kershaw as Shaq, and Dave Roberts as the Zen…

  3. I have been a fan all my life but I expect to be disappointed once again no relief pitching once again. Needs to be changed in the off season.

  4. You simply don’t know what to expect in the playoffs with the Dodgers? Do we get the team that could not lose from early this season, or do we get the team that has struggled the 2nd half of this season. Really hard to tell what we are going to get but the fact that the team has struggled at times in the 2nd half is a concern.

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