I’ve said it a few times already this postseason… I miss the 2020 bubble. Mostly, I miss that for the Dodgers because it ultimately created a consistent playing environment game to game, week to week, and the way through LA’s first title since 1988.
As we’ve seen quite often in the past, these Dodgers seemingly struggle to adapt and adjust to the playing environment in a timely manner — even at Dodger Stadium where balls that are home runs in August are warning track outs in cooler autumn evenings. We saw a lack of adjustment in the infamous wind game in the NLDS round a week ago and we can even go back a few seasons where players admitted that frigid Boston nights had an effect during games in the 2018 World Series.
…but that’s not what this article is about… this has just been me venting.
Another area where it’s easy to see the effects of the non-bubble life is in the demeanor in the players. Facts are facts, even if the players are withholding the full truth… these guys are tired. Chris Taylor mentioned it briefly after Sunday night’s loss in Atlanta and Walker Buehler talked about it on Monday at Dodger Stadium. The MLB bubble did help teams in one way. They didn’t have to travel.
“I don’t know if I would ever say I really missed the bubble a lot,” Buehler said. “But certainly some of the travel and the stuff that that puts on you as a player, as a staff, as a coach, as a human – I think it’s something that you kind of forget when you don’t do it for a year. … There’s a lot more that goes into winning the playoffs than just the games. I think handling the travel, handling nutrition, things like that are huge. In the bubble, we didn’t really have to worry about that kind of stuff.”
So, understandably, there’s something of a re-adjustment period for teams — especially the Dodgers who played most of September at a high level while trying to unseat the Giants for the NL Crown. They didn’t. So they went into October with a do or die game to play followed by five max intensity games against the Giants. They took that series then immediately jumped on a plane to the east coast to play a hungry Braves team who have a whole lot to prove after squandering a 3-1 NLCS lead to the Dodgers a year earlier.
“We’ve done this a few times before,” he said. “So hopefully we’ll settle back into it and start winning some games.”
LA will look to start a winning streak this afternoon at Dodger Stadium with Buehler on the mound, rested and recovered from not only pitching on short rest, but also from a stomach bug he picked up in San Francisco.