Currently, the Los Angeles Dodgers are the baseball equivalent of ‘sitting pretty’. Especially in the NL, where their 85-44 record has them ahead of the next closest competitor (Atlanta) by eight games in the standings.
While the NL West race is all but over – the Dodgers have to finish to clinch home-field throughout October. Indeed, meaningful clinches will begin to
happen for the Dodgers; and soon. As Pedro Moura writes over at The Athletic MLB – an early clinch means the Dodgers can experiment and perform an audition of their roster for October.
First, the Dodgers are not hanging the pennant before it’s hung. Furthermore, Clayton Kershaw said that every game matters because every win is crucial at this juncture.
“We have a bigger goal going, to be the last team standing,” he said. “Every win leading up to that is just practice to get better for that.”
Moreover, with each win; the Dodgers are closer to clinching something as mentioned before. Then, they can begin to adjust the roster and put guys in audition type spots that could serve as a role down the line in October. For instance, the possibility of Rich Hill becoming a starter in the postseason is still being considered.
Consider that in a year like 2018 where the Dodgers needed every game, including a game 163 to clinch the division. At that time, that group was in no position to experiment with starters. There was less resting players, and more riding the best group to win every game.
At the current time, the Dodgers are playing their way into having options. Options such as seeing what young players like Dustin May can do in different situations. In fact, Dave Roberts used the word when discussing the situation with Moura.
“When you have a person of Dustin’s head, mindset, it makes it a better bet for us to make and especially when you have the buy-in of the player,” Roberts said. “It’s a work in progress. I think the next time it happens he’ll feel a little more comfortable. We’re going to continue to keep our options open.”
Finally, the Dodgers have known all year long that the end goal was a World Series title. Their play during the regular season is setting them up for a final dress rehearsal before the wedding takes place.
What kind of things would you like to see the Dodgers do prior to the playoffs once they clinch to prepare for October? Let us know in the comments below.