At worst, the Los Angeles Dodgers have clinched a spot in the Wild Card game. However, with a record payroll, the Dodgers understandably have their sights set on much more.
The Dodgers need just one win or one San Francisco Giants loss to be crowned National League West champions for a second consecutive season. Should that take place, their postseason run would begin Oct. 3 presumably at Dodger Stadium if they’re able to maintain their position ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL standings.
As it stands, the Dodgers and Cardinals would meet in the NLDS in a rematch between last season’s NLCS foes. The Dodgers went into that series without Matt Kemp, who now has a clean bill of health and is playing well. Hanley Ramirez, who was as good of hitter as any in the 2013 postseason, was struck in the ribs by a Joe Kelly fastball and never recovered.
According to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times, Kemp believes the Dodgers’ lack of health hindered their playoff run and he’s hoping for a different scenario this season:
Hanley wasn’t healthy in the second round. I just feel like if we had been a healthier team, we would have went a lot deeper into the playoffs. Hopefully, everybody is healthy as they can be this year and, hopefully, we’ll get that chance to make it all the way.”
Kemp has maintained good health this season, but the same cannot be said for his teammates — particularly Ramirez. Throughout the year, Ramirez battled calf, shoulder and oblique injuries, among other issues.
To his credit, Ramirez appears to now be healthy, but the same can’t be said for Hyun-Jin Ryu. The lefty is still on the mend from irritation in his left shoulder and it’s unlikely he’ll appear in a regular season game.
Based on his prior injury history, it’s conceivable Ryu will recover in time for a postseason start that likely would come in Game 3 of the NLDS scheduled for Oct. 6. If that is the case and the Dodgers play the next four games free of injuries, they’re 2014 postseason should be without hindrance.