Dodgers can’t help studying potential playoff matchups

Posted On Aug 26 2020 by

first_img Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start Going into Wednesday’s games, the Dodgers were 36-22 against teams currently at .500 or better, winning the season series against everyone but the Tampa Bay Rays (a split of two games) and Cardinals (2-4).Roberts acknowledged the drive to finish with the best record in baseball – securing home-field advantage throughout the postseason – is “a carrot that’s out there.”While some matchups might be more interesting than others down the stretch, Roberts said the approach doesn’t change.“I think we all do a very good job of focusing on today,” he said. “We know ultimately what our goal is. … I’ve said it many times over. But we can’t control the future. I think our guys are just 100 percent bought in to doing whatever it takes to win a game today.“It’s just a certain way that we play. To think that you can elevate your play when you get to the postseason is very unrealistic.”Actually, the Dodgers have already done that once.In 2017, the Dodgers were 54 games over .500 (91-36) and 21 games up on the NL West in late August when they hit a big pothole and lost 16 of 17. They rebounded to win eight of their final 10 in the regular season, swept the Diamondbacks in the NLDS and went on to reach the World Series.“Seventeen was a funky year,” Roberts said. “The dynamic just changed in September. No excuses. We just didn’t play well. There was kind of a quirky dynamic.”The Dodgers made three significant trades at the deadline that year, adding Yu Darvish, Tony Watson and Tony Cingrani, then acquired Curtis Granderson in mid-August and demoted Joc Pederson to Triple-A.DEADLINE DISAPPOINTMENTDespite their attempts to trade for relief help at the July 31 deadline, the Dodgers came up nearly empty, adding only lefty specialist Adam Kolarek and veteran infielder Jedd Gyorko. Instead, the Dodgers decided not to trade any of their top prospects and are evaluating two of them, Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin, for possible postseason roles.That decision disappointed a good portion of the team’s fans – and Turner acknowledged the players shared some of those feelings.“The main point I tried to get across when we talked about it in here after the deadline (was) – is it disappointing not to get guys? Yeah,” Turner said. “But at the same time, no one else got them (Felipe Vazquez, Brad Hand, etc.) either. Teams weren’t willing to give them up. It wasn’t for a lack of effort from our front office.“You look at Dustin come out and have a good first outing and what Tony did (Monday). We don’t know if Gavin (Lux) is going to be here any time soon, but we do know he’s playing out of his mind at Triple-A right now. You appreciate still having those guys around.”Related Articles “So I don’t think that any team is a barometer for us. I think we kind of set the bar.”Roberts’ players, however, are aware of the potential playoff previews on the schedule.“I think you know it’s a potential playoff series. Take that for what it is,” Cody Bellinger said. “It’s still August. But, yeah, you know we could see these guys down the road.”The Dodgers have a couple more of those matchups coming up. They go to Atlanta (the NL East leaders) on next week’s road trip then return to host the New York Yankees the following weekend. The Yankees (74-39) went into Wednesday a half-game behind the Dodgers for the best record in baseball.“We’ve talked about these next two weeks when we’re going to be facing the Cardinals, Atlanta and the Yankees, all potential playoff teams. We’re definitely aware of it,” Justin Turner said. “I don’t think you try harder or do anything different. But you pay a little more attention to the details knowing that there’s a chance we could see these guys in the postseason.” ALSOOutfielder A.J. Pollock was out of the lineup for the fifth time in six days Wednesday. Pollock has been dealing with a sore groin muscle, but Roberts said he expects him to be in the lineup Friday. …Chris Taylor (forearm fracture) and Kiké Hernandez (sprained hand) have started swinging a bat and doing work in the batting cages. Taylor has taken ground balls and hit soft toss Wednesday. He will take his rehab to the team’s training complex in Arizona next week when the Dodgers go on the road. Hernandez will travel with the team.UP NEXTThe Dodgers are off Thursday.Diamondbacks (LHP Robbie Ray 10-7, 4.03 ERA) at Dodgers (RHP Walker Buehler 10-2, 3.22 ERA), 7:10 p.m. Friday, SportsNet LA (where available), AM 570 Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies center_img LOS ANGELES — Know your enemy.With 11 National League teams within 3 1/2 games of a playoff spot going into Wednesday, the Dodgers are bound to run into potential playoff opponents on a regular basis. Since the All-Star break, they have faced four and won three of the series (they also split a four-game series with Philadelphia).But Dodgers manager Dave Roberts doesn’t see these series as any special test for the Dodgers.“I don’t think so,” he said earlier this week. “For us, most times how we look at it is, you’re kind of playing against yourself. Obviously, there’s a different opponent every night but when we take good at-bats, when we play defense, run the bases well, pitch well, I’ll take our chances against anybody. Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more