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A Different Approach to the Playoffs

Well they made it. They won the division and proved the pundits wrong. They beat the supposed better team, and beat them often. They outlasted the D-Backs, who are still trying to make it in, and did the same with the Giants.

The Padres were certainly the popular choice prior to the season starting. With all their high priced superstars, LA was not supposed to have a chance. Well take that San Diego.

But it wasn’t like they just waltzed to the title. There have been many twists and turns and new faces.

Of the players now on the roster, eleven were not there on opening day.

Brasier was picked up on waivers, Kelly, Lynn and Yarbrough in trades, Pepiot was on the IL. Miller, Sheehan and Stone were in the minors. Wong was a minor league free agent, Rosario and Hernandez picked up in trades.

Eleven players, that is a lot of turnover. All of the starting rotation was hurt or in Syndergaard’s case, traded, and Julio has legal troubles. Buehler was declared out for the year after his attempt to return in September was shut down.

For the first time in this run of playoff appearances, the Dodgers are going in without a set playoff rotation. The only one certain of a spot is Miller. Even Kershaw is questionable. It looks like the plan this time around will be to use bulk and openers. Except for Miller. Kersh would be used as an opener, with Sheehan and his bulk backup.

Barring some unforeseen incident, Lynn will be on a short leash too like he was tonight. The Dodger bullpen is a strength right now. They have been the best in baseball for a while.

But will it be enough to win in the playoffs? Pitching is magnified many times come playoff time. The team with the best pitching usually wins.

One bit of encouragement I get about this staff is that teams sometimes struggle against pitchers they have not seen. That can be an advantage. Right now the playoff picture is so muddled in the National League that the Dodgers likely opponent changes day to day.

If the playoffs started today, the Phillies, Cubs and Diamondbacks would be the wild card teams with the Dodgers playing the winner of the Brewers/Cubs. The Phillies-D-Backs winner would play the Braves. But, the Cubs, who have played 2 less games than the Reds, are in a virtual tie with the Reds.

Miami and the Giants are still in the hunt being .5 and 2 games back respectively. The real dark horse is the Padres who have to make up 5.5 games and pass four teams to get in.

The Cubs are slumping and have lost 8 of their last 10 and 5 in a row. But we all know teams can pivot and go on winning streaks too. The Cubs schedule is not being kind to them though since they face Pittsburgh, the Rockies at home, then the Braves and Brewers on the road.

The D-Backs face the Giants (2), Yankees, White Sox and then the Astros. All those series are 3 games. Miami gets 2 more with the Mets, three with Milwaukee, three more with the Mets in NY, then the Pirates.

The Reds have 10 games left, 2 with the Twins, 3 with the Pirates, 2 with Cleveland and 3 with St. Louis. The Giants have 7 games left with the Dodgers, 2 with Arizona and 3 with the Padres.

It is going to be a wild finish. I would think the Dodgers won’t know who their opponent is until the last weekend of the year. One thing, I do not think the Dodgers are going to let the Giants waltz into Dodger Stadium without putting up one hell of a fight.

This has turned out to be an eventful and special season. It is special because this team has performed above expectations. But when you look at the way things are right now, they have as good a chance of making it to the World Series as any of the other contenders.

The Braves are not invincible. They lost their 5th game in a row tonight. Yes, they have a fine pitching staff and one of the most potent offenses in baseball. But the Dodgers had all of that last year and look what happened to them.

The kids shall lead them. Miller is this year’s Valenzuela.

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Oldbear48

Nice win last night. Walk-offs are always fun. Mookie just got his hand in before the tag. Miller on the bump tonight as they go for the sweep. Friday nights tiff against the Giants is on Apple, so I guess I won’t be watching.

Bobby

Mookie’s head first slide into home last night reminded me of his head first slide into home in Game 6 in 2020.

Oldbear48

I had the same thought. The guy comes to play that is for sure. Freddie looked better at the plate as did Smith. How about JD? Guy is killing the ball since he came off of the IL.

Jeff

This season has been a hell of a ride. Possibly, the most interesting team we’ve had since way before AF got to town. I still don’t expect them to go all the way but I’m in for the ride.

tedraymond

I agree with you Jeff. The front office got a lot accomplished in that they were able to get lots of prospects exposure to the big leagues while still running away with another division title. Who does that? AF and his staff!

Oldbear48

I was skeptical at first, but they have made a believer out of me! Oh Ted, I added a special song to one of your discs I sent. See if you can figure out which one it is. I will give you a hint, it is baseball themed.

tedraymond

Creedence…CF?

Oldbear48

That is a John Fogerty song, he did that on his solo album. Yes, it is there, but the song I am talking about is different. You will know it when you hear it.

Bluto

Been caught stealing by Jane’s Addiction?

Oldbear48

Ha! I don’t even know who the hell that is. I listen to country Bluto.

Last edited 6 months ago by Oldbear48
Bumsrap

The playoff rotation keeps edging toward the rotation I have been hoping for with Miller, Sheehan, Pepiot, and Stone having prominent roles. Miller might be the only pitcher slated for 6+ innings with Kershaw, Lynn, Yarbrough and those already listed slated for 4 maybe 5 innings.

This year and this team would be especially fun for a Dodger WS championship.

Roberts has to be a strong candidate for Manager of the Year.

Acuna fighting for the MVP with Betts also finishing strong.

tedraymond

We all know that the MLB playoffs are a crap shoot. The best team most likely won’t win the World Series, but not even get to the World Series. To have a team win 111 games and be gone in the NLDS is not right. The teams with the top two records in their respective leagues should have major advantages over a wild card team that advances. I don’t think that’s the case right now.

First, with the expanded playoff format MLB should consider reducing the regular season schedule to let’s say 140-148 games. That way the World Series would conclude by the middle of October, not in November. To compete against the NFL and NBA for viewership is not beneficial to the sport.

Second, the scheduling for the division series should be changed. The wild card goes three straight days which is good. The division series should start the next day after the wild card winners are determined. This reduces the off time the top teams now encounter. Baseball is a game of repetition. Too much time off is not always welcome as the Dodgers found out last year. Also, it doesn’t allow the wild card and supposedly inferior team to restack their rotation. I would think a wild card team advancing to the DS would most likely have a weaker pitching staff either talent wise or depth. They should not have any advantage at this point in the playoffs to rest their pitchers or players. This would be the real advantage to the top two teams in addition to getting a bye. Finally, the games should be scheduled with the first three games at the top seeded team’s park and the last two (if necessary) at the wild card stadium. This would be another possible advantage to the top seeded teams in that it reduces travel. If a wild card team can overcome all these disadvantages then they deserve to move on to the next round of the championship series.

The Championship and World Series would continue as currently scheduled and finish the season mid October. Seven months of baseball that starts in cold weather and finishes in cold weather doesn’t seem right for a summer sport. If the schedule was reduced to 140 games then the season could start in the second week of April and finish mid October. Six months of baseball is OK with me.

I know this will never happen. Why? TV scheduling and of course, money. These changes might be good for baseball and it’s fans, but when has Boob Manfred and the owners ever taken that into consideration?

Regardless, let’s enjoy the playoffs and root for our pitching starved Dodgers to victory. For them to win the World Series this year could be one of the most exciting baseball stories in recent history.

Carry on.

Last edited 6 months ago by tedraymond
SandyIsTheGreatest

i’m with that

Badger

It was, it is, and it will always be about money. If someone can come up with a supportable algorithm that proves more money can be made by playing fewer games, owners will listen. Until then, snow at each end of the season will be a possibility.

Just read the Athletic piece on the hot mess Padres. Apparently Preller has the brains and work ethic to evaluate talent and purchase the pieces but putting it all together just hasn’t worked. I’ve felt they should be competitive for some time, and they certainly were last year, but this year is bumfuzzling. I’ve been waiting for them to put it together, and they just haven’t done it. They’ve won 6 in a row, but, kinda late. SD and Anaheim. By most measurements they should be successful. Oh well.

One thing mentioned in that Athletic piece, which speaks to topic of protracted seasons is lack of depth. The did address it in a way with expansion to 26 man rosters, but that means little if bench players are nothing more than replacement players. This is an area at which Friedman has excelled. The Dodgers have a plethora of superior position players. They do have paucity of starting pitchers, but are putting a playoff plan into play to prepare for all pitching probabilities. Openers. Starting last night, and stretching into October, how many will be used?

Oldbear48

Tampa announced plans for a new domed stadium. It is part of a redevelopment plan. But it will only seat about 30,000, making it one of the smaller venues in the majors. I have heard many times folks asking for a reduction in the schedule. But if they do that, the balanced schedule is not going to help interdivision rivalry’s. As it is you play those guys 13 times. With less games, you will lose at least one of those. And they are still talking expansion by two teams to make each league an even number again.

Singing the Blue

Let’s say the owners actually agree to reduce the season by about 10% and have a 146 game schedule. The first thing they would do is tell the players’ union they were reducing all player salaries by 10%. And what do you think the union’s response to that might be?

You are correct that the answer is always money but that applies to all parties involved.

The Padres article was excellent and one thing I got out of it is that Preller is simply not a people person. He doesn’t relate well to the players and the staff don’t seem to be thrilled with him either (the article said that he and Melvin aren’t doing well together). A person like that probably wouldn’t be very good at putting a cohesive clubhouse together. Let me rephrase that and say he hasn’t been good at it.

Last edited 6 months ago by Singing the Blue
Bumsrap

The Padres have mostly a set lineup which I have noticed a lot of people in here want more of for the Dodgers.

Badger

I think player’s salaries would remain the same and ticket prices would go up. It’s fans that pay for all of it.

OhioDodger

Perhaps they should move JDM up to the clean up spot, followed by JHey #5. and bat Muncy #6. Or move Outman up in the order so he has a better hitter batting behind him.

SandyIsTheGreatest

the pessimist in me fears a game 1 loss in which we don’t score enough runs, followed by a game 2 lineup that is totally different based on platoon advantages, followed by a confused game 3 lineup trying to figure out who is hot or not

OhioDodger

Won’t matter if the pitching doesn’t come thru. Starting pitching will make or break us in the playoffs.

Bumsrap

I like JD as the clean up hitter regardless of the pitcher. Outman gets a lot of walks and could get more if he were to be even more selective. He gets on base for Betts and Freeman so those walks help drive the offense. Basically he is already protected by Betts and Freeman, especially if Rojas keeps hitting.

The Dodgers like the R, L R, L batting order and Muncy at #4 gives them that against righties. I think Muncy at 6 is good against lefties. Just my opinions Ohio.

OhioDodger

Good points Bum. Especially batting Muncy 6th against lefties.

Bobby

Atl lost again so we’re only 2 losses behind them (granted they own the tiebreaker)

SandyIsTheGreatest

whatever will be will be

Dodgerrick

No one will ever confuse Bobby Miller’s rookie year with Fernando’s. Blasphemy!

Since coming to LA, the Dodgers have won (when they do win) with superior starting pitching. Not so this year.

Miller has been good (not great) and Pepiot has been very good in a limited sample. Stone and Sheehan have not been good. There is no way to put lipstick on that pig! With Kershaw’s tender shoulder a giant question and Lynn’s proclivity for the long ball a nightmare, the Dodgers’ feast or famine offense will have to be much better than their opponents’ to have a chance to win.

It could happen (and I hope it does), but it probably won’t.

By the way, I think Roberts should be Manager of the Year this season. With all of the injuries and the alleged superiority of the Padres, the way that the team has played together and been resilient is credit to Roberts.

Oldbear48

I wasn’t confusing anything. I said, he will be this year’s Fernando and the reason I said that is because he is their ace right now. He has won 10, Fernando won 13 that year, he has lost only 3. Fernando lost 7. Yes, his ERA is higher, but he doesn’t have the experience or the leash El Toro did. Different eras. But, if they are going to win, they need the same kind of postseason performance out of Miller they got out of Valenzuela who went 3-1 in the three-postseason series.

Oldbear48

That kid with the Tigers has some nasty stuff. BP gave up the game for the first time in a while. Miller got the loss, but the deciding runs came off of the pen. Defense let them down too.

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