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Let The Games Begin

Well, 162 games completed, the Dodgers have won the NL West for the 10th time in the last 11 years, and now the Tournament begins.  The Dodgers will be entering the Tournament as an underdog for the first time in several years.  Knowing that they have only won the Tournament once in those years, what gives them reason to believe they can make it through the expanded playoffs challenge this year.

The Brewers and DBacks begin their march through the gauntlet on Tuesday, October 3, 2023, in Milwaukee.  The series is best 2 of 3, October 3, 4, and 5 (if necessary).  All three games (if necessary) will be played in Milwaukee.

The Dodgers have a bye for the Wild Card series, and will be playing in the NLDS beginning in Los Angeles on October 7.  The Dodgers will be playing the winner of the Milwaukee Brewers and Arizona DBacks Wild Card Series.  The schedule really does tend to even things up for the two teams.

October 7 – Los Angeles

October 8 – No game

October 9 – Los Angeles

October 10 – No game

October 11 – Wild Card Series Winner Home

October 12 – Wild Card Series Winner Home (if necessary)

October 13 – No game

October 14 – Los Angeles (if necessary)

The latest that the Wild Card Champion gets their Game 1 starter back on the bump will be October 9, NLDS Game 2.  The Dodgers can get through the NLDS with only three conventional starters.  Whereas the Wild Card Champion will need 3 or 4 starters depending as to how many Wild Card games they play.  If they play only 2, then the Wild Card Champion can start their #3 and bring back #1 for Game 2.  If they play all 3, the Wild Card Champion would probably need to start their #4 in Game 1, again bringing back their #1 for Game 2.

The other NL Wild Card Series will feature the Philadelphia Phillies vs. the Miami Marlins.  All games will be played in Philadelphia.  The winner of that Wild Card series will face off against the Atlanta Braves.  That NLDS will have the same schedule as the Dodgers NLDS schedule.

Will the Dodgers and Braves make it out of their respective NLDS series to meet in the NLCS for the third time in the last 4 years?  Neither team made it out of the NLDS last year.

There has been a lot of speculation as to whether the break is beneficial or detrimental.  Both NL teams that had a bye last year…lost…and will have the bye again.  I am sure that both teams have learned a valuable lesson.  IMO, it was not the break that brought the Dodgers to defeat.  The Dodgers won the first game of the NLDS, so the break did not hurt that them in that game.  Overconfidence?  Then pressing?  On the field it was hitting WRISP that was pathetic, and regardless of the pitching, the Dodgers should have won if they had been competent WRISP.  Did the break create that problem?  I go back to overconfidence and then pressing.  Remember the Dodgers’ manager guaranteed a WS championship before the season began.  They beat the snot out of the Padres during the season 14 games to 5 with a run differential of +62.  I cannot be convinced that the Dodgers did not take the Padres too lightly, especially after winning Game 1.

Have they learned their lesson?  That is why they play the games.

I will take a stab at the LAD roster.  If the team goes with 13 pitchers and 13 position players.

Position Players:

  • Catcher – Will Smith
  • 1B – Freddie Freeman
  • 2B – Mookie Betts
  • SS – Miguel Rojas
  • 3B – Max Muncy
  • LF – David Peralta
  • CF – James Outman
  • RF – Jason Heyward
  • DH – JD Martinez


  • Catcher – Austin Barnes
  • INF – Amed Rosario
  • INF/OF – Kiké Hernández
  • INF/OF – Chris Taylor

Kolten Wong will be on the taxi squad and will travel with the team, but with RH Hitting Rosario’s speed and his ability to hit LHP, he is a better choice to come off the bench to face a LHRP.  Could he replace David Peralta as some have surmised?  Possibly.  Kiké and CT3 could certainly fill in for Peralta in the OF.  But I am staying with Peralta for my guess.

Starting Pitchers:

  • Clayton Kershaw
  • Bobby Miller
  • Ryan Pepiot
  • Lance Lynn

Relievers (locks?):

  • Evan Phillips
  • Ryan Brasier
  • Brusdar Graterol
  • Shelby Miller
  • Joe Kelly
  • Emmet Sheehan
  • Ryan Yarbrough

Bubble – 2 LHRP – Caleb Ferguson and Alex Vesia; 1 RHRP Michael Grove

  • Milwaukee vs LHP – 18th OPS, 17th OBP
  • DBacks vs LHP – 21st OPS, 21st OBP
  • Milwaukee vs RHP – 24th OPS, 19th OBP
  • DBacks vs RHP – 14th OPS, 13th OBP

How did the two LHRP fare in September and the 2nd half?


Caleb Ferguson – 11 games, team was 6-5, Ferguson was 0-1, 1 blown save, and 2 holds.  9.1 IP, 7.71 ERA, 1.714 WHIP, 2 BB, 13 K, .333 BAA, .911 OPS against

Alex Vesia – 11 games, team was 9-2, Vesia was 2-1, 1 hold.  11.0 IP, 2.45 ERA, 0.909 WHIP, 1 BB, 11 K, .214 BAA, .614 OPS against

2nd Half:

Caleb Ferguson – 30 games, team was 21-9, Ferguson was 2-1, 4 blown saves, 6 holds.  27.0 IP, 4.33 ERA, 1.778 WHIP, 12 BB, 30 K, .319 BAA, .911 OPS against

Alex Vesia – 30 games, team was 20-10, Vesia was 2-1, 5 hold.  28.1 IP, 2.54 ERA, 0.777 WHIP, 5 BB, 30 K, .168 BAA, .522 OPS against

Between the two, Alex Vesia is the better reliever coming into the playoffs, and I would select him.

Now the question becomes, do you trust the 2nd LHRP (Ferguson), or go with a rookie RHP, Michael Grove.  If Milwaukee wins  the Wild Card, they are more proficient against LHP.  Arizona is more proficient against RHP.  Regardless, I am going with the right handed rookie reliever.  I know Grove is a rookie, but I just do not see how AF/BG/Doc can trust Ferguson.  The Dodgers may choose to piggyback, but I see no reason whatsoever to have an opener.  I have a sense that AF/BG/Doc like Grove, or they probably do not bring him back when they did.  They could have shut him down for the year.

Thus, my 9 relievers would be:

  • Evan Phillips
  • Ryan Brasier
  • Brusdar Graterol
  • Shelby Miller
  • Joe Kelly
  • Emmet Sheehan
  • Ryan Yarbrough
  • Alex Vesia
  • Michael Grove

Now if the Dodgers decide to go with 12 pitchers instead of 13, Kolten Wong would get the call.  However, the Dodgers are not going to have many starting pitchers go deep (if any).  Thus, they are going to need as much pitching as they can include on the roster.

I am going to go with 13 pitchers and 13 position players for my projection.

What changes would you make?



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None, I too would chose Vesia over Ferguson. I like his attitude better. Ferguson got the red ass when he was left off of the roster last time. I think he is trade bait this winter.


Agree with the roster projection completely. There is no way Caleb should be on the post season roster (at least the NLDS). He has been way too inconsistent.

I recall him running his mouth coming off his TJ surgery saying the communication between him and the staff should have been better and he didn’t think he was being used properly or could have been placed in the big league roster sooner rather than working in AAA.

I think his days as a Dodger might soon be over as he might be packaged in a trade deal this off season.


That’s how I see it too. The lefty righty matchup thing is not something that I value as much as who hits or pitches better. If it’s Grove or Ferguson I pick Grove.

I still believe it will ultimately come down to scoring runs over preventing runs. Whoever comes out of that Milwaukee Arizona series could be tired but will be inspired. I feel the team must hit like they did in August.


Spot on!


Out of curiosity, does this projected roster change a bit, whether we’re playing AZ or Mil?

I’m thinking the top 4-5 starters for those 2 teams combined are right handed, so likely not?

Pitching-wise, we’d be facing a better offense in AZ, with the stud Corbin Carroll batting 4 times a game. Some leftie might be needed to get him out.


Good pitching gets good hitters out. In my opinion I want the best pitchers we have facing the best hitters they have. If Carrol is up in late innings, unless he’s already been used, it will be Vesia that is brought in. But even if it isn’t Vesia, I’m confident in all those bullpen pitchers listed.




I think the Dodgers have all the pitching they need to win the WS. They have what they need on the bus and now Roberts and Friedman need to figure out where the pitchers sit.

Who starts, how long they go, who relieves and how long they go are going to require winning decisions. This year’s pitching staff is not typical and needs to be managed as such.

The Dodger bats can punish pitchers but if the three run homerun is absent then players like Muncy will need to be ready to hit an outside pitch hard the other way and if the defense invites Outman to bunt the ball he needs to be ready to do it.

Smith has been hit about 5 times on the back side of his upper left arm in the last 5 or so games and it has to be a delightful color. He seems to be hitting the ball hard again and Martinez has been awesome.

Singing the Blue

The only reason I can see that they may go with 14/12 instead of 13/13 is the amount of off days in the NLDS. If they’re willing to have their starters go every 5th day, they really only need 3 starters.

They might prefer the extra rest and a fourth starter, but the option for using 3 is definitely in play. If they decide to go with 3 starters, I think you need to make Lynn the third guy and move Pepiot to the bullpen where he’s more comfortable than Lynn would be.

I like what I’ve seen from Wong off the bench so if it’s my decision I think I’m leaning ever so slightly to 14/12, happily leaving Ferguson off the roster and including Vesia, but then I have to choose between Grove and Wong and that’s a tough choice.


I’ve also liked Wong off the bench. Many of our bottom rotation players have been hitting the ball well. Agree, Wong over Grove.14/12 sounds fine. Ferguson has suffered an atrocious WHIP all season. I would look for him being traded.

BTW, Jeff Passan over at ESPN has predicted another first round loss for the Dodgers. The Dodgers will need all the grit they can muster to go very far in the NL playoffs. I’m not making any predictions as this team has had sufficient luck on. their side this season. Hopefully, no droughts for Mookie and Freddie. Muncy and JD should be bombs away. Let’s go, I’m ready.

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