PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL OF THE BELOW INFORMATION WAS COMPILED BEFORE THE DEBACLE ON MONDAY NIGHT!!
I know there is still a month in the schedule to play out, but I thought I would look at the playoff possibilities.
As of right now, the 6 teams in the NL playoffs would be:
- LAD – #1 Seed
- NYM – #2 Seed
- St. Louis – #3 Seed
- Atlanta – #4 Seed
- San Diego – #5 Seed
- Philadelphia – #6 Seed
The Dodgers are 8.0 games ahead of NYM for the overall best record and home field advantage throughout the NL playoffs with 29 to play (NYM 27 to play), and 6.5 games ahead of Houston (AL best record) for WS. That puts them 12.0 games ahead of NYY. The Dodgers would have to fall hard not to get the overall best record in MLB.
Milwaukee is still in the Wild Card race only 2.5 games behind Philadelphia and 3 games behind SD. The top 4 seeds are almost locks for playoff berths.
Besides the final 2 Wild Card teams, the one race that has absolutely tightened up is the battle for the top spot in the NL East. NYM is now only 1.0 game up on Atlanta. The two teams face off against each other for three games (9-30 to 10-2) in Atlanta. NYM figures to have an easier road, as they will play teams with a losing record 21 out of their remaining 27 games, while Atlanta has 14 games against teams with a losing record out of their remaining 27 games.
Whoever wins that Division figures to play heavily into who the Dodgers may face in the NLDS.
The Wild Card games will be #3 seed vs #6 seed, while the #4 seed faces off against the #5 seed. The Dodgers will play the winner of the #4/#5 seed teams in the NLDS, and that figures to be either Atlanta or NYM whichever team does not win the Division. The #2 seed (NL East winner) will play the winner of the #3/#6 seed series (currently St. Louis vs Philadelphia). Either NYM or Atlanta would be the home team for all three Wild Card games, and figure to beat any of the three potential Wild Card teams, whichever ends up #5.
The schedules lean heavily towards the deeper starting pitching teams. The Wild Card games will be played October 7 thru October 9 (if necessary) at the site of the highest seed (all games).
The NLDS will be played:
- October 11 – Home
- October 12 – Home
- October 13 – Open
- October 14 – Away
- October 15 – Away
- October 16 – Home
Note there is no open date between 10/15 and 10/16. Regardless whether the Mets or Atlanta are the Wild Card team, it would figure to be either Jacob deGrom or Max Fried on October 7. That would make it highly unlikely that LAD would face either Ace more than once. I cannot see the October 7 pitcher pitching in Game 1 NLDS (October 11). And if the earliest the WC Game 1 pitcher pitches is Game 2 NLDS, without the open date between Games 4 and 5, he will probably not come back to pitch Game 5. It would figure that Julio Urías would pitch Game 1 and be available for Game 5, both at home. The WC team would necessarily need 5 starting pitchers, while the Dodgers could get by with 4 starting pitchers.
The NLCS schedule is even more onerous with only one open date between Games 2 and 3. Assuming the Dodgers reach the NLCS, the schedule will be as follows:
- October 18 – Home
- October 19 – Home
- October 20 – Open
- October 21 – Away
- October 22 – Away
- October 23 – Away
- October 24 – Home
- October 25 – Home
There are two affiliates that are guaranteed playoff berths: AA (Tulsa) and A+ (Great Lakes). Both teams won the first half of their divisions and automatically qualified for the best 2 of 3 divisional series.
Rancho Cucamonga (A) is extremely unlikely to qualify for the playoffs. They did not win the first half of their division, and are 5.0 games behind the 2nd half divisional leader with 6 games to play. Their elimination number is 2. They would need to sweep the 6 game series against Lake Elsinore, and Inland Empire would have to be swept in their 6 game series against the worst team in the division. Those are long odds.
AAA plays a full season without 1st and 2nd half winners. Currently OKC has the best record in the PCL East by 2.0 games over the Rough Rider Express (Texas) and 3.5 games ahead of the El Paso Chihuahuas (San Diego) with 21 games to be played. OKC has the following remaining games:
- Tacoma (Seattle) – 6 (H)
- Albuquerque (Colorado) – 6 (A)
- El Paso (San Diego) – 6 (A)
- Salt Lake City (LAA) – 3 (H)
If OKC perseveres and wins the PCL East, there will be a 1 game playoff against the PCL West winner (currently Reno Aces – Arizona) on 9/30. The winner of that game will play the winner of the International League in a 1 game winner take all AAA championship on 10/2.
The Dodgers Rookie Level Arizona Complex League finished with a 25-29 record and a 5th place finish (out of 6 teams) in the West Division, 7.0 games behind the Division Winner. They did not make the playoffs. It was an NL West Championship series with the Giants beating the Rockies 2 games to 1.
The Dodgers had two Dominican Summer League teams, both in the 8 team Northwest Division. With a 34-25 record, LAD Bautista came in 3rd place, 3.0 games behind the Divisional winner, LAD Mega. LAD Mega had a 37-22 record and lost in the first round to Boston Blue (2 games to 1). DSL Phillies White beat DSL Rockies 2 games to 1, to win the 2022 DSL Championship.
The Dodgers will be winding up the season making sure players are given some rest and then wait to play again until all the wildcard games are completed. A few years ago Colorado couldn’t lose until they had to wait for a team to complete all their playoff games. They went ice cold at least as compared to how they were playing before the wait.
Heaney and Anderson might not be back next year. Pepiot can’t get through 5 innings. Miller might not be able to either. Kershaw might retire. Buehler can’t pitch next year due to TJ. This off season will be fun watching what the Dodgers do.
Bauer could be an option if arbiter reduces his suspension to one year.
This would be a PR nightmare and would destroy the clubhouse. They are on pace to have the best W-L record in Dodger history without him. If you think the boos for Machado and Correa are loud, wait until Bauer is announced. IF (BIG IF) the arbitrator reduces the suspension to one year, my guess is LAD will release him and eat the salary. Or if allowed, place him on team paid administrative leave and ban him from the clubhouse. Then let Bauer sue the Dodgers. Or maybe if Bauer thinks a team is willing to sign him, he will opt out rather than sit on the sidelines. AF made this mess, now he has to work out of it. I suspect he has more plans than we could ever consider.
Is this speculation on your part or do you have specific information that the players would not welcome Bauer back?
While I do know ex players who know and have been teammates of Bauer, and do not like him one bit, I have no specific information regarding the Dodgers clubhouse. However, there are reports that said he is not welcome back. I choose to believe those. The Dodgers do not need him as a pitcher or as a member of the organization. Take a look at the current dugout comradery. They do not need a problem like Bauer disrupting it. Personally, I will never watch or report on a game that Bauer participates in.
Thanks. I do wonder if any other team will take him in. I am thinking the Astros, Yankees, Padres, or Giants.
Sorry for re-posting this from last night but I was wondering if anyone else noticed this exchange in the dugout that was caught on TV:
Whatever Longoria said to Kapler during the second inning worked. Heaney was tipping his pitches and Longoria spotted it.
Makes sense. If you know a 93 mph pitch is coming right down the middle you could certainly hit it. With Heaney even if you don’t know when it’s coming, you know it’s coming so just wait for it.
I missed it. I hope it’s true.
I do not know if Heaney was tipping his pitches. He might have been, but then he has been for all of his career. His proclivity to give up HRs at an alarming rate is par for the course for Heaney. This is exactly what I was fearful of from the beginning. Heaney was released by NYY because he could not keep the ball in the yard. It appeared that MAYBE just MAYBE he might have figured it out, but for the last 4 games, he has gone back to his personal HR Derby. He has pitched 21 innings in his last 4 games. During those 21 IP he has given up 10 HRs. That is 4.29 HR/9 innings. That is just not ML caliber. That is after 3.3 HR/9 innings while with NYY.
One of my longest and dearest friends is a huge NYY fan (and I do not hold it against him). In the beginning of the season when Heaney was pitching well, he told me…”give it time. He will either get injured or give up HRs at a preposterous rate.” Right on both accounts. Knowing he could not trash talk me because of the collapse of NYY, I called him to tell him he was right.
If Heaney is going to salvage his ML career, he is going to have to become a one inning reliever. I am not sure Heaney makes the playoff roster right now.
Right now there is no reason I would block Pepiot or Michael Grove or Bobby Miller or Gavin Stone for Heaney. Go ahead and include Landon Knack and Nick Nastrini. I doubt that Pepiot will get recalled again. But if he does, it will be for the remainder of the season. He has been optioned 5 times thus far in 2022. With the number of relievers that are tentatively scheduled to return, there will not be room for Pepiot. If Gonsolin cannot start this weekend, then I suspect that Grove will get recalled.
Right now I would like to see what Danny Duffy can bring to the team. The Dodgers have a $7MM club option for 2023. See what he can do to determine if the team might want to pick up the option.
The Dodgers did really well with a great top 3 in the lineup and Smith rather than Muncy at cleanup followed by the next 5 who were less than good until Justin began to hit. So it seems imperative they re-sign Trea but I hold out hope that Lux can assume shortstop and then play Betts at second.
The Dodgers will have a ton of payroll flexibility if Trea is not re-signed, Cody is non-tendered, Kershaw and Justin retire, Kimbrel goes away, Bauer comes off the payroll. What will they do with that flexibility?
If Dodgers do not re-sign Trea they will have payroll for Ohtani and Soto when they become free agents.
Not re-signing Trea would leave an infield of Vargas, Justin, Muncy, Betts, and Freeman. Justin might not return.
If Bellinger doesn’t return then it would seem a trade for an outfielder would be needed. The Pirates’ Reynolds might be available in a trade. Trace might have one or two years of good in him. Taylor might fix himself like Max did.
“Not re-signing Trea would leave an infield of Vargas, Justin, Muncy, Betts, and Freeman. Justin might not return.”
Did you mean to say Lux instead of Justin? Otherwise you have no shortstop there.
Why would JT retire? He’s been the best hitter in the league since the beginning of July.
Although Mookie plays a good second base, why move him there if he’s one of the three best right fielders in the game?
Bauer doesn’t necessarily come off the payroll. I believe he has a 10 million dollar player option. If no one is willing to give him more, he’ll probably exercise that option. Doesn’t mean the Dodgers need to let him in the clubhouse, but it would mean he’s on the payroll.
No matter what the Dodger payroll situation in winter 2023, I believe they will go after Ohtani. Whether he wants to play here will be his choice, but I think the Dodgers will have as good a chance as anyone to sign him.
The following stats courtesy of Jeff Passan:
Player A: .283/.351/.572, 33 HR, 74 RBI
Player B: .270/.361/.538, 32 HR, 85 RBI
Player C: 147.1 IP, 27.1% K%-BB%, 2.20 ERA, 2.64 FIP
Player D: 136 IP, 27.0% K%-BB%, 2.58 ERA, 2.54 FIP
Mookie Betts is Player A. Shane McClanahan is Player C. Shohei Ohtani is Players B and D.
I agree with STB. The signing of Trea Turner will have zero affect on whether the Dodgers try to sign Ohtani or Soto. They will not sign both. If they sign Ohtani, they will not pursue Soto. If they do not sign Ohtani, they will pursue Soto. However, because the Dodgers may pursue either Ohtani or Soto, does not mean either wants to play with LAD.
There is more to just offense needed to win a baseball game. I do not understand why fans want to take a GG RF and place him at 2B. Of course Mookie can play 2B, and will continue to, so as to give his legs a rest. But he is far more valuable to the team in RF.
I feel the same about moving Smith to 3B so Cartaya could become the catcher. Smith is the best overall catcher in MLB, and would probably be nothing more than a mediocre to adequate 3B. Buster Posey grew up a SS and if anyone could play 3B, he might have been able to. Posey played 1B because there was no DH in the NL. If there had been, Posey would have been DHing instead of 1B to keep his bat in the lineup.
I don’t know if Smith can play third or not but while he was a prospect his bat didn’t justify grooming him for third. Now he has a clutch bat and that bat plays at third. He would be one of the faster third baseman in the MLB. I would guess he could play third.
Trea is a question mark. He gets to choose where he will play next year. If he signs elsewhere then Lux most likely moves to short or the Dodger fans might be booing Corea if the Dodgers sign him instead of Trea.
Vargas/Justin/Max at third.
Lux at short and Betts at second. Taylor adds depth.
Freeman and Max at first.
It’s just a thought.
We have third basemen in the system. Two of them. I suppose we could move them.
just a reminder:
Current values (per 1350 (150*9) innings played) are:
Now that was from 2017. Those values have no doubt changed a bit with the emphasis on launch. But up the middle defense has always been the most valued.
Every now and then the Dodger defense plays like someone put magic mushrooms in their omelets.
Thoughts are always welcomed.
An update on 3 injured players (Gonsolin, Almonte, Lux).