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.