The only playoff baseball at Dodger Stadium was played on Friday on the clubhouse televisions and outfield scoreboards.
While eight other teams opened their best-of-three wildcard series, the Dodgers were one of four clubs to earn a bye straight into next week’s Division Series — and as a result had five days to kill before Tuesday’s game began their post-season campaign.
“You can look at it from both sides where you need calm but also don’t want to lose your rhythm,” said third baseman Max Muncy. “I think for us we tend to be more inclined, we need the rest. … It’s just a chance to reset everything.”
Over the next few days, the club’s coaching staff and front office will face the biggest task of working to complete a 26-man squad that could still be dependent on a few injured players.
One of those players, outfielder Chris Taylor, reiterated Friday that he is 100% confident he will be healthy for the NLDS as his neck stiffness continues to improve after receiving a cortisone shot this week.
Taylor didn’t attend the Dodgers’ simulation game Friday, but did complete drills in the batting cage and early afternoon on the field.
Manager Dave Roberts said Taylor is on course to attend the bats live on Sunday and Monday.
Andrew Friedman, president of baseball operations, added that if all goes well, it will “put him in a good position” to be available for the NLDS.
After Taylor, the only other squad battle among position players appears to be between veteran utility player Hanser Alberto and rookie slugger Miguel Vargas, who hit a homer halfway up the pavilion in left field in Friday’s exhibition.
The status of pitchers Dustin May (back strain) and Blake Treinen (shoulder strain) remains less clear.
Treinen is expected to serve an inning in the team’s intrasquad game on Saturday. May will pitch two innings on Sunday.
For Treinen, the question will be how well he is physically recovering from his outing as the right-hander is yet to show his shoulder is healthy enough to handle multiple appearances in a best-of-five series.
May’s rating will be based more on his execution and mechanics. Though Roberts said the pitcher’s back feels normal again, May has yet to iron out some of the inconsistencies that plagued him before the injury to cement an NLDS roster spot.
If May and/or Treinen aren’t ready for the NLDS, that could open the door for others on the pitching team to create the roster.
Former closer Craig Kimbrel is still no guarantee, confirmed Friedman after the right-hander ended the season with a 3.75 ERA, which was second-worst in the Dodgers’ bullpen.
Left-handers Caleb Ferguson and David Price also appear to be in the roster bubble, waving as options if the Dodgers feel the need for more southpaws in the bullpen.
The order of the starting rotation is also still unknown – at least publicly.
Roberts said the team informed Julio Urías and Clayton Kershaw which left-hander will start Game 1 and which will start Game 2.
However, Roberts said the team isn’t ready to announce that publicly just yet.
“I’m not trying to be too shy,” Roberts said. “We just want to keep it a little longer.”
Games 3 and 4 are started by Tyler Anderson and Tony Gonsolin, although that order is also tied.
Roberts noted that any game Gonsolin plays will effectively be a bullpen game for the Dodgers, with the right-hander still limited to just four innings after his recent return from a forearm strain.
“Part of that depends on what happens in Game 1 and Game 2,” Roberts said, “just to see what’s available to us.”
However, with Tuesday’s NLDS opener game on the horizon, Friedman showed confidence in the strength of the team’s pitching squad — and their chances of hitting a deep playoff run after a 111-win regular season.
“It’s a really, really talented group that’s well positioned to do whatever it takes to go out and win 11 games,” he said. “Win the championship.”
https://www.latimes.com/sports/dodgers/story/2022-10-07/dodgers-injury-updates-chris-taylor-mlb-playoffs Chris Taylor determined to be back for Dodgers in the NLDS