Dodgers weighing playoff pros and cons of their dominant ways

Spring in October? So it seems for the Dodgers, whose next meaningful game is 11 days away.

Until then, we’ll call it the California Cactus League. The Dodgers will follow up their 10-1 win over the Colorado Rockies on Friday night with five more games against the same purple-clad foes. The regular season ends Wednesday, followed by five days off when the Dodgers are relegated to intrasquad games.

The National League Division Series begins October 11 against the winner of a best-of-three wild card series. While waiting, the Dodgers spend each day at home, sleeping in their own beds and reporting for duty at Dodger Stadium until they leave for Game 3 of the NLDS.

They will also have home field advantage through the World Series because they set the best record in MLB on Friday when the Houston Astros lost to the Tampa Bay Rays while the Dodgers’ game was still underway.

“If you can be home as much as possible, that’s tremendous,” said Clayton Kershaw, who went six innings scoreless and saw his ERA plummet to 2.30.

Pondering how the next two weeks will play out, the Dodgers (109-48) are surprised by the oddness of ending a historic regular season that rolls to the finish line and then rests while two wildcard teams are to be determined carry it out.

What seems like a blessing can be a challenge.

Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw delivers during the first inning Friday.

Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw delivers during the first inning Friday.

(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

“There would be advantages to getting in immediately, but there would also be disadvantages,” said Justin Turner, who will start his ninth straight postseason with the Dodgers. “We had many years where we had a layoff prior to that first series. I always ask myself, is that good or bad?”

When putting together a roster and running the pitching staff on a day-to-day basis, manager Dave Roberts balances giving regulars plenty of rest rather than keeping them sharp.

“There is a little [of a desire] to bubble wrap guys to prepare for the postseason, but there’s also the part where you want to prepare for another season and play good baseball for it,” he said.

The only regular Friday absent was Turner, who has been nursing a sore shin since he fouled a ball off it 10 days ago and made it worse while sliding. He wasn’t needed. Cody Bellinger’s three-run home run sparked an eight-run fourth inning. Mookie Betts and Chris Taylor each had three of the Dodgers’ 15 hits.

Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers hits a triple home run in the fourth inning on September 30, 2022.

The Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger hits a triple home run in the fourth inning.

(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

“If we were in the postseason now [Turner] would be possible, but we’re in the process of protecting ourselves from backsliding,” Roberts said. “Once we have Justin back I think the five days off will be beneficial. Some pitchers will benefit from this time out, but there will be other players, particularly on the positional side, who want to keep playing and maintain that rhythm.

They will only do this against the last placed Rockies. Why? When the first week of the season was delayed for MLB and the players’ union to finalize the collective bargaining agreement, a three-game series against the Rockies was moved to the bottom of the list.

Then there are five days off. After Thursday’s rest day, the Dodgers will play intrasquad games for the next three days. A light training session takes place the day before the start of the NLDS.

“We’re going to circle back and have the guys throwing live-at-bats and pitchers to live-hitters, all that stuff,” Roberts said.

The Rockies' Yonathan Daza is knocked out in second by Dodgers second baseman Gavin Lux when Lux throws at first.

The Rockies’ Yonathan Daza is driven off in second by Dodgers second baseman Gavin Lux when Lux throws to first in the first inning.

(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

No franchise understands the dangers of sitting idle ahead of a postseason series better than the Rockies, who were swept by the Boston Red Sox after a record eight days in the 2007 World Series.

The Rockies were red hot and entered the series after winning 21 of 22 games. But after defeating the Diamondbacks in the NLCS, they hunkered down at their spring training facility in Tucson and waited for the Red Sox to play a seven-game series against the Cleveland Indians.

The Rockies were surpassed in the World Series 29-10.

Turner said the Dodgers were smart enough to avoid disappointment or rack up rust.

“I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of team meetings and rah-rah things,” he said. “If you look around here [clubhouse]there’s an excess of post-season experience and the guys know what it’s about, what it’s like to play in it.”

Short jumps

Injured pitchers Tony Gonsolin (forearm), Dustin May (back) and Blake Treinen (shoulder) each made positive progress. Gonsolin is the furthest along and is scheduled to play three innings on Monday. Roberts said he was “confident” May would serve in the NLDS. But at Treinen he downgraded his assessment to “hopeful”.

https://www.latimes.com/sports/dodgers/story/2022-09-30/dodgers-rockies-six-games-clayton-kershaw-mookie-betts-mlb-recap Dodgers weighing playoff pros and cons of their dominant ways

Emma Bowman

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