Since the 6th of April, opening day at Dodger Stadium, the Dodgers have played 162 games and clinched both the NL West and home field advantage in the first round of playoffs, the NLDS. But none of the 162 games during the last 6 months matter anymore as a 5 game series against the New York Mets will decide the fate of the teams.
The major concern with the Dodgers has been who will pitch game 3, the first at Citi Field with Kershaw and Greinke being unable after probably going in the first two. It seems to be between Alex Wood and Brett Anderson, both of whom have showed they can pitch when it matters in tight spots but neither has excelled as of late.
No doubt this is disappointing to Mattingly as the season wound down with him wanting one of the two to step up like Seager has, and taken the starting role, but neither starting pitcher has done that. Wood went 2-3 with a 5.08 ERA in September, not exactly October standard and with Anderson going 1-1 with a 6.20 ERA the decision for Donnie will be hard.
Game three will also have to be against the seemingly controversial of late, Matt Harvey, who won’t be on a pitch limit, a team official has said, something no one wants to see in the playoffs when you’re fighting for a World Series ring.
The home field advantage will play a major role in the first series for LA meaning they can now they can pitch their to stars guys at home where they’ve barely lost all season, going a combined 14 wins and 4 losses with a stunning 1.57 ERA. If we see the Clayton Kershaw of the regular season and not October I can see the Dodgers having an easy 2-0 lead after the first two days, with both Kershaw and Greinke being amazing all year combined with New York’s streak of only 2 runs in the last 4 games of the season.
If this goes to plan and we don’t see the Kershaw of the last two year’s playoffs and the form stays true into October the Dodgers could see themselves with a sweep, if the bullpen holds up.
Although lately it has been outstanding, coming back from the wreck that was August and September it is very prone to struggling and almost being that when one person struggles the other handful of guys in there catch the bug and fail too. This cant happen in tight games in the post season, they will give up runs but with people pitching on short rest and the bullpen being severely needed in a lot of games the stress may be enough to crack them come games 4 and 5.
This is why the first 3 will be crucial and if LA can leave Citi Field after game 3 with a 2-1 lead or even the sweep, it would save the tiring bullpen and allow them to rest for the next series against one of the favorites and powerhouses the Cubs, Pirates or Cardinals, all of whom had a better record than LA during the season.