The good times and feelings are starting to come back in Tinseltown, as the Dodgers have won six of their last seven games. With three more games left in the season and pretty much everything secured, LA should still not take a break.
The Dodgers close out their 2017 season with a three-game road trip to Coors Field as they take on the Colorado Rockies. At 102-57, they have locked up home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs and are two games ahead of the Cleveland Indians for the best record in all of baseball.
Thus, as is the case with a lot of teams in the Dodgers’ position over the years, they may be tempted to rest their star players and valuable starters, instead opting to field a Triple-A team.
But that should not be the case, and it should not even cross Dave Roberts’ mind. First of all, Los Angeles is coming off a stretch, before their last seven games, in which they lost 20 of 25 games and scored a paltry 71 games.
Nothing went right, especially on offense, during that time except for a series wins against the Washington Nationals and San Francisco Giants. So with that in mind, and the offense just recently getting back on track the last three games (28 runs), Roberts would ruin the momentum that the hitters have built up, especially the slumping veterans.
Curtis Granderson is starting to warm up, with six hits (one home run) and three walks in his last 21 plate appearances. Logan Forsythe has seven hits (one home run and three doubles) and three walks in his last 24 plate appearances, and even his outs have seen him put some great swings on the ball.
And Yasmani Grandal? After starting off September as bad as one could (four for his first 49 at-bats and 22 strikeouts), is starting to swing a hot bat too. He has six hits and two walks in his last 19 plate appearances along with two home runs and two doubles.
But most importantly, Corey Seager seems to be back. He was dealing with a couple of injuries and was slumping terribly before the Padres series (.489 OPs in 64 previous at-bats). But the shortstop broke out in a big way, going four for ten with two home runs and three walks. The elbow problem is not gone, but it looks as if he is starting to adjust to it better.
And with a series in hitters paradise Coors Field, it can only help them continue to build back their confidence. Roberts should not stop this momentum, especially since the games they will play after this weekend will be in the NLDS.
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Speaking of which, the Rockies, as of right now, look like one of the Dodgers’ most likely NLDS opponents next to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Both happen to play in the NL West, so it’s just a preference of who you’d want to see.
How about not having to face any NL West team? Arizona has already clinched and, according to Michael Wittman, has the best chance to beat LA, and it’s hard to argue against that.
But Colorado isn’t any slouch either, having two MVP candidates (who have raked off Kershaw this year) in their lineup along with Coors Field. Coors can close the talent gap between teams, especially pitching-wise, and is the most unpredictable place to play.
That is what makes them so scary. Anything can happen there, especially if you aren’t a power pitcher like the Dodgers’ Rich Hill, Alex Wood and Hyun-Jin Ryu.
As of right now, the Rockies have a two-game lead over the Milwaukee Brewers for the second wild-card spot with three games to play. I can guarantee you that LA would much rather face the young Brewers instead of an NL West team. Los Angeles is much more talented than the Brew Crew, and Milwaukee isn’t as familiar with the Dodgers as the other two.
But, if the Dodgers take their foot off the pedal this weekend, then they will more likely than not be facing a division rival, and no matter the talent difference, ballparks and the familiarity factor help level the playing field.
And last but not least, they have the chance to have the best record in baseball so they should not let that slip through their fingers.
Los Angeles has to keep building up their momentum and get that good feeling from earlier in the season back. Also, they have the chance to simultaneously knock a division rival out of the playoffs and clinch home-field throughout it. Don’t let up.