Dodgers Announce NLDS Roster Ahead of Game 1
The Dodgers announced the team roster for the NLDS series against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Dave Roberts elected to go with 12 total pitchers, including five starting pitchers (Kershaw, Darvish, Hill, Wood, and Maeda). The Dodgers are likely to roll out a four-man rotation in this short five-game series, which would include the first four mentioned above. This means that Maeda, as expected, will work out of long relief.
Roberts has eight relievers highlighted by Jansen and Morrow. Roberts elected to go with two lefties opposed to three because the Dbacks only have three lefties (Lamb, Peralta, Descalso) on the roster. That meant that despite pitching to an ERA sub 3 post the All-Star break Hyun-Jin Ryu was left off the roster in favor of Maeda.
On the offensive side, the only real surprise here is that the Dodgers will carry three catchers. Earlier this week it was reported that the NLDS roster was down to 3 spots. The spots went to Andre Ethier, Kyle Farmer and Curtis Granderson.
Farmer being included on the roster means that Roberts wants to use Austin Barnes in more pinch-hitting situations. Barnes provides a lot of value for the Dodgers off the bench and could very well be the first right-handed bat off the bench.
Aside from those three, the offense will look as we’ve seen all season. Bellinger (1B), Seager (SS), Turner (3B), Taylor (CF), Puig (RF) will be the staple of the Dodgers lineup. While players like Granderson (OF), Grandal (C), Hernandez (LF), Forsythe (2B), Utley (2B) could make spot starts depending on the pitching matchups.
The offense has five lefties and one switch-hitter, while the Dbacks only have two left-handed relievers (Chafin and De La Rosa). Here is the complete breakdown of the NLDS roster.
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All in all, there really wasn’t any surprises to the roster. We already expected Maeda to move to the bullpen. And although Ryu is undoubtedly deserving, the need for a right-hander out of the pen is greater than a left-hander.
The big thing that stands out on the pitching side is that Pedro Baez made the roster (to the irritation of Dodger fans). But Baez could be good here. As Brook Smith pointed out in an article last week, Baez has very good numbers against the Dbacks. I don’t expect Baez to be utilized in big-time moments. But there aren’t a lot of options better than Baez to bridge the game to Morrow and eventually Jansen. Baez could be the Andrew Miller of the Indians last year and come in to pitch in the 5th/6th inning. I like the move by Roberts to stick by his best pitchers.
On the hitting side, I love that Dave Roberts put Ethier on the roster. Since returning from injury, Ethier has certainly passed the eye test. He’s producing good at-bats off the bench and has postseason experience. The decision meant that Joc was left off. To me, this was the right move because Joc hasn’t produced well lately. And quite frankly hasn’t produced to his expectation throughout his career.
The other notable change was leaving speedster Tim Locastro off the lineup. I am 100% behind this move. To be honest, I didn’t understand the reports that he could make the team when this team has so many viable options. But Roberts made the right call here in choosing Farmer over Locastro. This gives Roberts flexibility when managing Barnes who is pretty darn fast himself. I know speed kills in the postseason, but Barnes has more to offer to the team.
Next: Kershaw October Implications
Overall, I love the roster. We already know who the key players are so even if Roberts had put Locastro and Ryu on the roster, it wouldn’t have been that significant. It’s time for the players to let their playing do the talking.