Dodgers: 3 things that would have happened if season started on time

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 09: The Los Angeles Dodgers dug out celebrate after Max Muncy #13 hit a two run home run in the first inning of game five of the National League Division Series against the Washington Nationals at Dodger Stadium on October 09, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 09: The Los Angeles Dodgers dug out celebrate after Max Muncy #13 hit a two run home run in the first inning of game five of the National League Division Series against the Washington Nationals at Dodger Stadium on October 09, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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Imagine we live in an alternate universe and the 2020 baseball season had started on time. What would have happened in the Dodgers season already?

It seems like every single article I have written over the past several weeks, soon to be months, has started with the same lede: “As Major League Baseball continues to work with public health officials to decide on a possible start date…”

Tired of writing the same thing, I wrote the same thing.

But in all seriousness, as we are about one month into the delayed start to the 2020 season, I thought it would be fun to think about what would have happened already to the Dodgers had we been saved from the coronavirus pandemic and baseball had started on time.

This is all speculation and fun. Enjoy.

3. A tough start turns into a hot stretch for Gavin Lux

It seems like a natural right to win Rookie of the Year as a prospect for the Dodgers. From Jackie Robinson in 1947 to Cody Bellinger in 2017, and countless names in between, including, for fans of my generation, the back-to-back-to-back-to-back-back stretch of Karros, Piazza, Mondesi, Nomo, and Hollandsworth, being a rookie in Dodger blue comes with expectations.

Gavin Lux would have started the season as the everyday second baseman, one of the top prospects in all of baseball, and I think it would have been a slow start for the rookie. We would have written about it here. Does Lux need more time in the minors? Maybe Enrique Hernandez should get more at-bats for a while. People on Twitter would have argued that Roberts needs to shake things up versus #ItsOnlyBeenOneMonth

Then, just as the chatter was heating up about Lux’s slow start, he would have broken out of his slump in a three-game series toward the end of the month, showing how quickly season numbers can change when it’s only April.

2. The Dodgers would be in second place

While the Dodgers have won seven straight division titles, one thing they haven’t done is run away with the division early. In fact, since 2013, their largest lead on April 27 has been one game. And they trailed the division leader on this date on the calendar four times, falling as many as 6.5 back in 2018.

If the season had started on time, I think the Dodgers would have faltered again early, landing in second place behind the Padres. San Diego is the only other team in the division projected to finish over .500 at just 84 wins, and the early schedule would have worked in their favor.

While the Dodgers would have seen the Giants and Pirates early, they would have played the Nationals and Cardinals 13 times already. Meanwhile, the Padres would have had 13 games with the Rockies and Giants, two expected bottom-dwellers in the NL West, along with a series against the historically bad Tigers.

The pattern of the Dodgers keeping close or slightly behind the pack early in the season would have continued under a normal start date .

1. Fans would be calling for Dave Roberts’ job

After his postseason performance against the Nationals (and plenty of reasons before that), many Dodger fans would have liked to see manager Dave Roberts head for the door during the offseason

That didn’t happen. Roberts is back. I happen to think it’s a positive—given the current situation, imagine a new manager trying to navigate the complexities of communicating with a diverse roster of players without having already built strong connections.

That said, if the Dodgers weren’t flying out of the gate, after last season’s disappointing finish, and with Mookie Betts in the fold, the calls for Roberts job would surely be prominent on Twitter, old school message boards, and sports talk shows.

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