The Los Angeles Dodgers overcame their rivals in San Francisco in one of the most evenly matched NLDS series you’ll ever see. With the Giants now behind them after such an emotional series that came down to the wire, Los Angeles will try to defend their World Series crown by once again taking down the Atlanta Braves in the NLCS.
While the Braves are missing Ronald Acuna and Mike Soroka in this series, the fact that they were able to overcome a tough Brewers staff and their collection of pitching talent should prove that this team is not to be taken lightly or messed with.
The Dodgers chose to make some unique decisions when it came to filling out their pitching staff for their 26-man NLCS roster. Rather than prioritizing experience and the ability to pitch deep into games, they rolled the dice on some younger players that should be able to help out of the bullpen.
The Dodgers chose not to add David Price, who has been solid as a starter and reliever this season, to the NLCS roster. In order to replace him, relief pitchers Justin Bruihl and Evan Phillips have beat him out. Time will tell if Dave Roberts made the right call by leaving Price out.
The Dodgers didn’t bring David Price to the NLCS.
Bruihl has quietly been an extremely effective reliever out of the bullpen this season. With a 2.89 ERA and 144 ERA+ in some limited action this season, he’s proven to be capable of getting outs at this level. His ability to get meaningful outs in series like this, however, remains to be seen.
Phillips is the more surprising addition of the two, as the 27-year-old has just 56 MLB games under his belt, seven of which came with the Dodgers this season. Still, with an ERA+ of 121, Roberts must see enough in him to warrant giving the veteran righty a chance to pitch in the postseason.
Even with Clayton Kershaw hurt and Trevor Bauer away from the team due to his sexual assault allegations, Roberts seems confident in the combination of Max Scherzer, Julio Urias, Walker Buehler, and Tony Gonsolin leading this team to the promised land.
Price will not get a chance to pitch for LA in this series barring something unforeseen. While his playoff missteps early in his career are well-known, an argument can be made for keeping him as a long reliever. Roberts has guided this team to a title in the past, so it might be best not to question his judgment.