The Los Angeles Dodgers clinched the National League West crown for the ninth time in the last 10 years on Tuesday night in what was essentially a formality but was still nice to celebrate. Because of MLB’s new playoff format, though, there’s still a lot to play for in the final three weeks.
The top two seeds in each league get a first-round bye and don’t have to play in a three-game Wild Card series. As it stands, the Dodgers are the top team in the NL with a nine-game lead over the No. 2 seed and a 15-game lead over the No. 3 seed.
It’s essentially a guarantee that the Dodgers will not only get the first-round bye but will also be the top seed in the NL. With that in mind, we can start previewing who the team could play in the NLDS. With so much still up in the air in the NL playoff picture, there are five potential opponents the Dodgers can see in the five-game series.
Ranking the 5 potential NLDS opponents the Dodgers could face
5. New York Mets
The New York Mets are the last team the Dodgers want to face in the NLDS. Despite having the second-best record in the NL (at the time of writing this), the Mets could still end up being the fourth seed as the first WC team.
Atlanta is only half-game behind the Mets in the NL East. With the Cardinals being six games behind the second seed, it’s safe to assume that whoever wins the NL East will get a first-round bye. Whoever loses has to play a three-game series and then potentially play the Dodgers in the NLDS.
There’s a good chance that the Dodgers have to get through the Mets anyway in the playoffs if they’re going reach the World Series. Playing New York in a seven-game series is far better for the Dodgers because of their depth advantage. However, in a five-game series, anything can happen, especially when Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer are starting on the other side.