Prioritize Defense Late in Games
The Dodgers beat the Giants 3-2 in 10 innings on Sunday, but a key misplay by Kiké Hernandez in center field almost led to the Giants taking the lead. That play is important because it was a case where the Dodgers put Hernandez in to replace James Outman for the right platoon matchup, but it backfired defensively. Los Angeles cannot let mistakes like that play cost them postseason games, which is why they have to emphasize defense, especially when they have a late lead.
Peralta may be a better hitter than Chris Taylor in many situations, but Taylor is the better option in left field. The same principle applies to having Mookie in right field instead of Heyward. Keeping Heyward in right field while Mookie plays second base might optimize offense, but when the Dodgers are protecting a lead, there should be no hesitation to put Miguel Rojas at shortstop and Hernandez or Amed Rosario at second base to make sure that Mookie is roaming the outfield late in games.
Speaking of Rojas, although his bat may not be as potent as many other players on the Dodgers' roster, an argument can be made that Rojas is the best defender at his native position out of any player on Los Angeles' roster. It's definitely worth sacrificing an at-bat here and there from a more prominent hitter to get Rojas' glove on the field.
That applies throughout the game, but as I have discussed before, it is of the utmost importance for the Dodgers to make those changes when protecting leads. When you factor in Rojas hitting .300 in September with the importance of not making mistakes in the postseason, he will have to play a major role if the Dodgers want to succeed in the 2023 postseason.