The Los Angeles Dodgers are your NL West Champions and will have bye in the first round of the playoffs as the No. 2 seed behind the powerhouse Atlanta Braves. But the playoff bracket is far from set outside of the top spots being settled.
The Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs, and Arizona Diamondbacks are duking it out until the very end, and the Dodgers will obviously be affected by however the Wild Card picture ends up.
Who would Dodgers face in playoffs if 2023 season ended today?
Right now, the Dodgers would be set to battle the winner of the Brewers vs Cubs Wild Card series. The Braves would be facing the winner of the Phillies vs D-Backs Wild Card series. But that could still change.
The Phillies are three games up atop the NL Wild Card over the Diamondbacks, who are a half-game better than the Cubs. Chicago, with a miraculous turn of events, would have to erase six games in the NL Central to topple the Brewers. The Phillies and D-backs can't win their divisions, as the Braves and Dodgers already clinched.
Now comes the hard part. Who do the fans want the Dodgers to go up against in the NLDS?
Possible Dodgers NLDS Opponent: Chicago Cubs
If we're being honest, the Cubs are probably the most dreaded playoff opponent out of the three solely because of the presence of Cody Bellinger. Don't you just see this being an incessantly overdone headline leading up to the series? Don't you see it being more insufferable if he somehow burns the Dodgers? Can't you already predict the layup questions the media will have about the relationship between the two sides?
And hey, ditto for Cubs fans. Do you think they'll want the Jason Heyward narrative drilled into their head as he enjoys a career year with the Dodgers after costing Chicago a ton of money on one of the worst contracts of the modern era?
Outside of that, there's a good matchup here for the Dodgers. Justin Steele is great, but he's never pitched in a playoff game and has blown by his career high in innings by 46 already. Marcus Stroman and Kyle Hendricks are entirely hittable, and something tells us they'll be even more so once the calendar turns. That gives the Dodgers a much better chance of getting by with rookie Bobby Miller, a hobbled Clayton Kershaw and an inconsistent Lance Lynn.
The Cubs might have a top-10 offense, but the Dodgers are far ahead at No. 2, only behind the Braves. LA dwarfs Chicago in every major offensive stat outside of hits and average. They should handle the Cubbies, but there's too much potential for cosmic interference with Bellinger involved. Let's avoid this, please.