Dodgers Continue Their Run In The Postseason Hoping To Reach The World Series For A Shot At Redemption

Yasmani Grandal and Yasiel Puig celebrating in Game 3 of the NLDS.

Photo courtesy

Yasmani Grandal and Yasiel Puig celebrating in Game 3 of the NLDS.

The Dodgers ended their 2017 season with a crushing defeat by the Houston Astros. After such a historic season of 104 wins, this loss left fans wondering what was missing. One year later and the Dodgers have begun a run at the postseason once again, this time with a roster distinctly different than the year before.

Of the four starting pitchers, Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill are the only two to have secured their spot in the 2017 postseason along with the 2018 postseason. After his faulty performance in gamehree and seven of the world series, Yu Darvish was traded to the Los Angeles Angels, and essentially replaced by rookie, Walker Buehler. Buehler has emerged as one of the Dodgers most reliable pitchers, with 14 wins, and 151 strikeouts, in only 24 starts. However, in his most recent start in Game three of the NLDS (National League Division Series), Buehler gave up five runs in the second inning, leading the Dodgers to their first postseason loss. As for left handed pitcher, Alex Wood, he was demoted to relief pitcher and his spot in the starting lineup was taken by Hyun-jin Ryu. Although Ryu has played for the Dodgers since 2013, a series of injuries had held him back until the 2018 season.

The initial three catchers for the 2017 postseason roster has been cut down to two by eliminating Kyle Farmer from the roster all together but keeping Austin Barnes and Yasmani Grandal. Although both are more than capable of the position, Grandal was chosen to play catcher in every game of the NLDS.

The most significant changes in the roster have been made to their rotation of infielders. After the loss of shortstop, Corey Seager, in the beginning of the 2018 season due to an elbow injury, the Dodgers brought in Manny Machado from the Baltimore Orioles to be his replacement. When comparing the two players 2017 season, Seager had a better batting average, more runs, and a higher  base percentage plus slugging percentage (OPS) than Machado. However, Machado does manage to edge out Seager in hits, home runs, and RBIs. Machado has proved his worth on the team in every game, most recently hitting two home runs in the final game of the NLDS with a total of four RBIs. Another significant change in infielders from 2017 to 2018 is the switch from Logan Forsythe to Brian Dozier. Last season, the Dodgers passed up Dozier for Forsythe who was seen to be a less expensive second baseman.

Although Forsythe delivered in the 2017 postseason, his impact on the team began to wear off soon after. When the opportunity to bring Dozier to the Dodgers presented itself once again, the Dodgers decided to make the switch to the more expensive and seemingly more talented second basemen, while sending Forsythe to the Minnesota Twins. However, an irritated knee has kept Dozier from delivering the same results to the Dodgers as he did for the Twins, and could end up exploiting a possible weakness in the Dodger lineup, as he only had two at-bats in all four NLDS games.

Due to the numerous injuries Dodgers encountered in the beginning of the season, many players were shifted around in their positions to make up for the missing people. This caused one of the most significant changes in the roster by moving first baseman and 2017 NL Rookie of the year, Cody Bellinger, to the outfield, and bringing in struggling Oakland A’s player, Max Muncy to fill in at first base. Bringing in Muncy was a risk for the Dodgers, however, it payed off as Muncy has hit 35 of his 40 career home runs under the Dodgers. Muncy played in three of the NLDS games, all of which the Dodgers won, and was only replaced for one game by David Freese, former Pittsburgh Pirate, in which the Dodgers lost. Freese did however prove his worth on the team by hitting a two-run homer in the top of the sixth in the final game of the series, contributing to the Dodgers’ victory.

As for outfielders, the major addition this year was Matt Kemp. He played for the Dodgers for nine years before being traded to the Padres in 2015, and has finally made his way back home. Joc Pederson has also had much more playing time this year than in past seasons. Pederson was a key player in the Braves series, especially since the only game the Dodgers lost was when Pederson was on the bench.

The Dodgers have proved that they are not scared of change this season, whether that be in players or their position. They have displayed change in players is what they need to see a change in their results. After winning the NLDS series against the Atlanta Braves, the Dodgers will continue their run in Postseason hoping to make it back to the World Series for a shot at redemption.