Sunday, September 28, 2014

Looking at the possible NLDS roster

The Dodgers won in walk-off fashion on Saturday night in kind of a meaningless game.  OK, it was a completely meaningless game, as the Dodgers are locked in for home-field advantage in the NLDS and the #2 overall seed.  The Rockies have been eliminated since the start of Spring Training. 

Anyway, Scott Van Slyke scored on a wild pitch, and the Dodgers outlasted the Rockies 6-5 in 12 innings.  Good thing, too, because the bullpen blew a late two-run lead.

Sunday is the regular season finale, and Don Mattingly will let the boys have some fun.  Juan Uribe gets to manage, and Clayton Kershaw gets a good look at his future many years from now by handling pitching coach duties.

After that, it's back to business, as the NLDS opens Friday night at Dodger Stadium.  As for the opponent, the Pirates still have a chance to catch the Cardinals, so we'll see how that plays out on Sunday.

In the meantime, let's take a look at what the possible NLDS roster will be.  Last year the Dodgers went with 14 position players and 11 pitchers.  How will it shake out this year?  Let me take my best guess.

Starting Position Players
A.J. Ellis
Adrian Gonzalez
Dee Gordon
Hanley Ramirez
Juan Uribe
Carl Crawford
Yasiel Puig
Matt Kemp

Analysis: No surprises here, as this is the lineup Mattingly has settled into.

Justin Turner
Scott Van Slyke
Andre Ethier
Darwin Barney
Miguel Rojas
Drew Butera

Analysis: Because the starting pitching, especially Kershaw and Greinke, can go deep into games, I think Mattingly will opt to go for an extra bench player over the bullpen.  With Gordon leaving early on Saturday because of a bad hip, it makes even more sense, as Turner could very well be starting at second.  Van Slyke can play outfield and first base if A-Gon gets lifted for a pinch-runner.  Barney and Rojas are purely for their gloves, as Mattingly won't hesitate to use one or both to protect a late lead.

Starting Rotation
Clayton Kershaw
Zack Greinke
Hyun-Jin Ryu
Dan Haren

Analysis: The wild card is Ryu, but the word on him is that he's feeling much better and should be good to go.  He won't needed until Game 3 at the earliest, which is Monday, October 6.  Haren has settled down from a horrific July to post a 2.70 ERA in September.  If he needs to go in the third game, Mattingly will feel much better about giving him the ball.

Kenley Jansen
Brian Wilson
J.P. Howell
Brandon League
Pedro Baez
Paco Rodriguez
Jamey Wright

Analysis: As I said before, I think the starters' ability to go deep knocks out at least one arm in the 'pen.  To me, the biggest decision is between Paco and Scott Elbert.  I'll go with Paco, though I wouldn't at all be surprised if it's Elbert.  This is definitely the weakest unit of the group, so if the Dodgers to advance to the NLCS, they could shake up the roster yet again.

Who's left out?
On the offensive side, the biggest name is probably Joc Pederson.  He has a bright future ahead of him, but he's only 4-for-26, so I'd be very surprised if he beats out one of the veterans.   Erisbel Arruebarrena is another solid glove, but is behind Rojas in the pecking order.

The pitching staff has tougher decisions.  I don't see Kevin Correia or Roberto Hernandez getting in, as they've sharply regressed after pretty good starts.  Carlos Frias pitched very well on Saturday in relief, so perhaps he's kept for just that role.  But I doubt it.


kjmdodger said...

You forgot about Chris Perez being left out. I don't think Pedro Baez is a slam dunk (although he would be my choice). They'll be deciding between Chris Perez and Pedro Baez.

Aaron Dodger said...

I knew there was someone I left out, and Perez is that guy! That's a very good point, though. Either guy could make it over the other.