What's ahead? Dodgers postseason FAQ

September 22nd, 2022

The Dodgers won a ninth NL West title in 10 years last week. On Monday, Los Angeles clinched home-field advantage in the NL Division Series following a dominant 5-2 win over the D-backs.

Here’s what we know, what we don’t know and what’s left for the team down the stretch:

What might the postseason roster look like?

The Dodgers have so much depth and ability to mix and match, that it’s a tough task to guess along with the front office. Add in a long list of players recently back from the IL or currently on the mend, and the guessing game becomes akin to 3D chess. Here’s one possibility:

C: Will Smith, Austin Barnes
1B: Freddie Freeman
2B: Gavin Lux
3B: Justin Turner
SS: Trea Turner
OF: Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger, Joey Gallo, Trayce Thompson
DH: Max Muncy
UTL: Chris Taylor, Hanser Alberto
SP: Julio Urías, Tony Gonsolin, Clayton Kershaw, Dustin May
RP: Craig Kimbrel, Evan Phillips, Phil Bickford, Alex Vesia, Chris Martin, Blake Treinen, Tyler Anderson, Caleb Ferguson, Yency Almonte

What’s left for the Dodgers in the regular season?

Even with the division title and first-round bye locked up, the Dodgers still have a few bigger goals ahead.

• NL’s best record: The Dodgers can guarantee home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs by finishing with the league’s best mark. Their biggest threat is the Mets, but there’s a significant gap between the two teams.

• MLB’s best record: The Dodgers can also secure home-field advantage through the World Series if they maintain baseball’s best record. Rival Houston has the best chance at catching Los Angeles, but at the rate the Dodgers are racking up wins, the road to a World Series might just run through Dodger Stadium.

• Franchise wins record: It almost seems like a matter of when, not if, the Dodgers will set a new franchise record, which sits at 106. The 2022 Dodgers could go down as the most accomplished team in franchise history.

Who will the opponent in the Dodgers’ first playoff series?

Presuming the Dodgers finish the season with the best record in the NL and the No. 1 seed in the playoffs, they will play the winner of the Wild Card Series between the Nos. 4 and 5 seeds. That’s the top two Wild Cards, in other words.

Since the NL East title and second Wild Card spots are up for grabs, the Dodgers’ first postseason series could come against the Mets, Braves, Phillies, Padres or Brewers. Here’s how L.A. has fared against each in 2022:
• Mets: 3-4
• Braves: 4-2
• Phillies: 3-4
• Padres: 12-4
• Brewers: 4-3

How’s the Dodgers’ health situation?

Got some time for this one? Good thing the Dodgers enjoy depth of talent, because their injured list is nearly as deep. Here’s a partial list of players who either are sidelined or still rounding into form after recent injuries:

• SP Tony Gonsolin (right forearm strain): Gonsolin threw a bullpen session on Sept. 17 and "continues to get better," according to manager Dave Roberts, but it remains uncertain whether he will rejoin the Dodgers' rotation this season.

• RP Blake Treinen (right shoulder soreness): The righty threw a live BP session on Sept. 19 and could be activated on Sept. 22. He’ll have two weeks to prove he’s healthy enough to contribute in October.

• RP Brusdar Graterol (right elbow inflammation): The righty’s 100 mph heat certainly would be an asset. He’s expected back before October.

• RP Yency Almonte (right elbow tightness): Almonte will join Triple-A Oklahoma City for a rehab assignment. He’s expected to join the Dodgers down the stretch.

• RP Victor González (left elbow inflammation): Gonzalez won’t pitch for the Dodgers this season after his rehab was cut short.

• RP David Price (left wrist inflammation): The veteran lefty has been rehabbing in Arizona.

How will the pitching rotation shape up?

Urías has ascended to ace status and is pitching as well as any starter in baseball. Kershaw is a mainstay. As for the rest, read on.

What’s the toughest decision ahead?

Probably setting the starting pitching rotation and deciding whether to send an unselected starter to the bullpen or to leave him off the Division Series roster. The health -- and performance down the stretch -- of May and Gonsolin will factor in. Anderson, despite having an All-Star season, could slide into the bullpen. Left-hander Andrew Heaney also might be a bullpen candidate if he’s on the roster.

Are any surprises possible?

These are the Dodgers, so, yup. This, after all, is a team that gave Lux five postseason starts last year in center field, a position he had never played as a big leaguer before game No. 153 in the regular season. What might the surprise be? Well, then it wouldn’t be a surprise, would it?