What's ahead? Dodgers postseason FAQ

September 23rd, 2021

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers are officially back in the postseason for the ninth consecutive season. While the Dodgers still have work to do, let’s take a look at some frequently asked questions leading up to the team’s most recent postseason run.

What could the postseason roster look like?
This could definitely change based on the matchup and whether the Dodgers have to play a one-game Wild Card. It’s also dependent on AJ Pollock and Chris Taylor recovering from their respective injuries. But let’s give it a try.

C: Will Smith, Austin Barnes
1B: Max Muncy, Albert Pujols
2B: Trea Turner
SS: Corey Seager
3B: Justin Turner
UTIL: Chris Taylor, Gavin Lux, Matt Beaty
OF: AJ Pollock, Cody Bellinger, Mookie Betts
SP: Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, Julio Urías
RP: Phil Bickford, Justin Bruihl, Tony Gonsolin, Brusdar Graterol, Kenley Jansen, Joe Kelly, Corey Knebel, David Price, Blake Treinen, Alex Vesia

What’s left to play for?
While the Dodgers are certainly happy to be back in the postseason, their sights are set on trying to win their ninth consecutive division title. Winning the National League West would allow the Dodgers to miss the dreaded one-game Wild Card and reset their pitching rotation for a five-game series.

Winning the division is going to be tougher than they originally thought, however, as the Dodgers have no more games against San Francisco.

“It’s a good one right now,” said Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. “Giants aren’t losing, so they’re not making it easy on us. It’s going to be fun.”

If the Dodgers are unable to catch the Giants, they have clinched that they would host the Wild Card Game.

Who are they likely to face in the first round?
That’ll ultimately be determined by where the Dodgers finish in the standings, which likely won’t be decided until the final days of the season. If the Dodgers are unable to win the division, they’ll have to play in the NL Wild Card Game against one of the handful of teams still competing for the second spot. If the season ended today, the Dodgers would play the Cardinals at Dodger Stadium. But if the Dodgers win the division, they’ll await the winner of the NL Wild Card Game for the NL Division Series.

When do the playoffs start?
The NL Wild Card Game will take place on Oct. 6. The best-of-five NL Division Series will follow, with Games 1-2 taking place on Oct. 8-9; Games 3-4 are set for Oct. 11-12; and any potential Game 5’s are scheduled for Oct. 14.

Who would start a potential Wild Card Game?
While the Dodgers are hoping to avoid this situation, they might be tasked with the difficult decision of naming a starter for the Wild Card Game. The reason why it would be so difficult is because the Dodgers have two of the frontrunners for NL Cy Young in Max Scherzer and Walker Buehler.

If you count the days, both Scherzer and Buehler would be available to start on Oct. 6. Do the Dodgers go with the three-time Cy Young Award winner in Scherzer? Or do they hand the ball off to Buehler, who has proven to be a big-game pitcher? Winning the division would solve all their problems. If they don’t, they’ll have to make that decision, though they likely can’t be wrong with either choice.

Any injuries of note?

Taylor has been dealing with a sore neck for a couple of weeks, which will be worth keeping an eye on as the season winds down.