In a season that was unlike any other, the Los Angeles Dodgers find themselves in a familiar position heading into the Freeway Series against the L.A. Angels.
The Dodgers have essentially had nothing to play for since clinching an eighth consecutive National League West title last week. With that came also securing the No. 1 seed in the NL portion of the playoffs. Days later, the Dodgers guaranteed themselves the best record in baseball.
And with their win on Saturday, L.A. ensured they will finish the 2020 regular season having lost only one series — to the Colorado Rockies.
Health has been at the forefront, but Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has also emphasized continuing to sustain momentum heading into the postseason. As such, his team is in position to complete a sweep of the Angels.
They will look to do so with Dustin May again serving as a ‘bulk’ relief pitcher. May was bumped from a scheduled start in favor of an opener as the Dodgers continue to evaluate postseason roles.
Julio Urias experienced the same treatment as May, though Tony Gonsolin made his start. That could be an indication of how the Dodgers are leaning when it comes to a potential Game 3 starter for the Wild Card Series.
With May pitching out of the bullpen, the Dodgers are handing the ball to Victor Gonzalez as an opener. The start is the first of Gonzalez’s young career. He’s 1-0 and allowed just one run over 7.2 innings across seven relief appearances this season.
The Angels counter with Patrick Sandoval, who allowed five runs (four earned) over six innings when he faced the Dodgers earlier this season. Sandoval is 1-4 with a 5.56 ERA and 1.32 WHIP in eight games (five starts) this season.
He sees a Dodgers lineup that doesn’t include Mookie Betts or Cody Bellinger. Betts was hit by a pitch in his hip area on Saturday night and is being held out as a precaution. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Betts had some soreness and the team simply elected to play it safe.
While the Dodgers know they will open the Wild Card round at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday, their opponent may not be determined until Monday. All teams begin play at 12:10 p.m. PT, but myriad scenarios could require the St. Louis Cardinals to play Monday.
As it currently stands, the Dodgers could face the Cardinals, Milwaukee Brewers, Philadelphia Phillies or San Francisco Giants in the first round.
CF: AJ Pollock
SS: Corey Seager
3B: Justin Turner
1B: Max Muncy
DH: Will Smith
2B: Chris Taylor
RF: Kiké Hernandez
C: Austin Barnes
LF: Joc Pederson
3B: David Fletcher
1B: Jared Walsh
RF: Taylor Ward
DH: Shohei Ohtani
CF: Jo Adell
C: Anthony Bemboom
LF: Justin Upton
2B: Jahmai Jones
SS: Elliot Soto
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