Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
With the National League Division Series beginning on Saturday at Dodger Stadium, the Los Angeles Dodgers now know who they will be facing as the Arizona Diamondbacks swept the Milwaukee Brewers in the Wild Card Series.
The Dodgers have been practicing and staying ready during their time off, but the front office still has to decide on their 26-man roster for their opening round. The position player group is likely penciled in already, but the there remains the question of which pitchers will make the roster.
“We’re still having a lot of internal conversations about it,” Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said after an NLDS workout. “I think no matter how it shakes out, we’re going to have a really talented pitching staff. There’s going to be tough decisions and probably some really talented pitchers won’t make this roster.
“And I think it just speaks to the depth, the number of guys who really stepped up this year. We’ve talked about this in the past, we may have to approach it in a more unconventional way, but the arm talent and the depth that we have, we feel really good about.”
Among the conversations is whether the Dodgers postseason roster for the NLDS will feature 12 or 13 pitchers, and how many of those will be rookies. The likely scenario is they carry 13 arms, which will essentially leave three spots for Lance Lynn, Ryan Yarbrough, Michael Grove and Emmet Sheehan.
Sheehan seems to be the safest bet to make the NLDS roster of the three, while the other decisions will come down to whether or not Lynn projects to start a Game 3. Either way, with Ryan Pepiot and Bobby Miller both locks to make the roster, the Dodgers are going to be relying on young arms to pitch big innings.
“I think what it’s lacking, potentially in some experience, we have in talent,” Dodgers general manager Brandon Gomes said. “But I think overall this group has performed really well, especially down the stretch. So it’s exciting to see these guys get out there and perform.”
The Dodgers do have versatility in how they build their pitching staff thanks to the off days during the NLDS. The Dodgers and D-Backs will have rest days following Games 1 and 2, and a potential Game 4, which Friedman believes will help them best utilize their pitchers.
“Obviously we’re not looking past the Division Series,” he began. “But the Division Series sets up with days off and things that allow for different scenarios than we’ve been afforded in the past. This Game 1, off, Game 2, is different.
“We’ve never had that before, and I think those off days are an advantage and we’ll use it and figure out the best way to use that to our advantage.”
Andrew Friedman confident in Dodgers’ pitching strategy
The Dodgers are expected to utilize their pitching staff in a somewhat non-traditional way compared to most teams by relying on more openers and bulk pitchers, but they are confident their plan will be effective.
“There’s variance that comes with that too,” Friedman said about a traditional plan for a pitching staff. “We can attest to all different outcomes and scenarios. The thing is, you go through a really long season and put yourself in the best position you possibly can.
“And we’ve done that in the sense of having a bye from the first round, having homefield in this round. And as you get through the season, certain guys are going to emerge, injuries are going to happen, things are going to happen over the course of a season that we expect and we know will happen.
“And then it’s about putting the best 26-man roster together, and we feel good about the talent and feel good about how this group has come together. And we’re excited to watch them go out and compete.”
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