Joc Pederson: Postseason-Hopeful Mets & Rays Provide Extra Motivation, But Dodgers Have Own Focus

Having clinched the National League West at one of the earliest points in franchise history, the Los Angeles Dodgers were left with roughly three weeks to prepare for what will be their seventh consecutive trip to the postseason.

Among the Dodgers’ remaining goals in the regular season include solidifying home-field advantage throughout the World Series. They have already done so for the NL Division Series and are closing in on wrapping up the best record in the NL, boasting a five-game lead over the Atlanta Braves with 10 to play.

Other priorities for the Dodgers are simply staying healthy and keeping sharp. Helping matters has been L.A.’s current stretch against postseason-hopeful teams such as New York Mets and Tampa Bay Rays.

After taking two of three from the Mets, the Dodgers returned home and hosted the Rays on Tuesday for the first of two matchups at Dodger Stadium this week.

Prior to their 7-5 victory, Joc Pederson acknowledged he has found it beneficial for the Dodgers to face two competitive teams in the final weeks of the regular season but noted they would have to keep focused regardless, via MLB’s YouTube broadcast:

“Absolutely, but we’re still getting ready to win a World Series, so I don’t think it matters who is on the other side of the field. they have heir own stuff to worry about and we have our own stuff to worry about. We have to prepare ourselves for October, and there’s no letting off the gas pedal.”

In their series win against the Mets, L.A. was tasked with solving the likes of Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom and Zack Wheeler. That trend continued on Tuesday, when the club got their first look at 2018 American League Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell.

Having dropped three of their last four games, the Mets’ playoff hopes have taken a significant hit as of late. New York is currently four games out of the second NL Wild Card spot with just 11 games left on their regular season schedule.

Moreover, they were pegged with only a 3.1% chance of advancing to October, according to FanGraphs’ odds on Wednesday morning.

As for the Rays, they find themselves clinging onto a half-game lead over the Cleveland Indians for the final AL Wild Card berth. In a race that will likely come down to the wire, FanGraphs’ playoff projections have been much more favorable for Tampa Bay.

Entering play Wednesday, the team boasted 57.8% odds of playing past the regular season.