As the Dodgers get ready for a four game series with the Diamondbacks, we ask the question: Is the team going to be more prepared for the playoffs than they were in 2014, or is 2015 just a repeat of 2014? Last year, the team was beset with injuries, to the point where Skip Schumaker was playing center field in the playoffs. Not good. This year, Chris Heisey (who was Designated for Assignment, and left the team earlier this year) is back in the outfield during September. Last year, Clayton Kershaw could not win games against the Cardinals, because the only trustworthy reliever in the bullpen was Kenley Jansen. This year, the Dodgers have struggled all year to determine who else besides Kenley Jansen is trustworthy in the bullpen.
The Dodgers ran a nice 13-2 record from August 25th through September 8th, but are just 5-5 since then. Will they be able to clinch the division before they travel to AT&T Park for a four game set with the Giants? Or will we go into that Giant Series wondering whether the Dodgers will even be in the playoffs? The recent lineups handed out by Don Mattingly leave me wondering about that. Perhaps it is due to real injuries. Perhaps he is resting vital players, getting them ready for the playoffs. Perhaps he is giving valuable experience to the current best hitter on the team, Corey Seager.
Whatever Mattingly is doing, we are still left wondering who will answer the bell? The bell tolling for leaders to take charge of winning now and in the playoffs. Kershaw, Greinke, and Jansen will certainly answer the bell. Andre Ethier will answer the bell, but only if he is given the opportunity. Questions remain about most of the rest of them, including Rollins (phantom injury?), Gonzalez (anemic bat of late, injury?), Turner (no bat since injury), Pederson (the struggling rookie), Van Slyke(cyst), Hatcher, JP Howell, Baez, Garcia, etc, etc, etc.