The wild card series has finally finished up and it is on to the divisional series. The Los Angeles Dodgers now know that they will be playing the San Diego Padres in the best-of-five divisional series. The Dodgers roster on paper looks like another juggernaut of the team and the odds-on favorite to win the world series. However, every team has its weaknesses, and the Dodgers are no exception. The Dodgers roster has three main weaknesses that can be exploited in this next round of the playoffs.
The Bullpen: Especially the Lack of a Closer
The Dodgers roster has been configured to have no set closer. Many teams have taken this route however the Dodgers might be exploited for this. After losing Kenley Jansen to the Braves this past offseason the Dodgers have not set a specific reliever to take the closer role. They have tried multiple bullpen guys to try and take on the role, yet no one has been very effective.
Craig Kimbrel took over the closing role at the beginning of the season and was taken out of his role after struggling throughout the year. He has a 3.75 earned run average and which is the second-highest of his career. With the Dodgers roster looking the way it is now the Kimbrel trade with the Dodgers did not make an as huge an impact as many thought.
There are multiple options for Dave Robertson to make with the back end of the bullpen after taking Kimbrel out of the closer’s role. Evan Phillips has a 1.14 earned run average with 63 innings pitched. Statistically, he has the best-earned run average with more than 60 innings pitched. However, he is an unknown commodity in the bullpen which can be risky in the postseason. With a hot San Diego Padres team, it will be interesting to see how this Dodgers roster holds up against this high-powered offense.
Which closer would use to win you the World Series?
Starting Pitching Depth
The Dodgers roster has two high-quality arms on their roster that help them in this best-of-five series. Julio Urias and Clayton Kershaw have mediocre stats in the playoffs. Urias has a 3.52 earned run average with a 7-3 record while Kershaw has a 13-12 record with a 4.19 earned run average. Both pitchers are tremendous in the regular season but have had their own struggles in the postseason.
After Kershaw and Urias, there are not a lot of playoff-experienced pitchers behind them on the Dodgers roster Tyler Anderson and Tony Gonsolin have had a terrific season but do not have the postseason stats to back it. Gonsolin has seven appearances in the playoffs with a 9.45 earned run average, while Anderson has two appearances and a 3.86 earned run average. These stats can be troubling because of the lack of consistency in their playoff pitching.
The Padres roster was able to exploit the Mets starting pitching by taking pitches and drawing walks throughout the roster. They also have been able to have a lot of pop come off their bats with Trent Grisham especially heating up. With the way the Padres starters are pitching it makes it much more difficult to keep up with making the starting pitching depth an issue on this Dodgers roster.
Streaky Positioned Player Hitting
The Dodgers roster has a starting lineup that makes it difficult for any pitcher to navigate. Mookie Betts, Trea Turner, and Freddie Freeman at the top of the order always seem to get on base. The bottom half of their lineup has been tricky.
Two specific players that have really struggled this year have been Max Muncy and Cody Bellinger. Both players have been hitting well below .210. That would not be much of a concern if they were hitting for power which they are not. Combined the two of them have 40 home runs on the season. The playoffs are a funny thing where both players can become scorching hot and help lead the Dodgers to another world series championship.
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The Dodgers roster is equipped to make a deep run with this team. However, they do have flaws that make them more vulnerable than in years past. It will be interesting to see if the Padres can use what they have learned by playing them during the regular season to propel them to the NLCS.
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