Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Hernández: Dodgers keep excellent in postseason, however their ominous nearer scenario looms

The Dodgers are one of the best crew within the Nationwide League, however that alone doesn’t at all times translate to a spot within the World Sequence.

Which is why the opposite a part of their October odyssey is vital.

Luck is on their facet.

They continued their postseason stampede Thursday night time by overwhelming the division rival San Diego Padres, their 12-3 victory at Globe Life Discipline in Arlington, Texas, finishing a sweep of their NL Division Sequence.

The Dodgers ran their postseason document to 5-0, with two wins coming in opposition to a Milwaukee Brewers membership that was one of many least-worthy playoff groups in baseball historical past and the final three in opposition to an injury-depleted Padres squad that didn’t have the pitching to compete with them.

The triumphs have been extra perfunctory than noteworthy, besides in a single regard: They may enter the NL Championship Sequence in opposition to the Atlanta Braves with the justification to take away Kenley Jansen as their nearer.

A day after Jansen almost threw away a three-run lead in Sport 2 of this NLDS, supervisor Dave Roberts was requested if he may nonetheless be trusted in high-leverage conditions.

Roberts replied, “I’m not going to make that call but.”

That was manager-speak for no.

The Dodgers can’t depend upon Jansen to shut right here, they’ll’t depend upon him to shut there, they’ll’t depend upon him to shut anyplace.

That a lot is obvious.

Truly, that was already the case final 12 months, which is why the franchise’s all-time saves chief was relegated to a mopup function in an elimination loss to the Washington Nationals.

The Dodgers ought to have made the demotion everlasting over the winter, however they avoided doing so.

Julio Urías has the arm and the abdomen to shut, however the Dodgers remained dedicated to creating him as a starter.

Blake Treinen, who was signed as a free agent, was mainly a $10-million reclamation challenge. Brusdar Graterol, who was acquired in a commerce with the Minnesota Twins, had solely 10 video games of main league expertise.

Andrew Friedman wasn’t about to wager his good standing together with his bosses on both of them, particularly when his bosses had been nonetheless chargeable for the ultimate two years of Jansen’s $80-million contract.

So, the uncomfortable scenario carried into this 12 months, virtually definitely with the Dodgers figuring they may substitute Jansen over the 162-game common season if vital.

The COVID-19 pandemic modified all the pieces.

The common season was shortened from sixth months to 2, giving the Dodgers much less time to make a extremely emotional transfer.

Jansen by no means appeared proper this season, as opponents appeared to ceaselessly barrel up his signature cutter, however he transformed his first seven save alternatives and registered an ERA of 0.77 in his first 13 video games. He recovered from a midseason stoop and didn’t hand over any runs during the last two weeks of the common season.

When the postseason began, he was nonetheless the nearer.

The Dodgers appeared as if they might pay for his or her indecision over the offseason.

The primary two rounds of those playoffs might need spared them. Jansen’s diminished velocity in opposition to the Brewers within the wild-card spherical was alarming, a lot in order that Roberts mentioned that whereas Jansen was nonetheless the nearer, that didn’t imply the ninth inning was his.

The second sport of the collection in opposition to the Padres gave the Dodgers the excuse to make a clear break.

With the Dodgers forward by three runs, Jansen entered the sport within the ninth inning. He departed with two outs, a runner on first and the lead down to at least one.

The erratic Joe Kelly was referred to as on to document the ultimate out, one thing he did after strolling Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado to load the bases.

As scary as that ninth inning was, the fact was that it couldn’t have unfolded any higher for the Dodgers.

The sorts of video games that price closers their jobs are usually painful defeats. The Dodgers had been supplied with the proof required to make a change with out dropping a sport.

This may assist them as they transfer ahead.

Issues stay, nonetheless. They don’t have a clear-cut alternative. Treinen has days when he can’t throw strikes. Graterol doesn’t miss sufficient bats.

With none days off scheduled within the NLCS, Urías most likely will likely be required to begin, or pitch the majority of the innings of a selected sport, as he did Thursday.

However the Dodgers will no less than be freed from their long-standing obligation to name on Jansen to document the ultimate outs. This can be a victory for them, arguably extra invaluable than any of the 5 video games they’ve gained up to now.

Hernández reported from Los Angeles

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