I know there’s Dodger baseball tonight, and tomorrow, and the next day. But is there, really?
Don’t get me wrong: I’m thrilled that the Dodgers have locked the division up early enough that this three-game set against a wretched Colorado team doesn’t have to mean anything. That’s wonderful. That’s outstanding. That’s how you want it to be. I’m glad these games are home, because this weekend is going to feel like a well-deserved celebration, as it should be, because this team has earned that.
But of course, there’s games that don’t mean anything, and then there’s these. Barring a miracle on several fronts, the Dodgers are going to be the No. 2 seed, kicking off the NLDS at home next Friday against the Cardinals, probably, or maybe the Pirates. They don’t have to try that hard to get home field for that series, and even if they did, home field doesn’t really matter all that much in the playoffs, at least not nearly as much as fans think it does. (Other things that don’t matter that much: momentum and previous playoff experience.) The Dodgers somehow ended up with the best road record in baseball, anyway. Either way, nothing that happens this weekend will change the fact that they’ll open up at home.
Which means: Prepare yourself for some hilarious baseball this weekend. I imagine we’ll see Joc Pederson finally get a start or two for the first time in three weeks. I wouldn’t be surprised if A.J. Ellis, Drew Butera, and Tim Federowicz all got a start behind the plate. Maybe Alex Guerrero will finally get his first major league start, with it being a coin flip as to whether that’s in left field or at second base. Maybe Andre Ethier will get some playing time. Ha, no, that’d never happen. Maybe Don Mattingly will let a player manage the final game, as Joe Torre used to do when it didn’t matter, and I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that it would be fun to see Ellis get a head start on his inevitable managerial career. (I don’t believe Mattingly did that last year, though. But Michael Young did get to start at shortstop. That was… fun? And then seemingly minutes after the final out, we learned Matt Kemp wouldn’t be joining the team in the playoffs. Ugh.)
Then, of course, after the Rockies series ends on Sunday, the Dodgers have four days off before their first game. There’s no baseball Monday — unless a tiebreaker needs to be played — then the wild card games are Tuesday (AL) and Wednesday (NL), and the ALDS kicks off on Thursday. That does make for a long time between meaningful Dodger games. It’s better than the alternative, unquestionably. It’s just a lot of time to fill before we get to see a team that’s been a ton of fun to watch play some real ball again.