After an extremely eventful National League Division Series against the Washington Nationals, the Dodgers will face the league’s best, in the Chicago Cubs. Dave Roberts navigated through his roster in many different ways every game and it paid off for him. Although the team was able to advance, there are possible changes that can be made to the roster. Different areas of the roster thrived, while others needed an obvious improvement.
The Dodgers bullpen was a strong point throughout a great portion of the NLDS, but they showed they had a weakness. In game 4, Luis Avilan was unable to come in and get the job done in the 7th inning. Grant Dayton entered game 5 in the 7th inning and promptly walked Espinosa, then followed by allowing former Dodger, Chris Heisey, to take him deep.
This could mean two things:
- Dayton and Avilan are unable to handle high pressure situations.
- The Dodgers are lacking another left-handed pitcher they can pull from the bullpen.
If it is one, or both, bringing another lefty on board would be a great deal of help for the Dodgers.
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While J.P. Howell was a member of the Dodgers bullpen all season, he struggled in what was his worst year as a Dodger. This could lead to Alex Wood leap frogging over him in the pecking order of the Dodgers bullpen options. After a rough April, Wood turned it up, pitching very well until his injury. Once he returned, he pitched four scoreless innings out of the Dodger bullpen in September.
In order for either one of Wood or Howell to be added to the roster, someone must be dropped. If Roberts would like to have three lefties out of the pen, the odd man out would have to be Josh Fields or Ross Stripling.
Another possible arm that the Dodgers could add is starting pitcher Brock Stewart. Last week, you would have never thought that he would be in this conversation. But with the Dodgers doing some serious damage to their starting rotation over the last few days, it does not seem as far-fetched.
Moving along to the position players, it does not look like there will be any changes. Roberts has put together a great balance of both righties and lefties. He has done a great job with matching men up mid-game, and it has paid dividends. Rob Segedin has been traveling with the team in case of injury, but there does not seem to be a definitive place for him to be of use on the roster.
Austin Barnes getting the nod as the last man on the bench looked to be very questionable at the time the decision was made. It turns out that the decision to have him on the roster was an extremely smart one. It gives Roberts the ability to use the bat of Ruiz in any situation because he has the insurance of a very versatile player in Barnes.
Charlie Culberson got the job as the backup middle infielder over Kiké Hernandez and even got the start against Gio Gonzalez on Monday. Roberts has shown his faith in Culberson time and time again, using him in big games (mainly for his elite defense). It would be hard to see Kiké coming back to the 25-man roster in any sort of capacity.
Roberts knows how to work his way around this Dodgers roster in almost every situation. There is always moves to make though, as he is learning new things after every series so it would not be a surprise to see him make another tough decision. It would not be shocking to see a new face on the Dodgers 25-man roster come Friday. Check back on Friday for the latest Dodgers News
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