When the teams with the two best records in baseball meet in late August, it’s natural to think of it as a postseason preview.
As it turns out, it’s not just fans and media who think that way. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts is viewing his team’s series with the Mets in New York as a potential postseason preview, too, as Jack Harris reports in the Los Angeles Times.
“I’m looking at it as a potential opponent down the road,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “It’s going to be a fun series.”
Last year, the Dodgers had the second-best record in baseball (and in the NL West), one game behind the Giants. Because MLB still hasn’t quite figured out how to run a postseason, those two teams met in the NLDS, which back in the old days of 2021 was the first round of the playoffs. That series gave us all the drama we hoped for, going all five games culminating in a 2-1 Dodgers victory in Game 5.
This year, if the two best records meet up in the playoffs, it will be in the NLCS in a proper seven-game series. By the end of this week, the Dodgers and Mets will have played seven times this season. The two teams split a four-game series in Los Angeles in June, so the winner of this week’s series will also be the winner of the season series.
Of course, regular season matchups don’t always tell you much. In 2017, the Diamondbacks beat the Dodgers six straight games in the last month of the season, only for Los Angeles to sweep Arizona when they met up in the NLDS. And in 1988, the Mets won 10 of 11 games over the Dodgers in the regular season, only for L.A. to win the NLCS in seven games over New York and go on to beat the A’s in the World Series.
But while the regular season isn’t necessarily predictive of the postseason, Roberts is focused on gathering intel for October.
“I think you approach the series different, in the sense that it’s a team you could potentially see in October,” Roberts said. “I try to keep that in my mind when I’m watching tendencies and what guys are doing, to then take what you get to kind of cross-check.”
As Roberts says, any time you get a postseason preview in the regular season, it’s a “fun series.” With these two teams playing as well as they both are, it should be an outstanding three games.
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