Dodgers mull roster while waiting to learn NLDS opponent

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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Dodgers' work in getting to the postseason is done. They racked up their fifth consecutive NL West title and were baseball's best team with 104 victories. Now, they must wait to find out their opponent.

Whoever it is -- either Arizona or Colorado -- both had winning records against the Dodgers this season. Those teams will play Wednesday night in the NL wild-card game in Phoenix, with the Dodgers watching closely.

Manager Dave Roberts said Tuesday night that his team is "a very confident group" heading into Friday's playoff opener at Dodger Stadium.

The Dodgers clinched home-field advantage throughout the postseason, having gone 57-24 at Chavez Ravine during the regular season.

Roberts said his team has done everything possible to put itself in position to win it all and "now it's up to us to finish it."

While they wait, the Dodgers will have workouts on Wednesday and Thursday as the front office mulls the 25-man playoff roster.

Roberts said separate rosters are being worked up depending on whether the Rockies or Diamondbacks are the opponent in the National League Division Series. Neither is drastically different.

"It's the quandary or the challenge when you have a lot of good players," Roberts said on a teleconference. "Ultimately, it comes down to matchups."

Besides the active roster, the Dodgers will have a smaller taxi squad that will travel. A group at camp in Arizona will participate in simulated games, throw and take at-bats so they're ready at any time. First baseman Adrian Gonzalez, shut down for the season with a bad back, will be part of the taxi squad.

"With his history and experience, he's only going to help with the team," Roberts said.

Among those up in the air for a spot on the active roster are outfielders Andre Ethier and Joc Pederson and reliever Pedro Baez, who struggled through a tough stretch late in the season.

Roberts is also considering Alex Wood or Hyun-Jin Ryu as the third left-handed starter behind ace Clayton Kershaw (who starts Friday) and Rich Hill (who starts Game 2 on Saturday).

"I don't know if Ryu is going to be in the pen," Roberts said. "He's obviously uncomfortable in that role, having only done it once. Ryu is either going to be a starter or not on the roster. Wood has obviously done both roles. He's earned the opportunity to get a long look as a starter."

The Dodgers enter the postseason mostly healthy. They regrouped after losing 11 in a row and 16 of 17 last month, and then cruised to the division title.

Still, Los Angeles begins another October not having appeared in the World Series since 1988, also the last time the franchise won the title.

"When you play for the Dodgers and you haven't won in a while and you've won the division five years in a row and haven't gotten the ring, it's a challenge we all have to embrace," Roberts said. "You can't run from it."

Since the wild card began in 1995, the team with the best record has won the World Series just five times.

"Right now we've got a good feeling in our clubhouse," Roberts said. "There's a good positive energy and focus."


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