During Tuesday’s workout day at Dodger Stadium, President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman took time with SportsNet LA’s John Hartung to assess NLDS competition for Los Angeles.
After the Washington Nationals came from behind to defeat the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Wild Card game, the Dodgers got their first challenge of October.
Now, Friedman focuses on the Nats.
— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) October 2, 2019
Obviously their big 3 starters are as good as it gets. They’ve got 2 guys in the middle of the lineup in [Anthony] Rendon and [Juan] Soto who are as talented as any hitters out there — so just kind of navigating around that… keeping [Trea] Turner and [Adam] Eaton off the bases.
Washington — August and September — has been playing about as well as anybody. They’re a really talented team.. for us, the benefit is that we just kind of get to sit back and wait for them and prepare.
Simple enough, the Nationals have 3 big arms, and the Dodgers have 3 big arms. One important note is that Washington blew through both Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg to get to the NLDS.
On the offensive side for the Nats, the world saw what Juan Soto could do against elite relief pitching. And Rendon is a true difference maker for their lineup, even if he has a lifetime average of only .236 against the Dodgers.
Moreover, Friedman smartly noted the speedy tandem of Turner and Eaton, who combined for 50 stolen bases in 58 chances. Dodger catchers only threw out 21% of base runners in 2019.
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Of course, the LA front office is not looking at this time between the end of the regular season and start of NLDS as an opportunity to rest. At the time of this workout day, it was unknown whether the club would face the Nationals or the Brewers. Friedman shared on what goes on during that time.
Lot of prep. Lot of meetings. It’s a great position we’re in being the number one seed, but preparing for two teams adds a little bit of a challenge.
If the club advances past Washington, one of either the St. Louis Cardinals or Atlanta Braves would be heading to Dodger Stadium next for the NLCS. With that, the brain trust is already hard at work.
Nevertheless, the Nats will have their say versus LA as they look to advance past the NLDS for the first time ever. The two clubs last matched up in postseason play in 2016, with the Dodgers outlasting the Nationals 3-2. In the 2019 season, LA held a 4-3 advantage over Washington.
Finally, the numbers show you what could be a pretty evenly matched series. The Dodgers scored 30 runs in 7 games, and Washington plated 27. Game 1 starts on Thursday.