Now that they’ve clinched, next task is defining playoff roles – Orange County Register

LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers went back to work Saturday, with the smell of champagne lingering in the air inside their clubhouse and the carpet still damp less than 24 hours after they celebrated their fifth consecutive National League West title on Friday.

They faced the San Francisco Giants in the second game of a three-game series at Dodger Stadium. They also faced the task of sorting out roles for several players in preparation of the playoffs, now a reality after a nerve-jangling stretch of games that included a 1-16 skid.

Left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu might be headed to the bullpen for the postseason, with Manager Dave Roberts having already said right-hander Kenta Maeda is definitely going there. First baseman Adrian Gonzalez could make the playoff roster in a reserve role. Outfielder Andre Ethier is ticketed for that job, too.

Ryu made what could be his final start of 2017 on Saturday against the Giants. Maeda was scheduled to watch from the dugout and then shift to the bullpen for the duration of the Dodgers season. Roberts said it was important to get Maeda acclimated as quickly as possible.

“I think it does make sense that if anyone is going to be in that role, they should go through that process and practice it,” Roberts said. “I completely understand that we are running out of time. I think part of it (the bullpen’s makeup) is the potential opponent.

“We don’t know who the opponent is going to be.”

The Dodgers will learn their opponent for their best-of-5 NL Division Series soon enough. They’ll open the NLDS on Oct. 6 at Dodger Stadium. In the meantime, they had eight games, including Saturday, to try to figure out how their lineup, starting rotation and bullpen might look for the postseason.

“Right now we’re pretty set on some positions and some spots in the bullpen,” Roberts said. “We have some that we have to figure out.”


Third baseman Justin Turner sat out for the second consecutive game because of a sore thumb suffered when he was struck by a ball in a victory Thursday over the Phillies in Philadelphia. Turner, who was also too sick to play Friday, said he felt better Saturday than Friday, but wasn’t sound enough to play.

Roberts said he hoped Turner could play Sunday and, if not, then Monday.

“He’s still trying to get his strength back and it doesn’t feel great,” Roberts said. “The thumb is still tender. With Justin, I don’t know how many at-bats he’s going to need to get ready for…

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