The Dodgers clinched a playoff berth with a win over the Giants on Saturday, but Los Angeles still isn’t a lock to participate in a postseason series. Entering play on Sunday, the Dodgers and Rockies were tied atop the NL West. In the event Colorado wins the division, which may come down to a one-game tiebreaker between the teams on Monday, LA would have to get through the wild-card one-off on Tuesday in order to reach the NLDS. Ace Clayton Kershaw wouldn’t start that do-or-die contest, given that he just tossed five innings Saturday. So, because Kershaw could opt out of the remaining two years and $65MM left on his contract after the season, it’s possible Saturday’s start will go down as his last with the Dodgers. Kershaw was asked about his opt-out Saturday, but as you’d expect, his focus is on the playoffs. “I mean – I can’t really give an answer because I don’t know what’s ahead,” he told Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. “I know we’ve got the playoffs ahead. It’s a good distraction. If we weren’t making the playoffs, I probably would have put a lot more thought into where we’re going and what I’m doing personally. But right now, I can’t do it. There’s not enough room up there (in his mind) for both.”
More on a couple other NL clubs..
- This season will end up as a major disappointment for the Nationals, who entered as expected contenders but will miss the playoffs under first-year manager Dave Martinez. Nevertheless, Martinez and his staff are safe going into the offseason, general manager Mike Rizzo told Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com and other reporters on Sunday. It’s anyone’s guess whether Martinez will continue to manage superstar outfielder Bryce Harper, a pending free agent, in 2019. Unsurprisingly, though, Rizzo wants Harper to remain in the fold. “Of course he’s in our plans,” Rizzo said of Harper (Twitter link via Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post).
- It’s a near certainty the Reds will have Joe Girardi on their wish list as they search for a full-time manager, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (video link). If Cincinnati does pursue Girardi, the former Marlins and Yankees skipper informed Rosenthal he would consider taking the job. “I want to manage again. I’m interested in everything,” said Girardi, whom the Yankees parted with last fall after a long and successful run in New York. On paper, the rebuilding Reds and Girardi may not look like a match, though it’s worth noting they expect to spend more in 2019 and could attempt to start pushing toward contention.
- The Reds’ 2019 manager will have to decide how to deploy righty Michael Lorenzen, a reliever who could vie for a starting role next season. Lorenzen started 21 times as a rookie in 2015, but he moved to a full-time relief job the next season. He has since made three starts, all of which came this season, and ended his year on Saturday with 5 2/3 scoreless innings against the Pirates. The 26-year-old then said (via Mark Sheldon of MLB.com) that he wants to return to starting on a full-time basis. “It’s not a secret that it’s something I want to do,” said Lorenzen, who added he’ll “work extremely hard” in the offseason to bolster his chances. Lorenzen was a valuable member of the Reds’ staff in 2018, as he posted a 3.11 ERA/4.18 FIP over 81 innings. He also did his best offensively to serve as the NL’s answer to Shohei Ohtani, hitting an excellent .286/.333/.750 with four home runs in 31 trips.