Rest or Rust?

When the Dodgers completed their three-game sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2017 National League Division Series on Monday night, two thing immediately became crystal clear:

1) Game-1 of the 2017 National League Championship Series will be played on Saturday, October 14 at Dodger Stadium against either the Washington Nationals or the Chicago Cubs.

2) Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw will have gone a full eight days between starts, something that he almost never does and something that he absolutely despises.

Oh sure, the soon-to-be four-time NL Cy Young award winner and future Hall of Famer will have one (or more) bullpen sessions and more than likely a simulated game between now and Saturday, but let’s be honest here, a bullpen session or sim game in nothing like actual live-game action, not by any stretch of the imagination.

A huge part of Kershaw’s pre-game routine is his long toss session, which is a breathtaking sight to behold.
(Photo credit – Ron Cervenka)

But aside from having a significant effect on the Dodgers starting rotation and even on the bullpen, a four-day layoff between games isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it’s actually a very good thing.

There isn’t a player on the Dodgers 25-man or even their 40-man roster who doesn’t have some sort of ache or pain, or bump or bruise after a grueling regular season and recently concluded division series, not one. And with a minimum of eight games left to play before (hopefully) reaching that elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow (and probably more than eight games), this four day layoff (eight for Kershaw) could mean the difference between a World Series ring or being a soon-forgotten World Series runner-up. (Quick … who played the Giants in the 2012 World Series? – See what I mean?).

When looking at significant Dodger injuries over the final three or four weeks of the regular season, it’s hard not to think about Corey Seager‘s ailing left elbow, or Justin Turner‘s still sore right thumb, or Yasiel Puig appearing to have re-aggravated an old hamstring injury while running out a grounder in his first at-bat on Monday night even though he remained in the game for the full nine. And these are just the known injuries and ailments. Heaven knows there are numerous other health concerns of varying degrees up and down the Dodgers lineup, and a couple of extra days off could be a huge factor against the eventual winner of the other National League Division Series.

Dodgers All-Star third baseman Justin Turner had to leave the game against the Phillies on September 21 after being hit by a pitch on his right hand. It’s probably safe to say that the soon-to-be 33-year-old Dodgers third baseman can use a couple extra days off this week.
(Photo credit – Bill Streicher)

That being said, and as much as we all detest it, you can bet that one or more national (non-Dodger) radio and/or television broadcaster will jump – absolutely jump – on the rest-or-rust bandwagon at the first miscue by a Dodger player or a rough outing by a Dodger pitcher.

…because that’s what (non-Dodger) radio and/or television broadcasters do.


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One Response to “Rest or Rust?”

  1. CruzinBlue says:

    I like your take on the Dodgers present conundrum; it’s a good place to be in right now, that’s for certain. But there’s two sides to this argument; a subject that’s been heatedly discussed through the years. No matter which side one takes, whether we like it or not, there’s really no right or wrong answer. Each side has its positives and negatives.

    But to your point, I really like the Dodgers chances right now in getting their aches and pains a few more days to heal. This team will emerge on the other side of Friday ready to compete and leave it all on the field. The short rest won’t bother this team in the least. One look no further than July when the Dodgers came out of the All-Star break winning 16 of 20 and never looked back. But the network broadcasters like to sensationalize every little detail to fit their narrative. So when the Dodgers win the NLCS, get ready for their narrative to include how “un-rested” the other team was entering this series. And you can take that one to the bank.

    Go Dodgers!!

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