Dodgers playoff tickets are now available, but there are another nine games left in the regular season. What to do in the meantime?
Here are five things Dodgers fans can do between now and the end of the regular season on Sept. 29:
1. Watch the standings.
The Dodgers will play any of four teams in the first round (assuming the Washington Nationals fall out one of these days). Their opponent might not be decided until the last day of the regular season.
Maybe the easiest way to keep track of the possible first-round matchups is via MLB.com, which has organized the bracket into a straightforward if-the-playoffs-began-today-type interface.
2. Don’t worry about momentum.
Statistically speaking, “finishing the season strong” is utterly meaningless.
3. Watch for costly mistakes.
They could be, you know, costly in a playoff game.
J-Hair was visibly pissed at Puig. That was before Hanley's 3-run HR
Jerry Hairston seemed quite upset at Yasiel Puig for not getting a better read on that bloop, but Hanley makes everyone forget it
— Mark Saxon (@markasaxon) September 19, 2013
4. Buy playoff tickets.
Tickets are now available through the Dodgers’ website for all three playoff rounds. There are already a few floating around on StubHub (link at right).
5. Monitor the outfielders.
Puig has been bothered by a sore hip and Carl Crawford by a bad back. Andre Ethier just got his left ankle out of a boot, and his next game will be his first since Sept. 13. Matt Kemp is the most healthy of the bunch but, arguably, has the most to prove. (He’s had 24 major-league plate appearances since July 5.) And Don Mattingly can’t start all four until the World Series.
In what will be the most-watched player personnel decision in Game 1, one of these outfielders must sit. There’s a chance that Mattingly has already decided who will sit if all four are healthy, but therein lies the rub: Since Puig made his debut on June 3, all four have been healthy at the start of a game twice. And each of those games ended with one player injured. It’s as if the baseball gods are having sympathy on Mattingly, making his managerial playoff debut easier by making the most difficult decision on his behalf.