After consecutive series against the Colorado Rockies and San Diego Padres, two clubs buried in the National League West standings, the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday began a stretch where they will face three clubs with postseason aspirations.
Up first is a four-game set against the St. Louis Cardinals, and later this month the Dodgers will face the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park from Aug. 16-18, then host the New York Yankees during Players Weekend (Aug. 23-25).
The Dodgers began the stretch with an 8-0 rout of the Cardinals, as Tony Gonsolin fired six scoreless innings and Cody Bellinger and Joc Pederson each hit a home run.
“I think you know that it’s a potential playoff series and you take that for what it is,” Bellinger answered when asked if the series with the Cardinals carries any added significance. “Still August, but you know you could see these guys down the road.”
Justin Turner added: “We talked about it. These next two weeks, we have these guys, Atlanta and the Yankees, who are all playoff teams. Definitely aware of it but I don’t think you try harder or do anything different.
“Just kind of pay a little bit more attention to some of the details, knowing that there’s a chance we could see these guys in October.”
Although the Cardinals went into the series opener at Dodger Stadium having lost two consecutive games, they were not far removed from a hot stretch that vaulted them into the top spot for the NL Wild Card Game.
As it stands, the Dodgers are tracking to host the Wild Card winner in the NL Division Series, which begins Thursday, Oct. 2. Though, manager Dave Roberts doesn’t believe the Cardinals series — or any other — is much of a measuring stick for the Dodgers.
“I don’t think so. For us, most times how we look at it is, you’re kind of playing against yourself,” he said. “Obviously, there’s a different opponent every night but when we take good at-bats, when we play defense, run the bases well, pitch well, I’ll take our chances against anybody.
“So I don’t think that any team is a barometer for us. I think we kind of set the bar.”