The Los Angeles Dodgers won 100 games during the regular season en route to another National League West title and a first-round bye in the playoffs.
That gave the Dodgers five days off before returning to the field for an NL Division Series matchup against the Arizona Diamondbacks, who advanced after sweeping the Milwaukee Brewers in the Wild Card round.
The Dodgers kept busy by holding workouts and intrasquad games at Dodger Stadium. However, the layoff proved to be detrimental as L.A. was swept by Arizona in three games.
“I can’t answer that without having done the other one,” Max Muncy said when asked if he would rather play in a Wild Card Series or have off days before starting in the NLDS.
“So for us, this is the second year we’ve had this format. We’ve been off both times. I don’t know what it’s like on the other side, so I can’t really answer that question fairly.
“I could say that, yeah, we’d rather be playing right away or not. But the reality is if you have the days off, you’re one of the top seeds and you have home-field advantage.
“And really when you think about it, that’s the most important thing. But I can’t give you a fair answer because we haven’t done the other side.”
Max Muncy: Dodgers weren’t dissuaded to secure first-round bye
The Dodgers joined the Atlanta Braves Baltimore Orioles as top division winners that were eliminated in the Division Series round.
The current MLB postseason format was introduced last season and has now seen four of five teams that won at least 100 games eliminated early.
“No, I don’t. That goes back to what I was saying earlier, that the best team on paper doesn’t win in this game,” Muncy answered when asked if the playoff format disincentivizes clubs that earn a first-round bye.
“Throughout the course of a year, that might be the case. But in the playoffs, it’s the team that plays the best and the team that gets the hottest and the team that executes their game plan the best. That’s one of the wonderful things about the postseason.
“I think back to 2018, for us, we were clearly not the best team in that playoff, yet we made it to the World Series because we executed what we needed to do. And every year that’s what you see.
“The teams that are winning are the teams that they get hot. They have guys get big hits in the right moments, and it’s not always the best players that are getting those hits. That’s the beauty of the postseason. It’s also the beauty of this game in general.
“We have Freddie and Mookie obviously, but it might come down to someone else. You might look at a David Peralta or an Austin Barnes to get a huge hit in a big moment and that’s going to change the game.
“To me, I don’t think it’s a disincentive. I think you’ve just got to get hot at the right time, and that’s really all the postseason is all about.”
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