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Dodgers will be juggling agendas down the stretch

first_img How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies BALTIMORE — The champagne has been sprayed. The beer flowed. A seventh consecutive National League West title was secured and celebrated.So – now what?The Dodgers have been confronted with this challenge before. How do you juggle agendas over the season’s final 2-1/2 weeks? Rest front-line players enough to be ready for the postseason – but not too much. Line up the starting rotation, make decisions on the bullpen and bench. And, oh yeah, secure home-field advantage if you can.“I think it’s finding a balance between winning games and making sure guys are in the best position going into October,” Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said. “The good thing is our second line is also good. And that helps.” Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start The Dodgers went into Thursday night’s game three games up on the Atlanta Braves for the best record in the National League but trailing both the New York Yankees and Houston Astros for the best record overall.“Home-field (advantage) is huge,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “To try to obtain it at any cost, that’s a bigger discussion. But it’s at the forefront of all our minds to have home-field advantage, 100 percent.”How far will the Dodgers go to secure that for the postseason? “Just short of all-in,” Roberts said, backing away from an aggressively-phrased question.“I think it’s certainly very important considering how we’ve played at home,” he said, mindful of the Dodgers’ 56-20 record at home (second in the majors to the Astros’ 56-19 (going into their game Thursday). “But there’s still a cost in everything, and I think the main thing is keeping guys healthy, keeping guys sharp, and not trying to ‘red line’ just to win by any means necessary. If we play to our potential, that should take care of itself.”At the top of the agenda over the final 15 games, Roberts said, would be “structure and roles” in the bullpen.center_img Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season The overall winner will be selected from the 30 team nominees by a panel including MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and a fan vote at www.mlb.com/clemente21. Jansen will be recognized before the Dodgers’ game next Wednesday.ALSOLeft-hander Scott Alexander underwent nerve decompression surgery on his left forearm to address an issue that was causing numbness in his hand. Alexander has not pitched since June 5. In 28 appearances for the Dodgers this season, he was 3-2 with a 3.63 ERA. He is expected to be fully recovered for spring training next year. …In order to activate Rich Hill from the 60-day Injured List on Thursday, the Dodgers designated right-hander Jaime Schultz for assignment, clearing a 40-man roster spot. Schultz spent most of the season in Triple-A but made four appearances with the Dodgers, allowing four runs and six hits in five innings.UP NEXTDodgers (LHP Clayton Kershaw, 13-5, 3.06 ERA) at Mets (RHP Noah Syndergaard, 10-7, 4.06 ERA), Friday, 4:10 p.m. SportsNet LA (where available), 570 AM. “I’d say that’s probably at the top – how we’re going to use guys,” he said. “Now that Julio (Urias) is back on line, Kenta (Maeda) is back on line. Their two roles will be more defined as far as like a regular bullpen guy, not necessarily a long guy. Strip (Ross Stripling) will make a start on Tuesday but after that will kind of fall into the regular bullpen stream. Seeing Dustin (May) potentially come into an inning, not a clean inning. Tony (Gonsolin) is coming out of the bullpen tonight, but going forward we’ll see him in more of a regular bullpen role.“Those are things we need to see.”Roberts said those being considered for a bullpen role will need to pitch on back-to-back days, come in mid-inning – things that will be required during the postseason.“Not pitching four innings and being down four days. Those kinds of things – which plays more into a playoff situation,” he said.TURNER SPRAINThird baseman Justin Turner underwent an MRI on his injured left ankle Thursday which confirmed the diagnosis of a mild ankle sprain, according to Roberts.Turner has been sidelined since leaving Saturday’s game for a pinch-runner in the eighth inning. Roberts said Turner’s return to the lineup would be “per his tolerance” of the pain in his ankle.“He still has discomfort. So I guess it’s just a case of being day-to-day,” Roberts said. “Today I would say he’s unavailable and we’ll revisit it tomorrow.“With a sprain, time heals it. What that timeline is is to be determined.”Turner won’t be in the starting lineup on Friday, but Roberts would not rule him out of the entire series against the Mets.CLEMENTE AWARDCloser Kenley Jansen was named the Dodgers’ nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award this season.The Clemente Award recognizes a player on each team who “best represents the game of baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions both on and off the field.”Related Articles Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

Guardiola fears City title collapse despite 13-point lead

first_imgGuardiola fears City title collapseManchester, United Kingdom | AFP | Manager Pep Guardiola has made the extraordinary suggestion that runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City could suffer a stunning collapse — even though they could be confirmed as champions this weekend if results go their way.City are 13 points clear at the top with six matches to play and could finish the weekend with their third title in seven seasons.They will take the Premier League crown if they beat Tottenham at Wembley on Saturday and second-placed Manchester United lose against West Bromwich Albion on Sunday, although Albion increasingly look condemned to relegation. However, Guardiola’s side are seeking to recover from three dispiriting defeats in a row, having gone out of the Champions League after losing home and away against Liverpool in the quarter-finals, and sandwiched in between they missed the opportunity to clinch the title when United pulled off a 3-2 win last weekend.City were two up in the Manchester derby before Paul Pogba inspired a United comeback, scoring twice in the second half.Guardiola is concerned about the psychological effect of those three losses on his players as they look to secure the trophy, and warned they could still falter.“Of course it can happen, I assure you,” said Guardiola. Guardiola cited two examples of high-profile sporting collapses when examining his own team’s prospects -– Real Madrid’s miserable finish to the 2003-04 La Liga season, and Golden State Warriors’ failure to win the NBA finals in 2016.center_img The Warriors lost 4-3 to the Cleveland Cavaliers despite leading 3-1 with three matches to play, while Madrid managed to finish fourth in La Liga 14 years ago, having held an eight-point lead at the top with 12 matches to play.“Real Madrid, years ago, lost five games in a row and didn’t win the league. So of course it can happen, no doubts about that,” Guardiola said.“The players know that. It’s not necessary to say that to them. Of course it can happen –- in football, in sports.“Two years ago, never before, in the NBA finals one team recovered from 3-1 down. Cavaliers won against Golden State Warriors 4-3. They won three games in a row.”Share on: WhatsApp Pages: 1 2last_img read more