The only time
But with Ethier expected to return to the lineup Tuesday for the start of a three-game series in San Francisco, Mattingly might have to revisit the potentially divisive issue leading up to the first playoff series of his managerial career.
"Now's not the time to make friends," Mattingly said. "Everybody wants to play and somebody's not going to be happy. You've got to try to do what's best for the whole 25."
Pacifying the players over the last six regular-season games shouldn't be a problem, as most of them could use days off. But come the first game of the Dodgers'
"However it goes, we just have to be ready and cheer your teammates on," Crawford said.
How to manage the outfield won't be the only issue Mattingly and General Manager
Composing the 25-man playoff roster could be an even greater challenge. Some players who have been with the team the entire season could be excluded.
"There'll be guys that probably won't be happy about not being on the roster when it gets down to it," Mattingly said. "There's going to be some guys that have been around awhile and they're all involved, all competitive and all have made big contributions to what we do. But in the shorter setting, shorter number of games, days off, you go a different route."
Mattingly thinks the Dodgers will carry 11 pitchers. Among them will be four starters — presumably,
There appear to be at least five locks in the bullpen: closer
Brandon League was signed to a three-year, $22.5-million contract last winter to be the Dodgers' closer but might not make the postseason roster.
Of the two remaining spots in the bullpen, one could go to reclamation project
If the Dodgers want a long reliever, they could turn to fifth starter
Assembling the six-man bench could also be difficult.
Punto can play shortstop, second base and third base; Schumaker plays second base and all three outfield positions.
The final spots on the bench probably will be taken by two of the following four players:
Young, 36, has played in two
Gordon is the fastest player on the team and could have an impact as a late-game pinch-runner. Questions remain about his defense at shortstop, which is why he has taken ground balls at second base in recent weeks.
Van Slyke is another potential defensive liability but would offer power off the bench. He has hit seven home runs in 123 at-bats.
The odd man out could be Hairston, who won a World Series with the
Some decisions could be influenced by whom the Dodgers face, according to Mattingly. The
"I think everybody knows what's at stake," Mattingly said. "And I think you're hoping that no matter who the choice is that day, that everybody's in for the win. You hope that it's not about them at this point."