The Los Angeles Dodgers already clinched the National League West. LA is now focused on catching the Atlanta Braves for the best record in baseball. Doing so would lead to the Dodgers earning home field advantage throughout the 2023 MLB playoffs.
The 2023 postseason will be a challenge for the Dodgers though. Even some of the potential National League Wild Card teams are intimidating opponents. Los Angeles won't have an easy path to the World Series regardless of which route they end up taking. Nevertheless, let's take a look at the Dodgers' nightmare seeding scenario and playoff matchups.
Dodgers' nightmare seeding scenario
Earning the National League's best record would be terrific for LA. There is an argument to be had for the Dodgers wanting to remain as the No. 2 overall seed though.
Los Angeles will have to play either the No. 3 or No. 6 seed in the NLDS if they don't catch Atlanta. The Milwaukee Brewers currently lead the NL Central and would be the No. 3 seed if the season ended today. The Dodgers would have to either play Milwaukee or the No. 6 seed, which would be the Chicago Cubs right now.
Those teams profile as better matchups than possibly taking on the Philadelphia Phillies. Philadelphia, the current leader of the NL Wild Card and No. 4 seed, will battle the No. 5 seed in the Wild Card round. If the Phillies take care of business, then they will advance and play the No. 1 seed, which is the Braves right now.
With all of that being said, there is also a strong argument for wanting the No. 1 position in the National League. Home field advantage is key, especially against the Braves. If both the Dodgers and Braves win in their NLDS series, then LA would benefit from having home field advantage in the NLCS.
In the end, the true nightmare seeding scenario would be failing to clinch the No. 1 seed and having to potentially play the Braves on the road in the NLCS. But there is reason for optimism if LA doesn't clinch the National League's best record.
So who is the Dodgers' nightmare opponent?
LA's nightmare opponent in MLB playoffs
The Braves and Phillies both project to be contenders to reach the World Series. They also happen to be LA's nightmare matchups.
The Dodgers' offense is strong with Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman leading the way. Pitching wise, however, LA has question marks. Meanwhile, the Braves feature a historically-good offense, while the Phillies are also known for their offensive prowess. Both Atlanta and Philadelphia's lineups have the potential to give the Dodgers' current pitching staff fits on the mound.
Is there a preferred matchup between the Braves and Phillies?
Philadelphia would be the better opponent for LA, only because Atlanta has such a balanced roster. The Braves' rotation is sharp, the bullpen gets the job done, and the offense is terrific. Philadelphia's pitching isn't quite as reliable, so the Dodgers' offense could keep them in games.
In the end, LA isn't going to be intimidated by anybody. They believe in their roster and will have a decent chance of reaching the Fall Classic. That said, nothing is going to come easy for this Dodgers ball club. It will be interesting to see if they can catch the Braves and lock up the NL's best record.
The Dodgers currently hold a 93-57 record, while the Braves are 97-54.