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Start times announced for Dodgers' opening two playoff games

Seems they’re going to announce the starting times for the playoffs incrementally, but at least the Dodgers now know the times for their first two games at home.

Both games are at Dodger Stadium, with Friday’s opener in the division series against the Cardinals scheduled to start at 3:37 p.m. -- that's right, Clayton Kershaw and Adam Wainwright pitching in the shadows -- and Game 2 on Saturday at 6:37 p.m.

The opener will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1. Yep, that’s right, boys and girls, the Dodgers will be on TV the rest of the way. It’s kind of a rectangular-shaped thing. Saturday's Game 2 is scheduled to be carried by the MLB Network.

Of course, this means you’re going to have to finally figure out where Fox’s new all-sports cable channel actually is on your listings guide.

The Angels start a day earlier, though their times are an either/or proposition depending on whether Oakland or Kansas City wins the wild-card playoff game.

If Kansas City wins, the Angels will host Game 1 Thursday...

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Dodgers believe they have unfinished business

It’s the standard observation about devastating loss: You let it crush and define you, or inspire you to greater heights.

The Dodgers are a team built to win it all. Of course they were last year, too, and fell in six games to the Cardinals in the National League Championship Series with Clayton Kershaw on the mound.

Now here they are again, ready to start this year’s postseason Friday in the division series against the Cardinals, still built to win but stinging from last year’s disappointment.

A division winner with much greater ambition.

“You come [to] spring training with this ball club and who you are, you feel like this is the first step of what you want to accomplish,” said catcher A. J. Ellis. “There is that feeling of unfinished business.”

The core of this team was here last season. There may be only a handful of players on the postseason roster who are different from 2014, leaving a majority who remember well how that ended.

“Most of this team was here a year ago,” said...

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Dodgers' Adrian Gonzalez leads majors in RBIs

Seven times, Adrian Gonzalez has driven in 100 or more runs.

But the season just completed is the first in which the four-time all-star has led the league in runs batted in.

Gonzalez blasted a three-run home run in the Dodgers’ regular-season finale Sunday, raising his season RBI total to 116.

That not only topped the National League, but the majors.

“It’s cool,” Gonzalez said. “It’s what I’m here for. Being able to get that title is a cool accomplishment.”

Gonzalez finished five RBIs ahead of Mike Trout of the Angels and 11 ahead of NL runner-up Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins.

“When you’re a kid, you dream of being the home-run hitter, the RBI hitter, the batting-title champ and all that stuff, so it’s cool,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez batted .276 with a team-leading 27 home runs and 41 doubles.

Told he could one day tell his children he beat Trout at something, Gonzalez smiled and replied, “I can tell my kids I beat Miguel Cabrera at something.”

Cabrera finished with 109 RBIs.

“He took...

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Magic Johnson thinks Dodgers will be on TV next year

Dodgers minority owner Magic Johnson said he is confident a majority of local households will be able to watch his team’s games on television next season.

“I think we’re going to be on TV next season,” Johnson said Sunday. “I really do.”

The Dodgers’ network, SportsNet LA, was unavailable in 70% of local households as Time Warner Cable was unable to reach a distribution agreement with DirecTV and other providers.

Comcast is in the process of taking over Time Warner; AT&T is doing the same with DirecTV. Johnson thinks a deal can be struck once the mergers have been completed.

Johnson pointed to how fans responded when the Dodgers’ final six games were aired on KDOC.

“They saw the response of the fans when they were on TV and how everybody tuned in to see the Dodgers,” Johnson said.

Johnson said that at one point, he reached out to DirecTV.

“I asked them, ‘Can we do anything to make this deal happen because our fans are suffering?’” Johnson said. “They felt they had a good proposal on the table...

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Dodgers to face St. Louis Cardinals in NLDS, with first game Friday

The Dodgers will open the postseason against the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Dodgers and Cardinals faced each other in the National League Championship Series last year, with the Cardinals advancing to the World Series.

The Pittsburgh Pirates lost 4-1 to the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday, which made the Cardinals the National League Central champions.

The Pirates, who finished second in the Central, will face the San Francisco Giants in the wild-card game. The wild-card winner will play the NL East champion Washington Nationals.

By virtue of their superior regular-season record, the Dodgers will have home-field advantage in their NL division series against the Cardinals.

The series will open Friday at Dodger Stadium, with Clayton Kershaw expected to take the mound for the Dodgers.

Kershaw pitched the elimination game against the Cardinals last year and was pounded for seven runs in four-plus innings.

“I think last year helped out a lot,” Kershaw said. “I had some success, obviously. Obviously...

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Dodgers' Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dee Gordon recovering well from injuries

The Dodgers received positive news on the medical front, as Hyun-Jin Ryu pitched a pain-free bullpen session and Dee Gordon reported improvement on his irritated right hip.

Ryu, who has been sidelined with an irritated shoulder, threw around 40 pitches.

“It went very well,” Ryu said. “I didn’t feel any discomfort in my shoulder.”

The next step for Ryu will be to face batters in a simulated game Wednesday.

As for Gordon, he underwent a MRI exam after his early departure from the Dodgers’ victory over the Colorado Rockies on Saturday night. Gordon said the tests didn’t reveal anything alarming.

Gordon said what he felt in his hip was similar to what he felt in June, when a similar condition forced him to miss one game.

Gordon said he thought he could have played Sunday in the Dodgers’ regular-season finale.

The Dodgers will be managed Sunday by Juan Uribe, with Clayton Kershaw serving as his pitching coach.

The game could be a valuable one for right-hander Chris Perez.

Perez has pitched...

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Hyun-Jin Ryu continues making progress toward playoff return

Left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu took a break from his pregame dominoes game Saturday afternoon to play catch in the outfield, giving Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly hope the 14-game winner will be able to start Game 3 of the National League division series Monday, Oct. 6.

"Every time he crosses a hurdle you get more confident," Mattingly said of Ryu, who hasn't pitched in a game in more two weeks because of shoulder inflammation. "He was able to throw yesterday with a little pop on the ball. Didn’t have any problem today.

"So every time that happens, we cross a hurdle, you feel better."

Ryu, who threw 20 pitches in a truncated bullpen session Friday, is expected to have a full bullpen session Sunday morning. Also scheduled to throw Sunday is 21-game winner Clayton Kershaw, who will pitch a short simulated game. Mattingly said he thought Kershaw would throw two innings.

"A little more than probably a bullpen and a little less than a game,” he said

As for Ryu, he made two trips to the disabled...

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Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw looking forward to fatherhood

Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw might win the National League most valuable player and Cy Young awards this fall, but neither would be the highlight of his off-season.

Kershaw and his wife, Ellen, are expecting their first child -- a daughter -- in January.

"We're pumped," Kershaw said Saturday.

Kershaw, 26, said he had no particular hopes and dreams for his daughter, aside from happiness.

"I know the feeling of feeling helpless when your daughter or someone else you care about is going through something," he said.

"I just hope that she is never sad. That’s my goal."

 

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Dodgers' Julio Urias drawing comparison to Fernando Valenzuela

Julio Urias shares a lot of similarities with Fernando Valenzuela. Both are from northern Mexico, both signed their first professional contracts as teenagers, both are left-handers, and both were discovered by Dodgers super scout Mike Brito, who has found 35 players who eventually made it to the major leagues.

But it's the one area where the two pitchers differ that Urias is concentrating on. Because while Valenzuela won a Cy Young award with the Dodgers, Urias hasn't pitched above Single A.

“Every player starts the year with the goal to be here," Urias said Friday as he sat in the Dodgers dugout. "This year I wasn’t here. To be here next year would be the goal."

He could make that journey more quickly than expected after winning the organization's minor league pitcher of the year award. Outfielder Joc Pederson and infielder Corey Seager shared player of the year honors.

Urias, an 18-year-old from Culiacan Rosales in the Mexican state of Sinaloa, was 2-2 with a 2.36 ERA in 25...

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Diamondbacks GM appointment leaves Dodgers' Matt Kemp without an agent

Former All-Star pitcher Dave Stewart is the new general manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks, meaning Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp is now without an agent.

“He got me a deal,” Kemp said. “So I think I’m good until I’m 35.”

Stewart negotiated the eight-year, $160-million contract Kemp signed with the Dodgers before the 2012 season.

Kemp laughed when asked who would negotiate his next contract.

“I don’t know,” he said. “Maybe me.”

Asked whether he was in the market for a new agent, Kemp replied, “Am I in the market for a new agent? I’m really not worried about that right now. I’m just worried about these playoffs and winning a World Series.”

Kemp said he was delighted for Stewart, whom he considers a family member.

“I was just excited for him,” Kemp said. “I think this is something he’s wanted to do for a long, long time. He’s done everything in the game of baseball except that. This is another challenge for him. I think he likes challenges. I’m just happy. It couldn’t happen to a better...

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Hyun-Jin Ryu's status for playoffs still up in the air

Hyun-Jin Ryu threw off the mound Friday for the first time since hurting his shoulder two weeks ago. But after the 20-pitch session, the Dodgers still aren't convinced the left-hander will be able to pitch in the playoffs.

"It’s hard to say it lines [him] up for anything at this moment. But he’s moving in the right direction," Manager Don Mattingly said. "He’s got a few other hurdles to cross."

Ryu had no trouble with his fastball Friday but he bounced his breaking pitches, which is a concern. Mattingly said if the pitcher is pain-free Saturday, he will play catch and then throw a "max" bullpen session Sunday before the final game of the regular season.

If Ryu makes it through all that, the Dodgers would probably have him pitch a simulated game next week before deciding whether he can start Game 3 of the National League division series, scheduled for Monday, Oct. 6.

"All of those things still have to be crossed off," Mattingly said. "So we have to plan accordingly. With him, without...

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Julio Urias, Joc Pederson, Corey Seager named Dodgers' top minor leaguers

Teenage left-hander Julio Urias has been named the Dodgers' minor league pitcher of the year.

Urias, who turned 18 last month, will be recognized at Dodger Stadium on Friday, along with the organization’s co-minor league players of the year, outfielder Joc Pederson and infielder Corey Seager.

Pederson is on the Dodgers’ major league roster.

Because Urias is from Mexico, he is often compared to Fernando Valenzuela. But Urias throws considerably harder than Valenzuela ever did, as his fastball touches the high-90s.

Urias pitched in a major league game in spring training. He tossed a perfect inning against the San Diego Padres, striking out two of the three batters he faced.

Valenzuela was impressed.

“It's hard to say we're the same,” Valenzuela said at the time. “I don't even remember what I was like at that age. But I can tell you he's a gamer. He likes to pitch. That's the main thing. He likes the game, he likes to challenge the hitters.”

Asked whether his father ever told him stories about...

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