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Dodgers

Dodgers Dugout: Second verse, same as the first

Cody Bellinger
Cody Bellinger
(Scott Kane / Associated Press)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell and now Magic Johnson can devote his full attention to solve the TV situation he said he would clear up when he bought part of the Dodgers.

Second verse, same as the first

The Dodgers got off to an amazing start, looking like the best Dodger team in history, then went to St. Louis and ... didn’t look like the best Dodger team in history. What does this tell us?

Well, none of us should really be surprised by any of this, because this team is just like last year’s team, and the team the year before that. And the year before that. In short:

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They will be capable of going on streaks where no one can beat them, followed by streaks where everyone can beat them.

They will go for games at a time where they can’t seem to buy a hit with runners on base.

It will grow infuriating, because there will be times when the pitchers will give up two runs, but the Dodgers score only one, and there will be times when the pitchers give up seven runs and the offense scores eight. We’ll wonder why they can’t coordinate these things better.

The bullpen will fail to hold an 8-2 lead, but they’ll pitch great if it’s 2-1. Except maybe for Joe Kelly.

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Joc Pederson will hit .650 one week with incredible power and you’ll start wondering why they don’t start him against lefties, then you’ll see him bat against a lefty and remember why. Then he’ll go 0 for 20 and you wonder why they play him at all. Then he’ll hit .650 again and the circle begins anew.

Every starting pitcher will be injured at some point this season. At one point, the Dodgers will call up a newcomer from the minors (Dustin May?) and he’ll pitch like Sandy Koufax. You’ll want him to stay in the rotation but he’ll be sent back down when the pitcher he replaced gets healthy.

The Dodgers will lose seven of eight or something like that at some point, and you’ll gnash your teeth and wear sackcloth and ashes, convinced they aren’t going to make the playoffs and that everyone needs to be fired. Then they’ll win the NL West and you’ll be convinced this is finally the year.

We’ll wait for the Clayton Kershaw of three years ago to return, until he gets hurt again and we wonder if any kind of Clayton Kershaw will return.

Kenley Jansen will convert every save for a month, then look bad two games in a row and we’ll wonder, what’s wrong with him and why didn’t the Dodgers sign Craig Kimbrel when they had the chance?

Someone in the Dodgers bullpen will step up in August to become the dominant setup man Jansen needs. Last year it was Pedro Baez. This year?

The Dodgers will make the playoffs again and advance to the World Series where we will all hope that this is the one time this year that things don’t follow the same pattern.

Injuries

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The Dodgers put catcher Russell Martin on the 10-day IL because of lower back inflammation and recalled catcher Rocky Gale from the minors. They also put Hyun-Jin Ryu on the 10-day IL before of a strained left groin, the same place he was injured last season. This injury is not believed to be serious. They recalled J.T. Chargois from the minors, then sent him down a couple of days later and recalled Jaime Schultz.

Kershaw will come off the injured list and start for the Dodgers on Monday. A corresponding roster move will be made then. Rich Hill could make a minor-league rehab start within the next week and be back soon after that.

Ask Ross Porter

Ross Porter will once again answer reader questions this season. All you have to do is email me your question at houston.mitchell@latimes.com. I will forward the email on to Ross, and he will answer two or three each week. Take it away, Ross.

Chuck Haeflinger of Chino Hills asks: Sometime between the national anthem and Justin Turner’s first plate appearance each game, he rubs a handful of dirt with his right hand onto his left shoulder blade. So, what is his reason or motivation for his ritual?

Ross: It’s not dirt, it is pine tar. He gets it there when he warms up with the bat before the game. In the on-deck circle during a game, you can see the bat hit that exact area.

Steve Fjeldsted asks: Has any team ever made the World Series with a 36-year-old catcher or one over 35?

Ross: Jimmie Wilson was 40 when he caught in the 1940 World Series for the Reds. Two former Dodgers would be the next oldest. David Ross was 39 years and 228 days old with the 2016 Cubs and Rick Dempsey was 39 years and 37 days along when he appeared for the 1988 Dodgers. Source: sports-reference.com

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Fred Hoffman of Folsom asks: Ross, thank you for broadcasting the baseball games of my alma mater, Cal State Northridge. Has any alumni of CSUN ever made it to the major leagues?

Ross: Yes, Fred. Fourteen: Paul Edmondson, Bill Slayback, Lyman Bostock, Jason Thompson, Gil Kubski, Steve Ellsworth, Jim Vatcher, Jeremy Hernandez, Robert Fick, Adam Kennedy, Kameron Loe, Bill Murphy, Leo Rosales and Chuckie Fick.

Lynn McGinnis of Glendale asks: Who brought analytics to baseball and when?

Ross: Oakland A’s general manager Sandy Alderson is credited with being responsible in 1996 for the first known use of prioritization of statistics and data to make personnel decisions in professional sports. Every major pro team now has an analytics expert or analytics department, and analytics are the future of professional sports. A baseball manager doesn’t make as many decisions anymore in a game. The front office tells him what to do.

Rob Young asks: Hey, Ross. Why was Ron Cey so darn good?

Ross: Who better to ask than “The Penguin” himself who says, “I wanted to do it more than anything else, so I worked hard. Determined and went through each stage. I was fortunate because only 3% of players drafted reach the majors. My body fat was 5%, the lowest of any athlete I have heard .” Cey was a six-time All-Star with the Dodgers (1971-1982) for whom he hit 228 home runs, second to the 270 by Eric Karros in L. A. Dodgers history. In 1976, Ron recorded a song, “Playing the Third Base Bag.” It made its debut on the public-address system in Vero Beach at an exhibition game. As the song ended, Cey’s father-in-law commented, “Is there anything that boy can’t do?”

You can follow Ross on Twitter: @therossporter

TV schedule

KTLA will televise nine more Dodger games during the season. They are:

Tonight vs. Milwaukee, 7 p.m.

Thursday, April 18, at Milwaukee, 5 p.m.

Wednesday, April 24, at Chicago Cubs, 5 p.m.

Saturday, April 27, vs. Pittsburgh, 6 p.m.

Saturday, May 11, vs. Washington, 6 p.m.

Monday, May 27, vs. New York Mets, 5 p.m.

Thursday, May 30, vs. New York Mets, 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, June 1, vs. Philadelphia, 7 p.m.

Saturday, June 15, vs. Chicago Cubs, 6 p.m.

Up next

Tonight: Milwaukee (Corbin Burnes) at Dodgers (*Julio Urias), 7 p.m.

Saturday: Milwaukee (Zach Davies) at Dodgers (TBA), 6 p.m.

Sunday: Milwaukee (Jhoulys Chacin) at Dodgers (Ross Stripling), 1 p.m.

*-left-handed

And finally

Marcell Ozuna involved in the greatest play in baseball history. Watch it here.

Have a comment or something you’d like to see in a future Dodgers newsletter? Email me and follow me on Twitter: @latimeshouston.


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