Dodgers Dugout: The race to the division title begins tonight

Clayton Kershaw
Clayton Kershaw will be on the mound for the Dodgers tonight.
(Frank Franklin II / Associated Press)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell. Let’s hope the Dodgers are not like Maggie Smith and actually show up for the last two weeks of the season.

On your mark...

The race to the division title begins tonight, so don’t get too disappointed by the loss to Arizona on Sunday. The Dodgers were setting themselves up for the start of today’s important three-game series with San Francisco, which is why four regulars started the game on the bench, and Pedro BaezJoe Blanton and Kenley Jansen didn’t pitch. 

With 13 games to go, the Dodgers lead the Giants by five games. What does that mean? If the Dodgers go 5-8 it means the Giants would have to go 10-3 to tie. If the Dodgers go 6-7, the Giants would have to go 11-2. Of course, the Dodgers could lose all six remaining games to the Giants and that would take care of that quickly. But let’s try to remain optimistic.


I’ve written all season about the strengths and weaknesses of the Dodgers, there’s no point in repeating any of it now. You know them as well as I do. So for once, I am going to cut short what I write (please hold your applause) and just tell you who is going to start the next three days. On Thursday, let’s all meet back here and discuss what happened.

Tonight: Madison Bumgarner (14-9, 2.66 ERA; 0-2, 5.63 vs. Dodgers in 2016)  vs. Clayton Kershaw (11-3, 1.81; 2-0, 2.35 vs. Giants in 2016) , 7:10 p.m.

Tuesday: Johnny Cueto (16-5, 2.86; 2-1, 3.18) vs. Rich Hill (3-1, 1.48; 1-0, 0.00), 7 p.m.

Wednesday: Matt Moore (4-4, 4.01; 2-1, 3.20)  vs. Kenta Maeda (15-9, 3.24; 2-0, 3.00) , 7 p.m.


The rest of the schedule

HOME (7 games): Sept. 19-21 vs. San Francisco, Sept. 22-25 vs. Colorado.

ROAD (6 games): Sept. 27-29 at San Diego, Sept 30-Oct. 2 at San Francisco.

The magic number

Each week I will look at a uniform number a Dodger is wearing and go through the history of that number with the Dodgers. When I was a kid and went to games, I was always curious who wore the number of my favorite players. Then again, I was a strange kid. For “best Dodgers to wear the number,” only the stats a player compiled while he was with the team and wearing that number count.

Next up is: No. 7 (Julio Urias)

Best Dodgers to wear No. 7: Joe Medwick (1940-43), Steve Yeager (1973-85), James Loney (2007-12).

Others to wear No. 7: Glenn Wright (1932-33), Johnny McCarthy (1934), George Earnshaw (1935-36), Johnny Hudson (1936-37), Lindsay Brown (1937), Woody Williams (1938), Ray Thomas (1938), Packy Rogers (1938), Mike McCormick (1949), Steve Lembo (1950), Daryl Spencer (1961), Don Demeter (1961), Lee Walls (1962-64), Dick Stuart (1966), Bob Bailey (1968), Cesar Cedeno (1986), Tracy Woodson (1987), Alfredo Griffin (1988-91), Billy Ashley (1992-95), Greg Gagne (1996-97), Paul Konerko (1998), Tripp Cromer (1998-99), Jose Vizcaino (2000), Jeff Branson (2001), Mike Kinkade (2002-03), Tom Wilson (2004), J.D. Drew (2005-06). Nick Punto (2012-13), Alex Guerrero (2014-15).


The real magic number

Any combination of nine Dodgers wins or Giants losses will make the Dodgers the N.L. West champions.

What Vin Scully means to me

I asked you to tell me your best Vin Scully memory, and I got a lot of responses. I will publish selected ones in each newsletter. Keep emailing them to me.

Dolores Anguiano-Torres: I grew up a Dodger fan from birth.  My mom used to listen on the radio when they were in Brooklyn.  So baseball and the Dodgers have always been a way of life for me.  In 2007, I was diagnosed with leukemia.  I was at USC Norris Cancer Hospital for days and months at a time.  I had so much chemo that it was hard to concentrate on anything, it does that to you.  But every night I would watch the Dodgers and listen to Vin.  It was the only thing I could actually concentrate on.  It was so comforting to hear his voice in the midst of the chaos my life was at the time.  I was a wife and mom of 3 small children, it was a very difficult time.  But my constant was Vin, listening to him was so soothing to my tired soul. Well, I had a bone marrow transplant and I am cured.  So thank you to Vin, for talking me through one of the most difficult times of my life!

The TV situation

If you would like to complain about the Dodgers’ TV situation, you have three options: The Dodgers, Time Warner Cable and whatever local cable or satellite provider you have that doesn’t carry the Dodgers. Here’s whom to contact:

For the Dodgers, click here or call (866) DODGERS ([866] 363-4377). (I hope you like form letters.)


For Time Warner, click here.

For DirecTV, call (800) 531-5000 or click here.

For your local cable or satellite provider, consult your bill for the customer service number and for the website.

In case you missed it

What our great crew of Los Angeles Times reporters are saying about the Dodgers:

Yasmani Grandal gets second day off with sore elbow

Kenley Jansen dealing with wrist stiffness

If only Corey and Kyle Seager could end up together on the Dodgers

What others are saying

You’ve been reading me for two years now, so I think it would be fair and appropriate to see what others are saying about the Dodgers. This new section will provide you with links so you can get a wider perspective on things.

Where playoff baseball meets Fantasy Football

Vote for the Dodgers’ top fan of 2016

And finally

Vin Scully calls it as the Dodgers hit four straight homers to send game into extra innings, where they win it on another homer. Watch and listen 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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