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Dodgers

Dodgers Dugout: The Dodgers will win the NL West this season

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell. Best week of the year. The Dodgers begin the regular season, and WrestleMania. It’s like Christmas in April.

Who will win the NL West?

The Dodgers will. Once again, the NL West will come down to two teams: The Dodgers and Giants. They are far and away the best teams in the NL West. The Dodgers will win the division this season, and the Giants will earn a wild-card spot.

The Dodgers have the best rotation, the best closer and the best infield. They aren’t a perfect team by any means, but they are more than good enough to win the West. When you break all the teams down by position, it is pretty clear the Dodgers have the strongest team overall. Last season they had more injuries than an old-timer’s team and still won the West. I know some of you are saying “Yeah, but it took an epic collapse by the Giants.” Well, the Dodgers won 91 games last season. They were a pretty good team too. And they will be more than good enough to win the West again.

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Of course, they don’t settle the division on how teams look on paper. A lot of things could happen, and you should never count out Bruce Bochy and the Giants. But all things being equal, the Dodgers are better this season.

I believe this is the first year since starting this newsletter that I have chosen them to win the division. Last year I thought the Giants would. So, I haven’t sipped from the Dodgers’ hypnotic waters. I just think if you step back and look at all five teams in the division, the Dodgers are the best team.

Now, as far as the playoffs go, the Cubs are obviously the team to beat. But we don’t have to worry about the playoffs right now. There will be a lot of twists and turns before then. Let’s just enjoy the ride.

The opening day roster

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Pitchers (12):

Luis Avilán (L)

Grant Dayton (L)

Chris Hatcher

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Rich Hill (L)

Kenley Jansen

Clayton Kershaw (L)

Kenta Maeda

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Brandon McCarthy

Sergio Romo

Hyun-Jin Ryu (L)

Ross Stripling

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Alex Wood (L)

Catchers (2):

Austin Barnes

Yasmani Grandal

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Infielders (5):

Logan Forsythe

Adrián González (L)

Corey Seager (L)

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Justin Turner

Chase Utley (L)

Outfielders (4):

Franklin Gutierrez

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Joc Pederson (L)

Yasiel Puig

Andrew Toles (L)

Infielder/Outfielder (2):

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Kiké Hernández

Scott Van Slyke

Disabled List (6):

Pedro Báez, RHP (10-day, right wrist bruise, retroactive to March 30)

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Andre Ethier, OF (10-day, lumbar disk herniation, retroactive to March 30)

Yimi García, RHP (60-day, right elbow surgery)

Scott Kazmir, LHP (10-day, left hip strain, retroactive to March 30)

Josh Ravin, RHP (10-day, right groin strain, retroactive to March 30)

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Brock Stewart, RHP (10-day, right shoulder tendinitis, retroactive to March 30)

What’s new at Dodger Stadium?

Some of the changes made at Dodger Stadium this season:

Transportation

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The ring road in center field has been enlarged in order to improve circulation. The Metro bus pedestrian loading area near center field has been reconfigured to provide a dedicated area with uniform pedestrian lighting.

Food

A new Bud & Burgers stand will serve the new Dodger Burger, which features a grilled Dodger Dog on top of a hamburger patty.

A new King’s Hawaiian Grill in the Left Field Plaza, which will serve a pulled pork Dodger Dog, pulled pork sliders, lava wings, smoked pork nachos and more.

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The Think Blue BBQ has moved to the Reserve Level in right field, adjacent to the kid’s area.

Some of the new food at Dodger Stadium this season:

BaseBowls: Poke bowls, Teriyaki Chicken bowl, Kalua Pork bowl and the Vietnamese Rice Noodle bowl. – Field Level – third base side – Aisle 45

Chick-N-Tots: House-made marinated chicken bites dressed to your liking with chili cheese, Buffalo sauce, garlic, oil and parmesan cheese or just plain. Field Level – first base side – Aisle 8

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Healthy Items: Mediterranean quinoa salad, strawberry and beets salad, fresh sandwiches and more at the United Healthcare Market Place on Field Aisle 5/ Loge Aisle 137 and Reserve Level Aisle 5.

Trolley Dodger Treats: Funnel cakes topped with powdered sugar, chocolate drizzle and whipped cream; glazed churro; a cinnamon sugar churro served with blue ice cream, deep fried oreos and twinkies. – Field Level – first base side – Aisle 46

Shock Top Bratwurst: A spicy pork bratwurst link infused with Shock Top beer served on a warm bun with caramelized onions and spicy brown mustard. – Field Aisle 48 / Loge Aisle 135 / Reserve Aisle 2

Memorabilia

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There is a new gallery adjacent to the Vin Scully Press Box, including Vin Scully’s headset and other objects from his broadcast booth during his final season with the Dodgers.

The club level is also home to a new display case at the left-field entry that features game jerseys from Dodger greats including Jackie Robinson, Sandy Koufax and others. Fans with tickets on field, loge and club, and anyone with a season ticket, can access these areas.

The right-field baseline club is home to a display featuring game bats from nearly every All-Star that’s been a Dodger. This display is open to anyone in the right-field concourse and faces the bullpen overlook in right field. You do not need a ticket to the baseline club to view this display.

KTLA

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Don’t forget, those of you in the L.A. area can see Wednesday’s game on KTLA Channel 5. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m.

And finally

Dodgers send Julio Urias to the minors, with a detour to extended spring training.

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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Houston.mitchell@latimes.com

Twitter: @latimeshouston


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