Dodgers Dugout: Here’s who should be on the playoff roster
Hi and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, reminding you that the Dodgers are only 11 wins away from claiming the World Series.
The Dodgers’ playoff roster is due Friday, and there are some decisions that need to be made. Do you bring four starting pitchers and seven relievers? Eight relievers? Does Chase Utley make the team? Does Yasiel Puig? Here’s the playoff roster I would submit:
As you can see, I left off Utley, who hit .202 with the Dodgers. I added Puig, who is still a better-than-average player (OPS+ of 109). The toughest choice was the final bullpen spot. I went with Avilan to have an extra left-hander, even though lefties have hit much better against him than right-handers this season. But if the game comes down to the last man in the bullpen, it’s probably not good for the Dodgers anyway.
Game 1: Friday at Dodger Stadium, 6:30 p.m., Clayton Kershaw (16-7, 2.13) vs. Jacob deGrom (14-8, 2.60)
Game 2: Saturday at Dodger Stadium, 6 p.m., Zack Greinke (19-3, 1.66) vs. Noah Syndergaard (9-7, 3.24)
Game 3: Monday at New York, TBD, Brett Anderson (10-9, 3.69) vs. Matt Harvey (13-8, 2.71)
Game 4*: Tuesday at New York, TBD, TBA vs. Steven Matz (4-0, 2.27)
Game 5*: Thursday at Dodger Stadium, TBD, TBA vs. deGrom
My picks for the major awards this season:
AL MVP: Josh Donaldson, Toronto (sorry, Angels fans, he edges Mike Trout)
AL Cy Young: Dallas Keuchel, Houston
AL Rookie of the Year: Francisco Lindor, Cleveland
NL MVP: Bryce Harper, Washington. Should the MVP award go to the “most valuable player” or to the player who had the best season? None of the five NL playoff teams had a truly standout position player. If you give the award to the player who had the best season, the award should go to Harper. If you give it to the most valuable player, you could make a case for Zack Greinke or Jake Arrieta of the Cubs. But I am going with Harper.
NL Cy Young: Zack Greinke. There are only three candidates, Greinke, Kershaw and Arrieta. Kershaw pitched better than Greinke in the second half, but Greinke was more consistent, so I would pick Greinke over Kershaw. How does Greinke match up with Arrieta? Greinke had a better ERA and a better WHIP. Arrieta had more strikeouts in roughly the same amount of innings. After the All-Star break, Arrieta was 12-1 with an 0.75 ERA. Before, he was 10-5, 2.66. After the All-Star break, Greinke was 11-1 with a 1.99 ERA. Before, he was 8-2, 1.39. The Cy Young Award goes to the player who had the best season, not the best second half. To me, the best pitcher over the whole season was Greinke, so I vote for him.
NL Rookie of the Year: Kris Bryant, Cubs.
Ask Ross Porter
Former Dodgers announcer Ross Porter will be answering select reader questions for the rest of the season. Email me a question for Ross, and I will pass it on to him. Here is his latest response:
Gregg Gellman asks: Of the many injustices committed by the McCourts or under their regime (e.g. Lon Rosen), their treatment of Ross was one of the most egregious. Would Ross share his thoughts?
Ross: Thank you, Gregg, for your kind words, and I'm grateful to all the others who have voiced their support. For 11 years, I have chosen the high road and remained silent about my situation, choosing to take an "Attitude of Gratitude," being thankful for the 28 blessed years as a Dodger announcer. Given an opportunity now by my friend Houston to voice some feelings about my termination in 2004, I would like to go on record for the first time so my views are not forever unknown.
To this day, it is a mystery to me who made the decision not to renew my contract. Jamie McCourt? Frank McCourt? Lon Rosen? I don't expect to ever find out the truth. What is the truth is that no one in the Dodger organization EVER talked to me face to face or on the telephone about the dismissal. The word was passed to my agent in a meeting at the stadium. He was left to give me the news. I was less than an hour away from guest-hosting a radio sports talk show. Asked if they planned to notify me before I went on the air, the Dodger executives not only said, "No," but reported they were releasing the story at the same time I was going on the air. My agent said, "So, Ross may learn about this from a caller to the show? This isn't right." He raced to his car and drove 30 minutes to reach me before airtime and give me the news.
Several minutes later, we inquired of the Dodgers whether I could make a statement to be included in the news release announcing my departure, a few words thanking Vin Scully, Peter O'Malley and Fred Claire, the three men responsible for my getting the job, and also the fans. The response was negative. The man who broadcast over 5,000 Dodger games would not be allowed to make any farewell quotes.
Thanks. I am glad that I could finally tell this story.
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred sat down with Times baseball columnist Bill Shaikin for an extended interview recently, talking about the playoffs, expansion and Pete Rose, among other topics. You can read all about it here.
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