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Dodgers

Corey Seager starts for Dodgers, manages one hit against Mets

Corey Seager

Dodgers infielder Corey Seager is tagged by Mets catcher Travis D’Arnaud after striking out during the fifth inning of Game 1 of the National League division series.

(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

When Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager drove to Dodger Stadium early this afternoon, he didn’t even know if he’d be starting.

It was a pleasant surprise, then, when he scanned the lineup posted in the Dodgers’ clubhouse and saw that he was penciled in at shortstop, making him the youngest position player to start a postseason game for the Dodgers.

And he was batting third.

“Seeing the lineup,” Seager said, “was really cool.”

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Seager, 21, has been a major leaguer for slightly more than a month. He said he felt no added stress from batting third.

“That’s a meaty part of the order, so you’ve got to go out and give good [at bats],” Seager said. “But other than that, there’s no extra pressure.”

After Seager had seen the lineup card, Manager Don Mattingly pulled him aside. “It’s still a baseball game,” Seager said Mattingly told him.

Seager has hit .337 with four home runs and 17 RBIs in 27 games this season. On Friday, he had one hit in four at bats, a bloop double down left-field line in the third inning.

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Mattingly said that Seager “fit the best” at the No. 3 spot. He said he was not worried about the 21-year-old handling the responsibility. “We’ve put him all over,” Mattingly said. “He seemed to handle everything.”

Right colors, at least

The possibility of the Dodgers meeting the Chicago Cubs in the National League championship series is particularly intriguing to Mark Walter, the Dodgers’ chairman.

Walter lives in Chicago — and, even as the controlling owner of the Dodgers, still keeps his season seats at Wrigley Field. “You can’t give up seats to the Cubs,” Walter said.

Walter said Chicago is abuzz over the Cubs. “Everybody’s pretty excited,” he said. “They should be. They haven’t been in the playoffs for a while.”

Then Walter left to root on his team, which has been in the playoffs in every full season under his ownership.

Roster moves

Earlier this week, Mattingly maintained he’d start a rookie in center field, he just wouldn’t say which. Ultimately, he opted for Joc Pederson over Enrique Hernandez, despite Pederson’s .178 batting average in the second half of the season. Pederson was hitless in three at bats Friday with a strikeout and an intentional walk.

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Hernandez, a left-handed hitter, bats .423 against left-handers but .234 against right-handers. Pederson, a .210 hitter, has hit both roughly equally.

“It’s kind of what we thought was best for today,” Mattingly said. “Same old story. Trying to match up, and thought that was best.”

When the rest of the 25-man roster was announced Friday morning, right-handed relievers Juan Nicasio and Carlos Frias were notable omissions.

Nicasio had been a regular out of the bullpen for most of the year, but Mattingly said the Mets’ bench, loaded with left-handers, dissuaded him from adding Nicasio. “Juan struggled with the lefties,” Mattingly said. “We didn’t really feel like we were ever going to get sections against those guys that you’re going to get a number of righties together.”

More deGrom?

Mets Manager Terry Collins left open the possibility that game one starter Jacob deGrom would pitch in game four on three days’ rest.

“It all depends a lot on tonight,” Collins said before the game. “If he goes deep into a game, if he has to work hard, he probably won’t come back on three days’ rest.”

DeGrom thew 121 pitches on Friday. If deGrom does not go in game four, left-hander Steven Matz is the likely starter.

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Times staff writer Bill Shaikin contributed to this story.


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