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Dodgers Dugout: Eight straight division titles aren’t fully satisfying

Dodgers congratulate each other after a win.
Dodgers congratulate each other after a win.
(Associated Press)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell and, the Dodgers have clinched the NL West title. Again.

It’s sort of like going to see the same great band eight straight nights. A band that never changes its set list. On the final night, just this once, you are hoping for something new in the encore instead of just a medley of their greatest hits.

I mean, really, and I know how ridiculous this must sound to, say, Angels fans, but for a couple of years now the regular season is just something Dodgers fans wait through in order to get to the torture scene: the postseason.

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But, I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself. We have next week to preview the playoffs and discuss the first-round matchup. Instead, let’s take a look at each team in this streak of eight consecutive NL West titles.

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2013 Dodgers

Best position player (by WAR): Hanley Ramirez
Best pitcher (by WAR): Clayton Kershaw
Season record: 92-70
Manager: Don Mattingly
Playoffs: def. Atlanta in NLDS, 3-1; lost to St. Louis in NLCS, 4-2

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Most games played at each position:

C: A.J. Ellis
1B: Adrian Gonzalez
2B: Mark Ellis
3B: Juan Uribe
SS: Hanley Ramirez
LF: Carl Crawford
CF: Andre Ethier
RF: Yasiel Puig

Other players with more than 150 plate appearances: Skip Schumaker, Nick Punto, Matt Kemp, Jerry Hairston Jr., Tim Federowicz, Scott Van Slyke

Top five starting pitchers (by most starts): Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-jin Ryu, Zack Greinke, Chris Capuano, Ricky Nolasco

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Top five relievers (by most games pitched): Kenley Jansen, Ronald Belisario, J.P. Howell, Paco Rodriguez, Brandon League.

2014 Dodgers

Best position player (by WAR): Yasiel Puig
Best pitcher (by WAR): Clayton Kershaw
Season record: 94-68
Manager: Don Mattingly
Playoffs: lost to St. Louis in NLDS, 3-1

Most games played at each position:

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C: A.J. Ellis
1B: Adrian Gonzalez
2B: Dee Gordon
3B: Juan Uribe
SS: Hanley Ramirez
LF: Carl Crawford
CF: Andre Ethier
RF: Yasiel Puig

Other players with more than 150 plate appearances: Matt Kemp, Justin Turner, Scott Van Slyke, Drew Butera, Miguel Rojas

Top five starting pitchers (by most starts): Clayton Kershaw, Dan Haren, Zack Greinke, Hyun-jin Ryu, Josh Beckett

Top five relievers (by most games pitched): Kenley Jansen, J.P. Howell, Brandon League, Jamey Wright, Brian Wilson.

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2015 Dodgers

Best position player (by WAR): Adrian Gonzalez
Best pitcher (by WAR): Zack Greinke
Season record: 92-70
Manager: Don Mattingly
Playoffs: lost to New York in NLDS, 3-2

Most games played at each position:

C: Yasmani Grandal
1B: Adrian Gonzalez
2B: Howie Kendrick
3B: Justin Turner
SS: Jimmy Rollins
LF: Carl Crawford
CF: Joc Pederson
RF: Yasiel Puig

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Other players with more than 150 plate appearances: Andre Ethier, Scott Van Slyke, Alex Guerrero, Kiké Hernandez, A.J. Ellis

Top five starting pitchers (by most starts): Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Brett Anderson, Mike Bolsinger, Carlos Frias

Top five relievers (by most games pitched): Kenley Jansen, J.P. Howell, Yimi Garcia, Juan Nicasio, Pedro Baez

2016 Dodgers

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Best position player (by WAR): Corey Seager
Best pitcher (by WAR): Clayton Kershaw
Season record: 91-71
Manager: Dave Roberts
Playoffs: def. Washington in NLDS, 3-2; lost to Chicago in NLCS, 4-2

Most games played at each position:

C: Yasmani Grandal
1B: Adrian Gonzalez
2B: Chase Utley
3B: Justin Turner
SS: Corey Seager
LF: Howie Kendrick
CF: Joc Pederson
RF: Yasiel Puig

Other players with more than 150 plate appearances: Trayce Thompson, Kiké Hernandez, Josh Reddick, A.J. Ellis

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Top five starting pitchers (by most starts): Kenta Maeda, Scott Kazmir, Clayton Kershaw, Julio Urías, Ross Stripling

Top five relievers (by most games pitched): Kenley Jansen, Joe Blanton, Pedro Baez, J.P. Howell, Louis Coleman

2017 Dodgers

Best position player (by WAR): Justin Turner
Best pitcher (by WAR): Clayton Kershaw
Season record: 104-58
Manager: Dave Roberts
Playoffs: def. Arizona in NLDS, 3-0; def. Chicago in NLCS, 4-1; lost to Houston* in World Series, 4-3

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Most games played at each position:

C: Yasmani Grandal
1B: Cody Bellinger
2B: Logan Forsythe
3B: Justin Turner
SS: Corey Seager
LF: Chris Taylor
CF: Joc Pederson
RF: Yasiel Puig

Other players with more than 150 plate appearances: Chase Utley, Kiké Hernandez, Austin Barnes, Adrian Gonzalez

Top five starting pitchers (by most starts): Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood, Rich Hill, Kenta Maeda, Hyun-jin Ryu

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Top five relievers (by most games pitched): Kenley Jansen, Pedro Baez, Luis Avilan, Josh Fields, Ross Stripling

2018 Dodgers

Best position player (by WAR): Justin Turner
Best pitcher (by WAR): Clayton Kershaw
Season record: 92-71
Manager: Dave Roberts
Playoffs: def. Atlanta in NLDS, 3-1; def. Milwaukee in NLCS, 4-3; lost to Boston in World Series, 4-1

Most games played at each position:

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C: Yasmani Grandal
1B: Cody Bellinger
2B: Logan Forsythe
3B: Justin Turner
SS: Chris Taylor
LF: Joc Pederson
CF: Kiké Hernandez
RF: Yasiel Puig

Other players with more than 150 plate appearances: Matt Kemp, Max Muncy, Manny Machado, Austin Barnes, Chase Utley

Top five starting pitchers (by most starts): Alex Wood, Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, Walker Buehler, Ross Stripling (Kenta Maeda made 20 starts, Hyun-jin Ryu 15)

Top five relievers (by most games pitched): Kenley Jansen, Scott Alexander, Pedro Baez, Josh Fields, Daniel Hudson

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2019 Dodgers

Best position player (by WAR): Cody Bellinger
Best pitcher (by WAR): Hyun-jin Ryu
Season record: 106-56
Manager: Dave Roberts
Playoffs: lost to Washington in NLDS, 3-2

Most games played at each position:

C: Austin Barnes
1B: Max Muncy
2B: Kiké Hernandez
3B: Justin Turner
SS: Corey Seager
LF: Joc Pederson
CF: AJ Pollock
RF: Cody Bellinger

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Other players with more than 150 plate appearances: Chris Taylor, Alex Verdugo, Matt Beaty, Russell Martin, Will Smith, David Freese

Top five starting pitchers (by most starts): Walker Buehler, Hyun-jin Ryu, Clayton Kershaw, Kenta Maeda, Ross Stripling (Rich Hill made 13 starts)

Top five relievers (by most games pitched): Kenley Jansen, Pedro Baez, Yimi Garcia, Joe Kelly, Dylan Floro

2020 Dodgers

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Best position player (by WAR): Mookie Betts
Best pitcher (by WAR): Clayton Kershaw
Manager: Dave Roberts

Most games played at each position:

C: Will Smith
1B: Max Muncy
2B: Kiké Hernandez
3B: Justin Turner
SS: Corey Seager
LF: AJ Pollock
CF: Cody Bellinger
RF: Mookie Betts
DH: Joc Pederson

Other players with more than 50 plate appearances: Chris Taylor, Austin Barnes, Gavin Lux, Edwin Rios, Matt Beaty

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Top five starting pitchers (by most starts): Dustin May, Julio Urias, Clayton Kershaw, Tony Gonsolin, Walker Buehler

Top five relievers (by most games pitched): Kenley Jansen, Blake Treinen, Dylan Floro, Jake McGee, Brusdar Graterol

Ask Ross Porter

Former Dodgers broadcaster Ross Porter is back for another season of “Ask Ross Porter.” We have a new email address this season for it. Ross will have access to this email address and will get your questions without me having to forward them. So, if you have a message (like thanking him for his years as a broadcaster) and not a question, feel free to let him know. Send your question or comment to rossporterdodgers@gmail.com.

Ross: My thanks to Houston for giving me the opportunity to interact with you fans. While this is my last column in Dodgers Dugout this season, I will continue to answer questions at rossporterdodgers@gmail.com.

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Steve Fountain asks: I see Hall of Fame and Clayton Kershaw often mentioned in the same sentence. Doesn’t he need more wins? Your thoughts?

Ross: Clayton has been described as the “greatest starting pitcher of his generation.” Is there any finer compliment? He has won one NL MVP award, three Cy Youngs, led the league in earned-run average five times, made eight All-Star teams, and is only 32. There are 76 pitchers in the Hall of Fame and Mariano Rivera has the fourth lowest career ERA among them at 2.21. Kershaw has one of 2.43. He has an impressive lifetime regular season record of 175-76. The left-hander from Dallas already has more victories than Hall of Famers Dizzy Dean (150), Addie Joss (160), and Sandy Koufax (165). Before he retires, Clayton should pass Lefty Gomez (189) and Roy Halladay (203). Do you know how many batters he has faced in the majors? More than 9,000. Clayton Kershaw will be in the Hall of Fame. The only question is whether he makes it the first year he is eligible.

Doug Raymond of Rogers, Ark. asks: Ross, what is the longest home run in major league history?

Ross: The ultimate home run expert is Bill Jenkinson who has researched in detail thousands of homers and is an adviser to MLB and the Hall of Fame. He says the longest was slugged by Babe Ruth for the Yankees in 1921 against the Tigers. This one hit the roof of a house and it required 575 feet to strike any part of the roof. Of the 100 longest home runs ever belted in the majors, Ruth pounded 29, and six of the top 10. He slammed more than 50 which covered 500 feet or longer. Doug, the Bambino hit a wind-assisted homer in an exhibition game which traveled over 600 feet. Mickey Mantle‘s longest home run was 540 feet. He was once credited with a 565-foot homer, but that was an exaggeration by the Yankees PR man who didn’t know where it landed. Dick Allen, Dave Kingman, and Reggie Jackson also had 540-foot homers. Jenkinson confirms that 26 major leaguers have crushed 500-foot “dingers.” Here is the fact that is a stunner. Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Barry Bonds never hit a 500-foot home run.

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Andrea Birmingham of Fort Worth asks: What is the most home runs hit by a player in a professional baseball game?

Ross: There have been 18 major leaguers who have hit four homers in a contest. One was Shawn Green of the Dodgers, and I had the pleasure of announcing his first and fourth at Milwaukee in 2002. Turning to the minor leagues, an epic day was enjoyed by a 19-year-old catcher playing for Corsicana in the Texas League on June 15, 1902. Jay Clarke had eight hits in eight at-bats -- EIGHT home runs against Texarkana. The key may well have been that the distance from home plate to the right field fence was only 210 feet. Still, it is recognized as the minor league single game record. Corsicana humiliated the Casketmakers, 51-3 that afternoon as the Texarkana pitcher gave up all 51 runs and was tagged for 21 homers. Clarke later played 506 games in the majors over eight seasons and hit only six home runs. He caught a perfect game thrown by Addie Joss in 1908.

Michael Holloway of Boca Raton, Florida asks: Ross, I’ve seen lately some umpires being hurt and have to leave the game. Has that happened frequently over the years?

Ross: According to our friends at Retrosheet, there have been 350 umpire changes during professional games since 1871, and I would estimate 90% of them were the result of injuries. A vast majority of those occurred because of foul balls striking the masks of plate umpires forcing their removal. In reviewing the other causes, I found these: 23 heat exhaustions, 18 struck by a bat, 7 having to catch trains, 4 dehydrations, 4 times players umpired, 4 hit by bottles, 3 had eye problems, 2 games umps were tired of arguing and left, and 2 kidney attacks. Then there were single incidents which forced umpire changes and caught my eye: Arrested for fighting with a player, arrested for throwing a bottle into the stands, assaulted by a fan, tore pants dusting off the plate, struck on face by a cleat, struck on eye by dirt, mud flew into the eye, hit in eye by splinter from broken bat, tripped on a bat, slipped on a ball, slipped on dugout steps, hit by discarded mask, by fans throwing trash and umpire had to leave, high blood pressure, food poisoning, severe hypertension, a nose bleed, a hip cramp, chills, visiting a sick brother and later flying to that brother’s funeral. There were 23 umpiring changes last season.

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Thanks for all your good questions and keep them coming to rossporterdodgers@gmail.com.

Up next

Friday: Angels (Andrew Heaney) at Dodgers (TBD), 6:30 p.m., SportsNet LA, AM 570

Saturday: Angels (Dylan Bundy) at Dodgers (TBD), 6 p.m., SportsNet LA, AM 570

Sunday: Angels (Griffin Canning) at Dodgers (TBD), noon, SportsNet LA, AM 570

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*-Left-handed

In case you missed it

Six teams vying to become Dodgers’ first playoff foe share this in common: Mediocrity

Dodgers pitcher Dustin May gets outs through contact, but that could change

And finally

“The Jackie Robinson Story” starring Jackie Robinson and Ruby Dee. Watch it here.

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Until next time...

Have a comment or something you’d like to see in a future Dodgers newsletter? Email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.


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