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Dodgers Dugout: Dodgers sweep Padres out of the playoffs

Will Smith gestures as he celebrates after his two-RBI double, his fifth hit of the game.
(Associated Press)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, and it’s on to the NLCS.

Some random thoughts on the 12-3 victory in Game 3:

Mookie Betts really makes a big difference in the lineup (I have a great way of pointing out the obvious).

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—I accidentally flipped over to the movie “Annihilation” and thought it was still the Dodgers game.

—Padres fans, chirping so loudly before Game 1, were sure quiet Thursday on Twitter.

—The Dodger offense is a well-oiled machine right now. Can they do it against Atlanta? I’m going with Dodgers in six games.

Julio Urías pitched brilliantly in relief. Five innings, one hit, six strikeouts.

Will Smith had five hits in Game 3. Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado combined for four hits in the whole series.

—Most hits in a postseason game by a Dodger:

5, Will Smith, 2020 NLDS Game 1

4, A.J. Ellis, 2014 NLDS Game 1

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4, Jeff Kent, 2006 NLDS Game 3

4, Chad Fonville, 1995 NLDS Game 2

4, Dusty Baker, 1978 NLCS Game 4

4, Steve Garvey, 1974 NLCS Game 4

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4, Ron Cey, 1974 NLCS Game 2

4, Maury Wills, 1965 World Series Game 5

4, Jim Gilliam, 1959 World Series Game 5

—The only players in the starting lineup to not got a hit were Max Muncy (who walked three times and scored two runs) and Chris Taylor.

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—It was great to see Joc Pederson come up with two key hits.

—I have no idea why the Dodgers decided Game 3 would be a great time for a bullpen game. I mean, last time I checked Tony Gonsolin is alive and well. Yeah, I know they won, but that doesn’t mean it was the right move.

—The idea was, the Dodgers announce that Dustin May, a right-hander, is starting. The Padres would counter with a mostly left-handed hitting lineup. The Dodgers would then pull May after the first (when he would hopefully retire Tatis and Machado) and let Adam Kolarek pitch the second, facing a predominantly left-handed hitting lineup at the bottom of the Padres’ order. Then Urías would come in and pitch the bulk of the innings. It almost backfired when Kolarek gave up two runs and the lead.

—As has been mentioned here before, the more pitchers you use in a game, the more likely you are to bring one in who doesn’t have his best stuff.

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—Don’t blame Dave Roberts entirely for this. These decisions are collaborative efforts among the front office and coaching staff. Same thing for the starting lineup.

—The Dodgers used six pitchers in Game 3. The Padres used 11!

—That’s what happened to the Padres, who were forced into a bullpen game in Game 1 when Mike Clevinger got hurt. Their bullpen was gassed after that, plus, their bullpen was highly overrated.

—The Dodgers are 5-0 this postseason, and they have won games they would have lost in seasons past. Game 2 here for example. That’s a good omen for the future.

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—The Houston Astros advanced to the ALCS. A Dodgers-Astros rematch in the World Series, played in Texas, with what will probably mostly Astros fans in the stands? OK, I need to stop getting ahead of myself.

—You know who I miss on this year’s team? Russell Martin and David Freese. I understand the reasons why neither came back, but I still miss them.

—For those angry at the Padres and their antics, I think it’s just what baseball needs. Players getting emotional during the playoffs. During Game 3, Tatis Jr. said something to Cody Bellinger at second base and gave him a playful nudge as both were laughing. Emotion with respect is exactly what this game needs.

—But I still think it’s hilarious, and puzzling, that Machado got mad at Brusdar Graterol for getting emotional.

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—Will Kenley Jansen continue to pitch in key situations for the Dodgers? Dave Roberts, before Game 3 began: “Um … I think right now, certainly, leverage matters. I think I’m going to continue to watch the game, to talk to the pitching coaches, to talk to Kenley … I’m not gonna make that decision yet. I understand, and I’m very sensitive to what he has accomplished on the baseball field as a closer, as a premium All-Star. But we also have to look at real time and do what’s best for the Dodgers, and he understands that.”

—Why is Jansen struggling? Again, Roberts: “I don’t know the reason. Watching video [from Wednesday night], there were some 93s mixed in with some 89s. I think more than anything, it’s the fluctuation of velocity and lack of consistency with it, and that speaks to the throw. We’re still digging in on it. With Kenley, regardless of velocity, when he’s executing and making quality pitches, he’s as good as anyone. But when you’re not executing and missing to the big part of the plate, then you’re not as good, and that’s something we’re constantly trying to figure out.”

—Why you should still respect Jansen. This, from Joe Kelly, on Jansen’s mental state after Game 2: Obviously, he doesn’t like underperforming, but he’s a mentally tough guy. It’s not like he’s sitting around his locker pouting … or saying, ‘I’m not gonna pitch if I don’t pitch the ninth.’ He’s a good teammate. He’s taking it like a man. Whenever we need him, he’s gonna be there for us.”

—MLB just doesn’t get it sometimes. Having the Dodgers game on MLB Network, which isn’t available to a lot of viewers, is just wrong. Luckily, that won’t be a problem the rest of the way.

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—Up next, Atlanta. The Braves swept the Marlins. That’s going to be a tough matchup. NLCS is best-of-seven.

—The NLCS starts Monday and all games will be on Fox or FS1. Game times have not been announced at the time I am writing this and probably will not be announced until after the Yankees-Rays series concludes today. But there are no off days, so the NLCS will be Monday-Sunday, if all seven games are necessary.

—This newsletter will run every day after a game, and we’ll do an NLCS preview Monday morning, so enjoy your weekend and we will talk again Monday!

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Postseason records

I’m not a huge fan of postseason records, since there are so many more playoff rounds than in the past. But a lot of you are and have requested some Dodgers postseason records, so here they are, through Thursday’s game. Yesterday we looked at batting records, today pitching.

Games pitched
Kenley Jansen, 44
Clayton Kershaw, 34
Kenta Maeda, 24
Pedro Baez, 24
Alex Wood, 14
Brandon Morrow, 14

Games started
Clayton Kershaw, 27
Burt Hooton, 11
Rich Hill, 11
Don Sutton, 10
Fernando Valenzuela, 8
Walker Buehler, 8
Hyun-jin Ryu, 8
Jerry Reuss, 8

Innings
Clayton Kershaw, 172.1
Don Sutton, 72.2
Fernando Valenzuela, 63
Burt Hooton, 59.2
Orel Hershiser, 58

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Saves
Kenley Jansen, 17
Jonathan Broxton, 3
Bob Welch, 2
Clem Labine, 2
Tom Niedenfuer, 2
Larry Sherry, 2

Strikeouts
Clayton Kershaw, 189
Kenley Jansen, 73
Rich Hill, 62
Sandy Koufax, 61
Walker Buehler, 60

ERA (minimum 25 innings)
Sherry Smith, 0.89
Sandy Koufax, 0.95
Clem Labine, 1.65
Orel Hershiser, 1.71
Fernando Valenzuela, 2.00
Tommy John, 2.08
Johnny Podres, 2.11
Kenley Jansen, 2.26
Zack Greinke, 2.38
Preacher Roe, 2.54

Note: Sherry Smith pitched in two World Series for the Dodgers, in 1916 and 1920. Combined, he gave up 17 hits and nine walks in 30.1 innings, striking out five. He gave up only three earned runs, but went 1-2.

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Ask our Dodgers reporters

Have a Dodgers-related question you would like answered immediately? Go here and leave a comment, and one of our Dodgers expert reporters will answer as soon as possible. Or, you can always email me and ask, though titling a section “Ask Houston Mitchell” seemed a little narcissistic, even for me.

Padres-Dodgers schedule

Here’s the NLDS schedule. The Dodgers will be the home team for Games 1, 2 and 5. All times are Pacific.

Game 1: Dodgers 5, San Diego 1
Game 2: Dodgers 6, San Diego 5
Game 3: Dodgers 12, San Diego 3

In case you missed it

Dylan Hernández: Dodgers stay perfect in postseason, but their ominous closer situation looms

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Dodgers play the percentages with their pitching strategy vs. Padres

How Cody Bellinger’s father celebrated his son’s home run-robbing catch is so 2020

Dave Roberts isn’t committing to ditching Kenley Jansen as Dodgers’ closer

Got the Belli shot! Times photographer Robert Gauthier on capturing Cody Bellinger’s catch

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And finally

Led by Justin Turner and Russell Martin, the Dodgers score seven runs in the sixth inning of Game 3 of the 2019 NLDS against Washington. Watch it here.

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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