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Dodgers Dugout: And now ... Game 7

Arlington, Texas, Saturday, October 17, 2020. Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts.
Mookie Betts leaps to catch a ball hit by Marcell Ozuna in the fifth inning.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, and I wasn’t nervous the last two innings of Game 6 at all.

Some random Game 6 thoughts:

—OK, for those of you who were worried I have lost my mind, I don’t really believe wearing the same shirt brings the Dodgers luck. But I’m not changing it for, uh, a good reason I can’t explain right now.

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Walker Buehler pitches like an ace should pitch in the playoffs. In his postseason career, Buehler has made 10 starts, pitched 55.1 innings, giving up 36 hits, struck out 73, walked 21 and has a 2.44 ERA.

By series, Buehler is:

Wild-card series: 4.50 ERA (1 start)
NLDS: 2.91 ERA (4 starts)
NLCS: 2.38 ERA (4 starts)
World Series: 0.00 ERA (1 start)

—Getting out of that bases-loaded, nobody out jam in the second inning? Wow. Sometimes that’s all you can say. Wow.

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—How many rounds of the postseason are there now compared to the old days and how do they skew the records? Buehler is now tied for fourth for the most postseason starts by a Dodgers pitcher. He has 10. Ahead of him: Clayton Kershaw with 28 and Burt Hooton and Rich Hill with 11. Don Sutton also had 10 starts.

—I would have let Buehler pitch one more inning in Game 6, and when Blake Treinen gave up that leadoff triple, I was thinking “Well wouldn’t this be the perfect way to end this season.” But Treinen pitched great to get out of the jam.

—After this postgame interview, I was fine with Buehler coming out, because it seemed he didn’t really put up a fight over it. Plus, his velocity was down in the sixth inning, a sure sign a pitcher is getting tired.

—Buehler also credited Austin Barnes for being a huge help behind home plate. It would not be a shock to see Barnes behind the plate again today, with Smith at DH.

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—One thing that makes me nervous: For two games in a row, the Dodgers have sacrificed their DH in the ninth inning, meaning the pitcher or, (more likely) a pinch-hitter would have to bat if somehow the Braves tied it and the game went into extra innings. The way the Dodgers’ luck runs, I just know that’s going to come back and haunt them.

—Managing is hard.

—Then the two scariest pitchers on the Dodgers came in, Pedro Baez and Kenley Jansen.

—It was great to see Jansen get the save, but would it be wrong to point out that all three outs were hit hard?

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—Jansen credits tips from former Dodgers Charlie Hough and Rick Honeycutt for his recent resurgence.

—Wouldn’t it be funny if Charlie Hough was a key reason the Dodgers won it all this year?

—“They showed me pictures of the past and how everything was working together and it wasn’t quite the same,” Jansen said. “Kind of get back to that, to make my delivery simple like it was and repeat it. It shows.”

—So, I’m pretty sure with his choices Saturday that Dave Roberts is just trolling Dodgers fans now. And as long as it works, troll away.

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—Some Dodgers fans on the Internet were complaining that the Dodgers offense shut down after the first inning. Guess what folks? That’s the way baseball usually works. You hope to put up a big inning somewhere and have your pitching hold that lead. Doesn’t matter if the big inning is in the first, the fifth or the ninth. If the Dodgers had put up the three in the ninth, people would be talking today about what a gutty, never-give-up offense the Dodgers have.

—Do you notice how excited Joe Buck gets whenever he talks about football? Also, he’s not the best at judging fly balls. His voice goes up a notch for the first word of every fly ball, like he thinks it is going to be a homer. Remember what Vin Scully always taught us: When it comes to fly balls, watch the outfielder, not the ball. He will tell you where the ball is going and how deep. (Yes, I like to pick on Joe Buck).

—Buck will be calling an NFL game today, so we get ... Joe Davis for Game 7.

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—If I’d known that writing “Justin Turner seems out of sorts this series” would lead to him hitting a first-inning homer, I’d have done it much sooner.

—Justin Turner seems out of sorts this series.

—For those asking, that black mark on the back of Turner’s jersey is pine tar. It gets there when he warms up with the bat.

Mookie Betts may have won two games for the Dodgers by making plays most right fielders wouldn’t make.

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—On the postgame show, Alex Rodriguez and Frank Thomas said they would start Clayton Kershaw in Game 7. I would not do that.

—But, unless the game is a blowout, expect to see Kershaw in the game at some point. Julio Urías too.

—Roberts did not name a starter for Game 7 at the time I am writing this late Saturday night. He could go with a left-handed opener to try to switch around the Braves lineup and then bring Tony Gonsolin in to pitch the bulk of the game (hopefully) or he could just start Gonsolin. Or he could use Brusdar Graterol as the opener. I would just go with Gonsolin.

—Of course, I probably wouldn’t have played Joc Pederson much this postseason, and he’s been one of their best hitters. So what do I know?

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—Another tall order for the Dodgers today, as the Braves go with Ian Anderson.

—Tony Gonsolin (maybe) gets the ball today. No pressure.

—I stick with my prediction: Dodgers in seven.

Bullpen

The Dodgers have had to rely on their bullpen a lot the last three games, and will have all hands on deck for Game 7. Let’s look at the number of pitches thrown by each pitcher the last three games.

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Game 4
Clayton Kershaw, 87
Brusdar Graterol, 15
Victor Gonzalez, 22
Dylan Floro, 35
Jack McGee, 18

Game 5
Dustin May, 55
Joe Kelly, 14
Blake Treinen, 19
Pedro Baez, 14
Victor Gonzalez, 17
Brusdar Graterol, 11
Kenley Jansen, 12

Game 6
Walker Buehler, 89
Blake Treinen, 14
Pedro Baez, 17
Kenley Jansen, 6

So, heading into Game 7, Treinen, Baez and Jansen have pitched on consecutive days. I would think the only pitcher we have no chance of seeing today is Buehler and that Graterol and Gonzalez would close out the game if needed. But who knows what lurks in the minds of Roberts and Andrew Friedman.

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NLCS numbers

How Dodgers hitters are faring in the NLCS:

Corey Seager, .375, 9 for 24, 2 doubles, 5 homers, 8 runs scored, 11 RBIs

Joc Pederson, .375, 6 for 16, 1 homer, 3 RBIs

Justin Turner, .304, 7 for 23, 2 doubles, 1 homer, 5 runs scored

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Austin Barnes, .286, 2 for 7

Kiké Hernández, .273, 3 for 11, 1 homer, 1 RBI

Mookie Betts, .227, 5 for 22, 4 runs scored, 1 RBI

Edwin Ríos, .222, 2 for 9, 2 HRs, 3 RBIs, 5 strikeouts

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Max Muncy, .222, 4 for 18, 1 double, 2 homers, 6 RBIs, 9 walks

AJ Pollock, .188, 3 for 16

Cody Bellinger, .174, 4 for 23, 1 triple, 1 homer, 4 RBIs, 9 strikeouts

Will Smith, .167, 4 for 24, 1 double, 1 homer, 5 RBIs, 7 strikeouts

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Chris Taylor, .143, 2 for 14, 1 double, 7 strikeouts

Matt Beaty, 0 for 0, 1 walk

Pitchers

Joe Kelly, 0.00 ERA, 1.1 IP, 2 hits

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Kenley Jansen, 0.00 ERA, 3 IP, 3 strikeouts, 1 save

Walker Buehler, 0.82 ERA, 11 IP, 10 hits, 5 walks, 13 strikeouts

Julio Urías, 1.80 ERA, 5 IP, 3 hits, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts

Dustin May, 2.45 ERA, 3.2 IP, 4 hits, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts

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Pedro Baez, 2.70 ERA, 3.1 IP, 2 hits, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts

Alex Wood, 3.38 ERA, 2.2 IP, 3 hits, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts

Dylan Floro, 3.86 ERA, 2.1 IP, 2 hits, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts

Victor Gonzalez, 4.50 ERA, 2 IP, 2 hits, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts

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Jake McGee, 5.40 ERA, 1.2 IP, 3 hits, 0 walks, 3 strikeouts

Clayton Kershaw, 7.20 ERA, 5 IP, 7 hits, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts

Tony Gonsolin, 10.38 ERA, 4.1 IP, 3 hits, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts

Blake Treinen, 10.81 ERA, 3.1 IP, 5 hits, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts

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Brusdar Graterol, 11.57 ERA, 2.1 IP, 3 hits, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts

Adam Kolarek, 13.50 ERA, 2 IP, 6 hits, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts

Dodgers-Braves schedule

Here’s the NLCS schedule. The Dodgers will be the home team for Games 1, 2, 6 and 7. All times are Pacific. All game at Arlington, Texas.

Game 1: Atlanta 5, Dodgers 1

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Game 2: Atlanta 8, Dodgers 7

Game 3: Dodgers 15, Atlanta 3

Game 4: Atlanta 10, Dodgers 2

Game 5: Dodgers 7, Atlanta 3

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Game 6: Dodgers 3, Atlanta 1

Game 7: Today, 5:15 p.m., Atlanta (Ian Anderson) vs. Dodgers (Tony Gonsolin?), Fox and FS1, AM 570

In case you missed it

Bill Plaschke: Scream, dance and shout, Dodgers fans, for the two sweetest words in all of sports

Dylan Hernández: Corey Seager, having a historic postseason, is ‘The Guy’ again

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Confident and forceful, Dodgers’ Kenley Jansen tries to restore his bullpen ace legacy

Youth movement on Dodgers’ pitching staff provides intriguing Game 7 options

Photos: Dodgers defeat Braves in NLCS Game 6

Kenley Jansen on his steely stare toward Dodgers’ dugout: ‘It was: Let’s go’

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And finally

Highlights of Game 6. Watch them 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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