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Dodgers Dugout: Another year, another division title

Julio Urías
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
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Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, and did I miss anything while I had the week off?

Time for some random thoughts about the Dodgers.

—The 2022 Dodgers are just the ninth team in franchise history (since 1901) to win at least 100 games. None of those teams won the World Series.

Most NL West titles since divisional play began in 1969:

Dodgers 21
San Francisco 9
Cincinnati 7
Arizona 5
Atlanta 5
San Diego 5
Houston 2

It’s amazing that Cincinnati is third on the list even though it hasn’t been in the NL West since 1993.

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—The Dodger record for victories in a season is 106.

—After giving up one hit in his previous 9 1/3 innings, Craig Kimbrel gave up a game-losing three-run homer Wednesday, making many Dodgers fans reach for the Pepto Bismol.

—After that game, Dave Roberts said: “If Craig continues to throw the baseball like he has [recently, before tonight], I have all the confidence that he’ll finish games for us. But, again, that’s contingent on what he’s been doing. He’s been striking the breaking ball and commanding the fastball. Tonight, it just wasn’t there for various reasons.”

—The plan, apparently, remains the same. Continue to give Kimbrel time to get himself on track (and he had gone almost a month without giving up a run). And when the postseason starts, make a determination as to who is best suited to close each game.

—Kimbrel pitched a perfect inning in Sunday’s win over the Giants.

—The best-case postseason scenario in my mind is that the Dodgers lead by so many runs they don’t need a closer in any of their wins.

—The Dodgers have won the NL West in nine of the last 10 seasons. In that time, they have one World Series title, lost in the World Series twice, and lost in the NLCS three times. They need another World Series title for history not to look back on this era as a great meal with a disappointing dessert.

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—The Dodgers’ magic number to clinch home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs is seven. To clinch home-field advantage in the World Series is 11.

—If the playoffs started today, the Dodgers and Mets would get a first-round bye. Philadelphia would play St. Louis in one best-of-three matchup and San Diego would play Atlanta in the other. The Dodgers would face the San Diego-Atlanta winner in a best-of-five series, starting Oct. 11.

—Since joining the Padres, Juan Soto is hitting .205/.373/.323 with four homers in 38 games.

—In the same time frame, Trayce Thompson is hitting .263/.355/.613 with seven homers in 30 games. You have to figure Thompson would have been on the bench most of the time if the Dodgers had traded for Soto.

—Sometimes the best trade is the one you don’t make.

—Speaking of the Padres, they released Matt Beaty, who is now a free agent. It is unlikely he reunites with the Dodgers though.

—This is normally when I start predicting the postseason roster. The position players are pretty much set, but guessing the pitchers beyond the obvious ones is a fool’s errand. With the status of so many (Gonsolin, Treinen, Graterol, Almonte, etc.) in doubt, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens during the next two weeks.

NL Cy Young race

According to the latest odds, Miami’s Sandy Alcantara is the favorite to win the NL Cy Young Award this season, followed by Julio Urías and Atlanta’s Max Fried. Let’s compare the three:

ERA
Urías, 2.27
Alcantara, 2.37
Fried, 2.52

Innings
Alcantara, 212.2
Fried, 175.1
Urías, 158.2

WHIP
Urías, 0.952
Alcantara, 1.013
Fried, 1.015

Hits per 9 IP
Urías, 6.5
Alcantara, 7.0
Fried, 7.5

Walks per 9 IP
Fried, 1.6
Urías, 2.1
Alcantara, 2.1

K’s per 9 IP
Urías, 8.6
Fried, 8.2
Alcantara, 8.0

WAR
Alcantara, 7.0
Fried, 5.7
Urías, 4.2

Complete games
Alcantara, 5
Urías, 0
Fried, 0

Innings pitched per start
Alcantara, 7.1
Fried, 6.3
Urías, 5.7

You might be asking yourself how Alcantara can be favored when Urías is better than him in more categories. Alcantara has pitched 54 more innings. That’s a huge difference. If Urías keeps pitching like he has the last few starts, and Alcantara falters, then Urías could still win.

Speaking of Urías

Colleague Jorge Castillo visited Urías’ hometown recently and watched a game Urías started with his family. In it, Urías’ dad, Carlos, talked about Julio having 10 eye surgeries before he was 10 and how Julio was bullied by other kids because of his eye. It’s a great read and can be found here. Yes, you will have to subscribe to latimes.com to read it, but it’s only $1 for six months. This newsletter remains free.

What have they done lately?

A look at how players the Dodgers traded at the deadline have done on their new teams:

Garrett Cleavinger, Tampa Bay, 1-0, 2.70 ERA, 10 IP, 5 hits, 1 walk, 13 K’s

Jake Lamb, Seattle, .172/.273/.310, 71 OPS+

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Zach McKinstry, Chicago Cubs, .217/.259/.387, 79 OPS+

Mitch White, Toronto, 0-4, 7.47 ERA, 31.1 IP, 42 hits, 11 walks, 24 K’s

What Vin Scully meant to you

Hector Sikes: As a kid growing up in L.A., I was so fortunate to have Vin and Chick Hearn. My mother wouldn’t let me turn on the radio until I completed my homework and showed it to her. Smart mom. The GOAT of all sports. RIP.

Vic Saunders of Ogden, Utah: I grew up in a little town in northern Utah, and my twin brother and I were incurable Dodger fans from the time we first heard the names “Sandy Koufax” and “Don Drysdale” on TV, actually mistaking him, initially, to be “Mr. Drysdale” from “The Beverly Hillbillies.” Once we learned he wasn’t, we were already hooked on Dodger baseball.

We listened to Dodger games on our transistor radio, a big giant Philco, as a hole in the ionosphere would open up about 9 p.m. mountain time. By then, Dodger home games were usually in about the second or third inning, and would come booming through on 640 KFI.

If I have a memory of all those early years listening to Dodger games, it was one night when the Dodgers had mounted a furious comeback against the Giants in Los Angeles, I think it was around 1970. One reason I remember that game is that the organist played charge about every other pitch during the comeback. I had never heard everybody so excited before. But in the ninth inning, “fireman” Jim Brewer came in to try and preserve the Dodger victory.

Brewer had a vicious screwball and ended up striking out the side to earn the win. Each time a Giants batter would swing and miss to strike out, Scully would proclaim, “Screwball! Got ‘em swinging.” I loved the sound of that particular call and never forgot it. That’s when I fell in love with the sound of Vin Scully.

RIP to the greatest sports announcer, and one of the greatest persons, who has ever lived.

Richard Marston of Newport Beach: In 1971 I was a freshman at UCLA, floundering in my studies as an astronomy major …. earning B’s and C’s in a major that pretty much requires straight A’s. I didn’t know what to do, so I wrote a letter to Vin Scully asking for advice on how to become a baseball announcer. To my astonishment, Vin wrote back on Dodger stationery. He wrote: “If you are a student at UCLA, you should not want to be a baseball announcer. Instead, follow these three steps. First, find something you like to study. Second, get good at it. And third, find someone to pay you to do it.”

Pretty simple advice, but I followed it. I changed my major to geography, started earning good grades, and nine years later earned a PhD in and started a 36-year-long career as a professor. The real point of this story is that I gave the same advice to hundreds of students over my career that Vin Scully gave to me, and always gave him credit for it. Guess what? Some of those students contacted me years later and told me they had given Vin’s advice to others! So this story shows how Vin helped not just one lost soul, but three generations.

Don Duenes of Orlando, Fla.: My best Vin Scully story happened in Orlando. I believe it was the early ’80s and I was having lunch at Bay Hill during the PGA event. Lo and behold, there was Vinny, alone, eating. I had to take the opportunity and walked up to the table and said, “Sorry Mr. Scully but I just wanted to thank you for all the countless hours you entertained me while growing up in L.A.” He asked a couple questions on how I got to Orlando and then, to my astonishment, asked me to join him. He then spent a few minutes quizzing me about Bay Hill and the Orlando area. Well, while watching the broadcast that weekend, Vinny repeated the very anecdotes I had shared with him. I will always cherish those few moments I spent with him and the knowledge that I was actually a part of one of his broadcasts.

The last two weeks

Let’s see how everyone has been doing the last two weeks, through Saturday:

Freddie Freeman, .395/.471/.721, 2 doubles, 4 homers, 11 RBIs
Justin Turner, .368/.455/.711, 4 doubles, 3 homers, 11 RBIs
Austin Barnes, .357/.400/.643, 1 double, 1 homer, 1 RBI
Max Muncy, .333/.391/.691, 3 doubles, 4 homers, 11 RBIs
Trea Turner, .300/.340/.520, 4 doubles, 2 triple, 1 homer, 9 RBIs
Chris Taylor, .250/.308/.361, 1 double, 1 homer, 3 RBIs
Will Smith, .205/.326/.410, 2 doubles, 2 homers, 3 RBIs
Mookie Betts, .200/.289/.378, 5 doubles, 1 homer, 4 RBIs
Trayce Thompson, .200/.242/.633, 1 double, 4 homers, 8 RBIs
Cody Bellinger, .172/.314/.207, 1 double, 4 RBIs
Joey Gallo, .147/.216/.382, 2 doubles, 2 homers, 8 RBIs
Hanser Alberto, .125/.125/.125, 1 for 8
Miguel Vargas, .091/.167/.091, 1 for 11
Gavin Lux, .000/.000/.000, 0 for 4
Team: .258/.333/.492, 26 doubles, 2 triples, 23 homers, 6.17 runs per game.

Starting pitchers

Clayton Kershaw, 1.38 ERA, 13 IP, 7 hits, 1 walk, 13 K’s
Tyler Anderson, 1.93 ERA, 14 IP, 13 hits, 2 walks, 5 K’s
Julio Urías, 2.08 ERA, 13 IP, 10 hits, 3 walks, 13 K’s
Dustin May, 2.70 ERA, 10 IP, 5 hits, 4 walks, 7 K’s
Michael Grove, 3.60 ERA, 5 IP, 2 hits, 1 walk, 4 K’s
Andrew Heaney, 6.10 ERA, 10.1 IP, 9 hits, 3 walks, 14 K’s

Relievers

Chris Martin, 0.00 ERA, 6.2 IP, 3 hits, 0 walks, 8 K’s
Phil Bickford, 0.00 ERA, 5.2 IP, 3 hits, 0 walks, 8 K’s
Alex Vesia, 0.00 ERA, 5.1 IP, 1 hit, 2 walks, 9 K’s
Caleb Ferguson, 0.00 ERA, 4.2 IP, 2 hits, 2 walks, 8 K’s
Andre Jackson, 0.00 ERA, 2 IP, 2 hits, 0 walks, 2 K’s
Ryan Pepiot, 0.00 ERA, 2 IP, 3 hits, 4 walks, 2 K’s
Tommy Kahnle, 0.00 ERA, 1.2 IP, 0 hits, 1 walk, 4 K’s
Blake Treinen, 0.00 ERA, 1 IP, 0 hits, 1 walk, 1 K
Evan Phillips, 2.45 ERA, 3.2 IP, 4 hits, 2 walks, 4 K’s
Craig Kimbrel, 3.86 ERA, 4.2 IP, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 K, 1 save
Justin Bruihl, 4.91 ERA, 3.2 IP, 5 hits, 0 walks, 2 K’s
Heath Hembree, 13.50 ERA, 2.2 IP, 6 hits, 2 walks, 2 K’s
Team: 9-3, 2.39 ERA, 109 IP, 76 hits, 29 walks, 107 K’s

28-man roster

The current 28-man roster. Teams are allowed to carry a maximum of 14 pitchers. Rosters will revert to 26 men for the postseason.

Pitchers (14)
Phil Bickford
*Justin Bruihl
*Caleb Ferguson
Michael Grove
*Andrew Heaney
Andre Jackson
Tommy Kahnle
*Clayton Kershaw
Craig Kimbrel
Chris Martin
Dustin May
Evan Phillips
*Julio Urías
*Alex Vesia

*-left-handed

Note: Tyler Anderson is on paternity leave and is scheduled to return Tuesday.

Catchers (2)
Austin Barnes
Will Smith

Infielders (7)
Hanser Alberto
Freddie Freeman
Gavin Lux
Max Muncy
Justin Turner
Trea Turner
Miguel Vargas

Outfielders (5)
Cody Bellinger
Mookie Betts
Joey Gallo
Chris Taylor
Trayce Thompson

Up next

Tonight: Arizona (Merrill Kelly, 12-6, 3.01 ERA) at Dodgers (*Clayton Kershaw, 8-3, 2.44 ERA), 7 p.m., SportsNet LA, AM 570, KTNQ 1020

Tuesday: Arizona (TBD) at Dodgers (TBD), noon, SportsNet LA, AM 570, KTNQ 1020

Tuesday: Arizona (TBD) at Dodgers (TBD), 7 p.m., SportsNet LA, AM 570, KTNQ 1020

Wednesday: Arizona (TBD) at Dodgers (Dustin May, 2-2, 3.46 ERA), 7 p.m., SportsNet LA, AM 570, KTNQ 1020

Thursday: Arizona (TBD) at Dodgers (*Julio Urías, 17-7, 2.27 ERA), 7 p.m., SportsNet LA, AM 570, KTNQ 1020

*-left-handed

Stories you might have missed

Julio Urías, Clayton Kershaw ... then who? Dodgers have time to figure it out

10 eye surgeries by age 10. How Julio Urías beat the odds to become the Dodgers’ ace

For Dodgers like Trayce Thompson and others, winning the NL West has a special meaning

Shaikin: Winning a division might be routine for Dodgers, but it should still be treasured

And finally

Vin Scully recites the “Field of Dreams” speech. Watch and listen 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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