Advertisement

Dodgers Dugout: A potential postseason roster

Clayton Kershaw
(Raul Romero Jr. / Associated Press)
Share via

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, and we send out best wishes to those in Florida recovering from Hurricane Ian.

A lot of fans were unhappy that Craig Kimbrel pitched in a key situation Tuesday night and walked in the winning run in the 4-3 loss to the Padres. Keep in mind that the rest of the season is getting everything set for the postseason. Winning every game isn’t as important as making sure everyone is at 100%.

By the way, in the postseason, there is no “Runner starts on second base in extra innings.”

Enjoying this newsletter?

Your support helps us deliver the news that matters most. Become a Los Angeles Times subscriber.

I’m getting a lot of predictions from readers as to who will be on the postseason roster. And while there are some question marks that make a guaranteed prediction impossible, let’s do our best. Teams can not have more than 13 pitchers on the roster, so the days of 14 pitchers-12 position players are over.

Position player locks

Catchers (2)
Austin Barnes
Will Smith

Infielders (5)
Freddie Freeman
Gavin Lux
Max Muncy
Justin Turner
Trea Turner

Outfielders (4)
Cody Bellinger
Mookie Betts
Chris Taylor
Trayce Thompson

That leaves two spots open for three people: Hanser Alberto, Joey Gallo and Miguel Vargas (I’m assuming they aren’t going to suddenly put James Outman on the postseason roster.)

Alberto has been with the team all season, and really should be on the roster above. But he has played only eight games this month and hasn’t hit well this season (.225/.235/.344). His OPS+ is 57, meaning he is 43% worse than a league-average hitter. He has played every infield position and right field this season. His competition is Vargas, who, counting his games in the minors, has played first, second, third and left. But Vargas isn’t hitting either. He is at .195/.209/.293, 41 OPS+. He did go one for two with three RBIs on Thursday, but right now, Alberto is the heavy favorite.

Advertisement

That leaves the final spot for Vargas or Gallo. And does anything need to be said about Gallo? When he hits the ball, it goes a long way. But he doesn’t often hit the ball, striking out 50 times in 103 at-bats with the Dodgers. It reminds me of the Curtis Granderson acquisition at the 2017 trade deadline. Granderson hit .161 in 36 games and looked lost at the plate. He went one for 15 with eight strikeouts in the National League Division Series and NLCS combined, and that was the last we saw of Granderson with the Dodgers.

The guess here is the Dodgers will give Gallo every opportunity to come out of his slump between now and the postseason, and then make a decision. If the season ended today, I think they would look at who their opponent is, see how many left-handed starters they have, then make a decision accordingly.

Pitchers

Starters (3)
Tyler Anderson
Clayton Kershaw
Julio Urías

Relievers (8)
Yency Almonte
Caleb Ferguson
Brusdar Graterol
Tommy Kahnle
Chris Martin
Evan Phillips
David Price
Alex Vesia

Multiple questions marks here. Almonte and Price just came off the injured list, so are they really 100%? The Dodgers will need another starter, which will be Tony Gonsolin or Dustin May, depending on which one is the healthiest. Gonsolin is scheduled to start Monday. If neither of them can go, then Andrew Heaney is ready. He had a 5.50 ERA in September before Thursday’s game, which is why he is not a lock to make the roster. They had Graterol start Thursday, with Heaney coming out of the bullpen, to see how Heaney handles a relief role. Considering he pitched four scoreless innings, it appears he can handle it pretty well. If you add another starter, then that leaves one spot in the bullpen. Will Blake Treinen be ready? Do you put Kimbrel on the roster? If Gonsolin and May are healthy, you could put one in the rotation and one in the bullpen. Basically, what it comes down to, is no Dodger fan wants to see Kimbrel in the game in a key situation.

And some of these decisions will depend on the opponent.

Last call for Jaime Jarrín

These last six games against the Colorado Rockies will be the final six regular season games that Dodgers Spanish broadcaster Jaime Jarrín calls. He has been calling Dodgers games for only 64 years, so what’s the big deal?

Recently, Jorge Castillo talked with Jarrín about the end of his iconic career, in a story you can read here.

“I feel really good physically, mentally really good,” Jarrín, 86, said in Spanish. “I think I could keep working four or five more years, but no, I think this is the precise moment.”

Jarrín has called approximately 11,000 Dodger games. Just think about that for a second. He didn’t miss a game from 1962 to 1984. Amazing. I can’t even write a Dodgers newsletter twice a week without taking a week off at some point.

Advertisement

“I’m going to miss the baseball because I now have baseball in my veins, in my blood,” Jarrín said. “But I’m a very practical person. I don’t want to need a walker to move around in my final years. It’s been an extraordinary career. It’s the right time.”

Make sure you read Jorge’s excellent story by clicking here.

Why six games against Colorado?

The reason the Dodgers are closing the season with six games at home against the Rockies? The first week of the season was postponed because of the lockout (that seems like a million years ago). Instead of canceling the first week of the season, they moved all those games, with the opening three games against Colorado moved to the end of the season. That’s also why the season ends on a Wednesday instead of the traditional Sunday.

What Vin Scully meant to you

Glenn Oshima: I had known that the July 12, 2013 game at Dodger Stadium was to be Japanese American Community Night but as I drove my car home and had the radio tuned in to the upcoming Dodgers game, I heard Vin Scully offer his thanks to three WWII Nisei veterans who participated in that night’s ceremonial ball toss.

It brought tears to my eyes. It was a surprise and unforgettable moment for me to hear someone of such stature give tribute to those veterans for the service they had given to us.

Owen Higgs: I grew up in Upland. Once a year my dad would take my Cub Scout troop to a Dodger game. You could sit in the bleachers and watch a game for about $1. When I was 12 (this was 1968) I was devastated when dad moved the family to Utah because of work. One night it came to me that the radio station that broadcast the Dodgers advertised itself as being 50,000 watts. I thought, “I wonder…” So I asked my dad if I could borrow his tabletop radio and took it downstairs to my bedroom. Lo and behold the game faintly came in! There was Vin Scully’s voice.

Advertisement

Needless to say dad never got the radio back. Almost every night I’d sit on the floor in my bedroom leaning against the bed listening to Vin. Sometimes the signal would fade out in the middle of an exciting play and I would nervously await the signal’s return to find out what happened. I remember listening one night against the Pirates. Vin was describing the fog and the heavy air that kept the ball from traveling very far. The fog was so thick Vin said you could barely make out the outfielders.

Then Willie Stargell stepped to the plate and hit a ball clear out of Dodger Stadium. Despite the play being beneficial to the other team Vin was so excited. I believe he said it was the first time a ball had ever been hit out of the stadium. Over 50 years later I still remember that call. It was so vivid and painted such a detailed picture in my mind that to this day I have to convince myself that I was actually not there.

Jeff Pollack: It will be very tough to not have Vin Scully around. His voice anchored the turbulent times and sent a signal that everything was going to be OK. Never more than the night of June 8, 1968.

I was a young teen, watching Don Drysdale pursue Walter Johnson’s scoreless innings record. The night Don pitched his sixth consecutive shutout was the night of the California primary. Robert Kennedy, who was a close friend of Drysdale, congratulated Don in his victory speech just before he was shot. The day they buried RFK, Don broke the record. But before that game started, all of us listened to hear what Vinnie might say … to define the undefinable, to try to make sense of what had happened:

“Hi, everybody and welcome to Dodger Stadium. They say the eye of the storm is the quiet part and here, Dodger Stadium has suddenly become the eye of the storm. A large crowd, approximately 50,000, and the winds of all kinds of emotions swirling around the ballpark.

“Certainly, there are still the winds of sorrow. What a dreadful, drab and heartbreaking day it has been. But as the gray skies now slowly start to disappear tonight, so too the feelings in the ballpark are turning. And from almost the pits of despair, we concentrate on a child’s game: a ball, a bat and some people hitting it, throwing it and catching it, and particularly, Don Drysdale’s big night in baseball.”

Advertisement

Keats couldn’t have said it any better.

Up next

Tonight: Colorado (Chad Kuhl, 6-10, 5.45 ERA) at Dodgers (*Clayton Kershaw, 10-3, 2.42 ERA), 7 p.m., SportsNet LA, AM 570, KTNQ 1020

Saturday: Colorado (*Kyle Freeland, 9-11, 4.63 ERA) at Dodgers (Michael Grove, 1-0, 4.07 ERA), 6 p.m., SportsNet LA, AM 570, KTNQ 1020

Sunday: Colorado (German Márquez, 8-13, 5.12 ERA) at Dodgers (*Tyler Anderson, 15-4, 2.54 ERA), 1 p.m., SportsNet LA, AM 570, KTNQ 1020

Monday: Colorado (TBD) at Dodgers (Tony Gonsolin, 16-1, 2.10 ERA), 7 p.m., SportsNet LA, AM 570, KTNQ 1020

Tuesday: Colorado (TBD) at Dodgers (*Julio Urías, 17-7, 2.17 ERA), 7 p.m., SportsNet LA, FS1, AM 570, KTNQ 1020

Wednesday: Colorado (TBD) at Dodgers (*Clayton Kershaw, 10-3, 2.42 ERA), 1:15 p.m., SportsNet LA, FS1, AM 570, KTNQ 1020

*-left-handed

Stories you might have missed

George Lopez pays tribute to Dodgers broadcaster Jaime Jarrín: He is ‘truly special’

Dodgers’ postseason rotation plans coming into focus, with Tony Gonsolin a possibility

And finally

Vin Scully reads a grocery list. 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.

Advertisement