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Dodgers Dugout: Maury Wills will answer your questions

Maury Wills scores from first base on fourth-inning double by Johnny Podres in Game 6 of the 1959 World Series.
Maury Wills scores from first base on fourth-inning double by Johnny Podres in Game 6 of the 1959 World Series.
(Associated Press)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, and I’ve thrown a lot of numbers at you the last couple of newsletters, so I’ll stay out of the way for the most part today. But before we get to the exciting news, a couple of things.

—The Dodgers have won nine of their last 10, but the Giants have won seven of their last 10, so they are still 2.5 games back.

—Those all-blue City Connect jerseys were hideous. And why not just go with “Los Doyers” instead of “Los Dodgers”?

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—Remember when everyone was convinced the Dodgers and Padres would battle for the division title? The Padres, as of this moment, wouldn’t even make the playoffs. But the Dodgers head to San Diego for a three-game series starting tonight and you know the Padres will be fired up to derail the Dodgers. Expect an emotional series, and if the benches empty once, I wouldn’t be surprised, but let’s hope that doesn’t happen.

—What happened with what looked like a botched double-steal attempt during Sunday’s streak-ending loss to the Mets? “Well, that was a miscommunication on my part,” Dave Roberts said afterward. “I felt Cody [Bellinger] had a really good opportunity to steal a base right there, and he ended up thinking it was a steal-and-stop rather than a straight steal and go all the way. So I own that.”

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Maury Wills will answer your questions

We’ve done some interesting newsletter reader-former Dodger Q&A’s over the years. We’ve had Ron Cey (read it here). Orel Hershiser (read it here). Peter O’Malley (read it here). Jerry Reuss (read it here). The list goes on.

But one of the biggest names has just agreed to answer questions from Dodgers Dugout readers: Maury Wills, whom readers voted the 12th-greatest Dodger of all time in 2018 and in 2020 voted Wills breaking the stolen base record as the 10th-greatest moment in Dodger history.

Wills is credited by many with bringing the stolen base back to baseball. In his first full season as the Dodgers’ shortstop (1960), Wills led the league with 50 stolen bases, becoming the first National League player to steal 50 since Max Carey stole 51 in 1923. He stole more bases by himself than three teams in the National League.

In 1961, it was a bit of a down year stolen base-wise, as he stole only 35, which was still more than the entire Pittsburgh Pirates team stole (29).

Then, 1962 was the year. Wills broke Ty Cobb‘s 47-year-old record by stealing 104 bases and was named NL most valuable player. He stole more bases than every other team in the NL.

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He stole eight bases in April, 19 in May, 15 in June, nine in July and 22 in August. But in September he really turned it on.

In a game against the Cubs in Chicago, he stole second, but the Cubs protested to umpire Jocko Conlan, saying he made the call before the ball even reached the bag.

Conlan replied, “You ain’t got him all year. Why would you think you’d get him this time?”

Wills spent 15 years on the baseball Hall of Fame ballot. The highest percentage he received was 40.6% in 1981 (you need 75% to be elected). He dropped off the ballot after the 1992 election and today his fate rests in the hands of the Golden Days Committee, which next meets in 2025.

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So, one of the greatest Dodgers of all time will answer your questions. Start sending them to houston.mitchell@latimes.com. Make sure you include your first and last name and where you are from and that the subject line reads “Ask Maury Wills”. Selected questions will be answered by Wills in an upcoming newsletter. Thanks.

NL West standings

San Francisco, 80-44, - -
Dodgers, 78-47, 2.5 GB
San Diego, 68-58, 13 GB
Colorado, 57-68, 23.5 GB
Arizona, 42-84, 39 GB

NL wild-card standings

Top two qualify for wild-card playoff game. Winner of that advances to NLDS to face the team with best record.

Dodgers, 78-47, +9.5
Cincinnati, 69-57

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San Diego, 68-58, 1 GB
St. Louis, 63-60, 4.5 GB
Philadelphia, 63-61, 5 GB
New York, 61-63, 7 GB

The rest of the schedule

Who do the Dodgers and Giants play the rest of the way? Let’s take a look.

Dodgers

Home (18)

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Colorado (3), Atlanta (3), San Diego (6), Arizona (3), Milwaukee (3).

Away (19)

San Diego (3), San Francisco (3), St. Louis (4), Cincinnati (3), Colorado (3), Arizona (3).

San Francisco

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Home (20)

Milwaukee (4), Dodgers (3), San Diego (7), Atlanta (3), Arizona (3).

Away (18)

New York Mets (3), Atlanta (3), Colorado (6), Chicago Cubs (3), San Diego (3).

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What’s the Dodgers roster now?

It’s so hard to keep track of every move, so here’s the 26-man roster as of Monday. Expect a move to be made when Julio Urías is activated off the IL to start tonight against the Padres:

Pitchers (13)

Phil Bickford

Justin Bruihl (LHP)

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Walker Buehler

Neftali Feliz

Victor González

Brusdar Graterol

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Shane Greene

Kenley Jansen

Corey Knebel

David Price (LHP)

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Max Scherzer

Blake Treinen

Alex Vesia (LHP)

Catchers (2)

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Austin Barnes

Will Smith

Infielders (6)

Gavin Lux

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Max Muncy

Albert Pujols

Corey Seager

Justin Turner

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Trea Turner

Outfielders (5)

Matt Beaty

Cody Bellinger

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Billy McKinney

AJ Pollock

Chris Taylor

Injury Report

Scott Alexander (10-day IL, left shoulder inflammation): Alexander has had shoulder problems all season.

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Mookie Betts (10-day IL, right hip soreness): Betts says the cortisone shot he received has him pain free for the first time this season and he should be back Thursday.

Danny Duffy (60-day IL, left flexor strain): Duffy believes he has turned a corner on his rehab, but no timetable for his return has been announced.

Tony Gonsolin (10-day IL, right shoulder inflammation): Gonsolin continues working on strengthening his shoulder. It would be a surprise to see him before rosters expand in September.

Cole Hamels (60-day IL, left shoulder injury): Hamels won’t pitch for the Dodgers at all this season.

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Joe Kelly (10-day IL, COVID-19): He should be back tonight against San Diego.

Clayton Kershaw (60-day IL, elbow inflammation): He won’t be available until “sometime in September” according to Roberts. The soonest he could return is Sept. 5.

Evan Phillips (10-day IL, right quad strain): The day after getting the win in his Dodger debut, Phillips was put on the IL.

Jimmie Sherfy (60-day IL, right elbow inflammation): He was transferred to the 60-day IL last week and probably won’t return this season.

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Julio Urías (10-day IL, bruised left calf): Urías is expected to come off the IL and start tonight against San Diego.

Caleb Ferguson, Tommy Kahnle and Dustin May are all recovering from Tommy John surgery and are out the rest of this season. Jimmy Nelson had elbow surgery and is out for the rest of the season. Edwin Ríos had shoulder surgery and is also out for the rest of the season.

In case you missed it

How Trevor Bauer’s victory in court could affect the police sex assault investigation

What we know about the Trevor Bauer case, and what we’ll never know

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Presenting ‘Los Dodgers,’ dressed in blue from head to toe

Alex Vesia looking forward to personal homestand vs. Padres

Up next

Tuesday: Dodgers (TBA) at San Diego (TBA), 7 p.m., SportsNet LA, AM 570, KTNQ 1020

Wednesday: Dodgers (Walker Buehler, 13-2, 2.11 ERA) at San Diego (*Blake Snell, 6-5, 4.82 ERA), 7 p.m., SportsNet LA, AM 570, KTNQ 1020

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Thursday: Dodgers (Max Scherzer, 11-4, 2.65 ERA) at San Diego (TBA), 6 p.m.., SportsNet LA, AM 570, KTNQ 1020

*-left-handed

And finally

Vin Scully tells a touching story about Jose Fernández. 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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