Dodgers Dugout: Reviewing the regular season
Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, and before we look ahead to Wednesday’s National League wild-card game, let’s take a look back at the regular season.
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The Dodgers won 106 games, tying the franchise record set by ... the 2019 Dodgers. Not to be a Debbie Downer, but no Dodgers team that has won 100 or more games has won the World Series.
Trea Turner became the first Dodger since Tommy Davis in 1963 to win the batting title. Turner hit .328, easily outdistancing former Washington Nationals teammate Juan Soto, who hit .313. Some people have written saying they still consider Davis the last Dodger to win the title since Turner spent more time with Washington than the Dodgers. That’s fine, but keep in mind Turner hit better with the Dodgers (.338) than he did with the Nationals (.322). Don’t worry about semantics, just appreciate the great season he had.
Did any Dodgers finish in the top 10 in batting categories? Let’s take a look.
WAR for hitter
3. Trea Turner, 6.5
9. Trea Turner, .375
6. Trea Turner, .536
3. Trea Turner, 107
9. Max Muncy, 95
1. Trea Turner, 195
8. Trea Turner, 34
10. Gavin Lux and Chris Taylor, 4
4. Max Muncy, 36
4. Max Muncy, 83
6. Chris Taylor, 167
Hit by pitch
2. Will Smith, 18
1. Will Smith, 11
Double plays grounded into
5. Trea Turner, 18
1. Trea Turner, 32
3. Trea Turner, 86.49%
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Now for pitching
WAR for pitchers
2. Walker Buehler, 6.7
3. Max Scherzer, 6.0
2. Max Scherzer, 2.46
3. Walker Buehler, 2.47
7. Julio Urías, 2.96
1. Julio Urías, 20
3. Walker Buehler, 16
4. Max Scherzer, 15
1. Max Scherzer, 0.864
4. Walker Buehler, 0.968
6. Julio Urías, 1.018
Hits per 9IP
1. Max Scherzer, 5.97
2. Walker Buehler, 6.46
9. Julio Urías, 7.32
Walks per 9IP
1. Max Scherzer, 1.81
3. Julio Urías, 1.84
K’s per 9IP
2. Max Scherzer, 11.844
5. Blake Treinen, 72
2. Kenley Jansen, 38
2. Walker Buehler, 207.2
7. Julio Urías, 185.2
2. Max Scherzer, 236
7. Walker Buehler, 212
What’s going on with Max Muncy?
No word yet on the severity of his injury, but he won’t be in the lineup Wednesday and it looks unlikely he will be available for the NLDS. The Dodgers have some options without him. They could start Albert Pujols at first, but he hits left-handers much better than right-handers, and St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright is right-handed. They could put Matt Beaty at first, but they seem to not want to start Beaty anywhere because of his poor defense, so it would be a surprise to see him there. The guess is that Cody Bellinger starts at first, with Chris Taylor in center. But that’s only a guess. One thing I have learned in seven seasons of writing this newsletter: Never guess what lineup Dave Roberts and Andrew Friedman will go with because you will always be wrong.
Carl Erskine answers your questions
Erskine, 94, pitched for the Dodgers from 1948 to 1959, finishing with a 122-78 record and 4.00 ERA. He finished ninth in league MVP voting in 1953, when he went 20-6 with a 3.54 ERA. Even more amazing, Erskine spent almost his entire career pitching with a shoulder injury that caused him constant pain. “When they gave you the ball, you pitched. You had to be productive or you didn’t stay. That’s the way it was for everybody,” he said in his book “Tales from the Dodgers Dugout.”
Erskine pitched two no-hitters and retired during the 1959 season. He pitched in five World Series, appearing in 11 games.
So, ask your questions. Send them to me at email@example.com. Make sure you include your first and last name and where you are from and that the subject line reads “Ask Carl Erskine.” Selected questions will be answered by Erskine in an upcoming newsletter. Thanks.
A noble cause
I follow a lot of Dodgers fans on social media because it is important when writing a newsletter like this that you have a general sense of what the average Dodgers fan is thinking. Recently, one of the people I follow on Twitter, Makenna Martin, 20 and a student at UC Davis, came up with an interesting idea and turned it into a way to raise money for charity. On Twitter, she organizes a bracket to select the cutest Dodger. This year, she has added a charitable aspect to it that has raised it to another level and set an example for all Dodgers fans. I asked her a few questions via Twitter:
Q: When did you come up with the hottest Dodger bracket and how has it grown over the years?
Martin: The bracket started off just as an inside joke when I was a senior in high school. A couple of Twitter friends and I had been throwing around the idea of making a bracket to rank the attractiveness of the players, as we were all big fans of both the team and how “hot” we found the players. After a few weeks, I made one, thinking only a couple of us were going to fill it out for our own entertainment. I didn’t do any sort of seeding or anything and just threw all of the names in a randomized generator (which led to some heartbreaking early matchups) and posted it without thinking anything major would come of it. It ended up getting a lot more attention than any of us ever thought it would, and it ended up being a lot of fun. A few days later, I walked out of one of my classes that had no cell service to see that my phone was blowing up with Twitter notifications. I saw that the bracket had been featured on Intentional Talk and spent the whole next class period trying to get the video to load ... including going to the bathroom to try to watch it. I was shocked that it had gotten that level of attention! Every year since then it has gotten more and more popular, and it has evolved into a highly anticipated event within our online community that always ends up being a lot of fun.
Q. I saw that Matt Beaty’s wife, Jesica, filled out a bracket, with a predictable winner. Have any other Dodgers wives/significant others taken part?
Martin: To my knowledge, there haven’t been any other significant others that have partaken in the bracket, but over the years there have been some high-profile acknowledgements. These include it being featured on “Intentional Talk” on MLB Network, Yasiel Puig retweeting someone’s bracket, and Ross Stripling saw it on a podcast, so I’m sure there’s a good likelihood that people within the organization have seen it, which is both hilarious and kind of mortifying at the same time.
Q. The coolest part of the bracket this year is the charitable aspect. Tell us about how you came up with that idea, the charity you chose and how surprised you are about how much money you have raised?
Martin: This is the fourth year that we have done the bracket, but this year I had the idea to incorporate a charitable aspect when the allegations against Trevor Bauer came to light. I, like many other fans, was critical of the Dodgers when they signed him and was horrified when I read about the allegations against him earlier this year. I think that as a fan base it is important to make your voice heard when you disagree with something that has happened, and I thought with all of the attention that the bracket gets every year that this could be a good opportunity to try to raise money and bring awareness to the issue. Given the allegations, I wanted to select a Los Angeles-based charity that focuses on helping women who are suffering domestic violence, and chose the East Los Angeles Women’s Center. With the help of some friends, I organized a couple of prizes to raffle off in exchange for a minimum donation of $5 to the ELAWC. I’m not exactly sure how much money I expected to raise, but I have been blown away by everyone’s generosity in their donations. I believe we have raised at least $1,500, but I am hoping to get in contact with the organization to get a better estimate of how much money we have raised. I am so grateful to have been able to use this silly tradition to enact some real change.
Q. Cody Bellinger won your personal bracket the last couple of years, but this year it was Chris Taylor. What happened?
Martin: For the past three years, I made sure to seed (or rig, depending on how you look at it) the bracket so I could have a Cody Bellinger/Chris Taylor final, and Cody Bellinger had always taken the W. I’ve always been a Chris Taylor girl, and this year coupled with some questionable Bellinger haircuts and the emergence of AJ Pollock in my eyes, the top spot just had to go to Taylor.
Q. When did you become a Dodgers fan and why?
Martin: I’ve pretty much been a Dodger fan since birth. My dad is a diehard fan, so I grew up going to games and watching them on TV all throughout my life. I would say that I started getting more heavily into following them closely in 2017 when I was a junior in high school, and subsequently found an online community when I discovered Dodgers Twitter and have been heavily involved ever since then.
Q. Your prediction for the playoffs this year?
Martin: I would never want to tempt fate and show any hubris, but as long as the Dodgers can get past the wild-card game, I like their chances against anyone!
You can find Martin on Twitter and discover more about the bracket and the raffle by clicking here.
In case you missed it
Vin Scully calls the ninth inning of Dennis Martinez‘s perfect game. Watch and listen here.
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