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The Sports Report: Today should be deal-making day for the Dodgers

Will Smith of the San Francisco Giants
Will Smith of the San Francisco Giants.
(Tony Dejak / Associated Press)

Howdy, my name is Houston Mitchell and I successfully replaced that faucet I mentioned yesterday. Next question: Can anyone fix two broken fingers and a bruised forehead? Asking for a friend.

Dodgers

Bill Plaschke on what the Dodgers need to do before today’s 1 p.m. PDT trade deadline.

“How much would you pay for five World Series wins?

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“How much would you give up for consecutive World Series championships?

“That is the question the Dodgers must ask themselves in these waning hours before the Wednesday afternoon trade deadline, because their task is clear.

“There is only one hole in what is arguably their best team in 31 years. There is only one missing piece that could prevent them from winning their first championship since 1988.

“They need one thing, and they know it better than anybody, because it is the one thing that has haunted them for two Octobers, the one thing that could eventually haunt them forever.

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“They need quality bullpen help, and they need to give up whatever is necessary for them to acquire it, because this is their chance to change history. This is their championship, right here, right now.

“You say they can’t trade their best prospects? I say, a full handful of World Series wins.

“You say, how can they give up infielder Gavin Lux and pitcher Dustin May? I say, consecutive championship parades.

“In recounting the 2017 loss to the Houston Astros and 2018 loss to the Boston Red Sox, there have been many villains. Some folks blame Dave Roberts. Others blame Clayton Kershaw. Many blame the Dodgers offense. Everyone blames Yu Darvish.

“Yet the hard truth is, if the bullpen performed at even a reasonable level, they turn five of those World Series losses into victories and win two championships in the process.

“You want to relive it all for a second? Me neither, but here goes.

“In their Game 2 loss to the Astros, Kenley Jansen was on the mound with a 3-1 lead in the eighth, blew the save, and the Dodgers lost 7-6 in 11 innings.

“In their Game 5 loss to the Astros, the bullpen took over with a 7-4 lead in the fifth inning and imploded into an eventual 13-12 loss in 10 innings.

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“In their Game 1 loss to the Red Sox, Kershaw left with a 3-3 tie in the fifth inning and the bullpen detonated into an 8-4 loss.

“In their Game 2 loss to the Red Sox, Hyun-Jin Ryu left with a 2-1 lead in the fifth inning and the bullpen flared into a 4-2 loss.

“In their Game 4 loss to the Red Sox, Rich Hill left in the seventh inning with a 4-0 lead and the bullpen was on the mound when the Sox scored nine runs leading to a 9-6 defeat.

“This year they currently have basically the same type of bullpen, with one difference, and it’s not a good one. Kenley Jansen has not been Kenley Jansen. He has a career high 3.67 ERA. He has a career low confidence in his trademark cutter.

“They don’t have a candidate to be a co-closer against left-handers. With Joe Kelly still so inconsistent, they don’t have an eighth-inning setup guy. They rank in the bottom third in the league in inherited runners scored. As in past years, the bullpen is notable not for what it has, but for what it is missing. To attempt to navigate a third October with the same type of crew is the definition of insanity.”

More reading:

Dodgers rebound from routs to defeat Rockies

Dave Roberts recalls the pain of being traded by the Dodgers

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Angels’ Justin Upton given the day off in effort to end his slump

Indians send Trevor Bauer to Reds in three-team deal involving Yasiel Puig

Rams

Many fans are focusing on Todd Gurley’s recovery from a knee injury, but it will be just as important for Cooper Kupp to return to form too from his knee injury. Gary Klein has an update on Kupp:

“Despite Cooper Kupp’s enthusiasm and apparent fitness, when the Rams opened training camp last weekend, questions lingered about the wide receiver’s surgically repaired left knee and how that might affect what has become one of the NFL’s most prolific offenses the last two seasons.

“Kupp looked strong in early individual drills and caught mostly uncontested passes as the initial workout at UC Irvine progressed.

“Then Kupp ran a route across the middle of the field during a full-squad scrimmage period.

“Quarterback Jared Goff delivered a high pass. Kupp, with two defenders nearly draped across his body, leaped with hands outstretched.

“When the ball’s in the air, as a receiver, it’s just you want to be a Frisbee-catching dog out there,” Kupp said.

“Kupp caught the pass and landed without the slightest hint of a problem.

“The entire Rams organization sighed in relief.

“I asked him, ‘Hey, you’re glad you got that one, huh?’ ” Goff said. “He was like, ‘Yeah, it felt good.’ ”

“Kupp’s knee issue has not generated the same offseason scrutiny as running back Todd Gurley’s. But the third-year pro’s return to form is regarded as crucial if the passing game is to equal or surpass last season’s production.”

More reading:

Rams rookie Darrell Henderson is making strides at running back

Forrest Lamp has line on Chargers’ starting job after two years of knee problems

Odds and ends

UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson is ready to take Bruins fans on a thrill ride…. Five things to watchduring UCLA’s training camp…. A kid who never outgrew his love for college football got the best job in the world…. College football 2019: Can anyone beat Alabama and Clemson?…. Canelo Alvarez’s next opponent approved for an October fight…. Third horse dies in training at Del Mar…. Jill Ellis will step down as coach of U.S. women’s national soccer team

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Our Dodgers newsletter, written by me. Subscribe here.

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Soccer newsletter, written by Kevin Baxter. Subscribe here.

Today’s local major sports schedule

Dodgers at Colorado, noon, SportsNet LA, AM 570

Detroit at Angels, 1 p.m., FSW, AM 830

Born on this date

1919: Sportscaster Curt Gowdy

1936: Former Dodger Vic Davalillo

1951: Tennis player Evonne Goolagong Cawley

1957: Baseball player Leon Durham

1958: Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban

1962: NFL player Kevin Greene

1971: NFL player Gus Frerotte

1974: UCLA/NFL player Jonathan Ogden

And finally

Vic Davalillo keys an amazing comeback by the Dodgers in Game 3 of the 1977 NLCS. Watch it here.

That concludes the newsletter for today. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, please email us here. If you want to subscribe, click here.


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