Dodgers Dugout: Looking at a potential playoff roster

Corey Seager will definitely be on the playoff roster.
(Associated Press)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, and it seems like it is taking forever for the playoffs to start.

While we wait for the regular season to end, there are some questions that will need to be answered before the playoffs begin. The big question is the bullpen, but we have talked about that ad infinitum, so let’s table that for now and look at two other questions: Who will be on the playoff roster and will the Dodgers have home-field advantage in the playoffs?

The playoff roster


There are still a little over two weeks left in the season, so a lot can happen, but if the season ended today, who would be on the playoff roster? Let’s take a look, assuming the team goes with 13 position players and 12 pitchers as it did last season:

Position players who are locks to make the team:
Cody Bellinger
Kiké Hernandez
Russell Martin
Joc Pederson
A.J. Pollock
Corey Seager
Will Smith
Chris Taylor
Justin Turner

Position players on roster if healthy:
Max Muncy
Alex Verdugo

That’s 11 players right there. Things look promising for Muncy to come back, but not as promising for Verdugo, whose oblique injury is OK but is now dealing with back issues. So, let’s say Muncy comes back and Verdugo doesn’t. That leaves three spots left among: Austin Barnes, Matt Beaty, David Freese, Jedd Gyorko, Gavin Lux, Khristoper Negron, Edwin Rios.

The only way Barnes makes it is if the Dodgers feel they need three catchers. Seems unlikely. Or if Smith goes 0 for 60 to end the season. Also seems unlikely. I don’t see Gyorko making it. He’s four for 26 since being acquired. Even if Muncy is hurt, I think the Dodgers would go with Lux over Gyorko. And I think Lux only makes the team if Muncy is hurt. (Again, Lux could go 20 for 25 and force his way on the roster, those are my thoughts as of today).

So that leaves Beaty, Freese and Rios. If Verdugo comes back, Rios is gone. That means the 13 position players would be Beaty, Bellinger, Freese, Hernandez, Martin, Muncy, Pederson, Pollock, Seager, Smith, Taylor, Turner and Verdugo or Rios.

Now the pitchers

Pitchers who are locks to make the team

Pedro Baez
Walker Buehler
Kenley Jansen
Joe Kelly
Clayton Kershaw
Kenta Maeda
Hyun-Jin Ryu
Julio Urias

Will make team if healthy
Rich Hill

Hill started Thursday night against Baltimore, but had to leave after hurting a knee. Initial reports are that it was not serious. Let’s hope that’s the case and assume he will be healthy (a big assumption, I know). That leaves three roster spots.

Pitchers on the bubble

Caleb Ferguson
Dylan Floro
Yimi Garcia
Tony Gonsolin
Adam Kolarek
Dustin May
Casey Sadler
Ross Stripling

I’m sure the Dodgers will want to take at least one more left-hander for the bullpen, meaning either Ferguson or Kolarek makes the team. I’ll pick Kolarek, but really, they are both auditioning the next two weeks and how either has performed against the first-round playoff opponent will carry a lot of weight as to who makes the team.

That leaves Floro, Garcia, Gonsolin, May, Sadler and Stripling for the last two spots. A lot will depend on matchups. Who will the Dodgers play in the first round? Have any of these pitchers had particular success against that team? Will Garcia be on the team all season only to be left off the playoff roster? Sadler was pitching well but has struggled a bit recently. Stripling has playoff experience. I don’t see Gonsolin making the team unless Hill is hurt. May has not pitched that well in the bullpen. I’d probably go with Sadler and Stripling, but you can make a case for any of them, and they are all auditioning the next two weeks.

In short, the odds that I picked the exact 25-man roster are long. But, at least you have all the candidates in one place to look at. Who would you pick for the bullpen?

Now watch the Dodgers mess me up entirely by going with 12 positions players and 13 pitchers.

Home-field advantage

Let’s look at the records first:

New York Yankees, 97-51, ---
Houston Astros, 95-53, 2 GB
Dodgers, 95-53, 2 GB
Atlanta, 91-57, 6 GB
Minnesota, 89-57, 7 GB

I still think the Astros end up with the best overall record. I think the Dodgers will hold off Atlanta for best record in the NL, but won’t have home-field advantage in the World Series if they play Houston or the Yankees. But how important is home-field advantage. Let’s take a look at the NLCS, ALCS and World Series since 2001 and see how many times the team with HFA won the series. We’ll list the team with HFA and if they won or not.

NLCS: Arizona had HFA, Win series? yes
ALCS: Seattle, no
World Series: Arizona, yes

NLCS: St. Louis, no
ALCS: Minnesota, no
World Series: Angels, yes

NLCS: Chicago, no
ALCS: New York, yes
World Series: New York Yankees, no

NLCS: St. Louis, yes
ALCS: New York, no
World Series: Boston, yes

NLCS: St. Louis, no
ALCS: Chicago, yes
World Series: Chicago White Sox, yes

NLCS: New York, no
ALCS: Oakland, no
World Series: Detroit, no

NLCS: Arizona, no
ALCS: Boston, yes
World Series: Boston, yes

NLCS: Philadelphia, yes
ALCS: Tampa Bay, yes
World Series: Tampa Bay, no

NLCS: Dodgers, no
ALCS: New York, yes
World Series: New York Yankees, yes

NLCS: Philadelphia, no
ALCS: Texas, yes
World Series: San Francisco, yes

NLCS: Milwaukee, no
ALCS: Texas, yes
World Series: St. Louis, yes

NLCS: San Francisco, yes
ALCS: New York, no
World Series: San Francisco, yes

NLCS: St. Louis, yes
ALCS: Boston, yes
World Series: Boston, yes

NLCS: St. Louis, no
ALCS: Baltimore, no
World Series: Kansas City, no

NLCS: New York, yes
ALCS: Kansas City, yes
World Series: Kansas City, yes

NLCS: Chicago, yes
ALCS: Cleveland, yes
World Series: Cleveland, no

NLCS: Dodgers, yes
ALCS: Houston, yes
World Series: Dodgers, no

NLCS: Milwaukee, no
ALCS: Boston, yes
World Series, Boston, yes

So, in those 54 series, the team with home-field advantage won 32 times and the team without won 22 times. In the last four years, after the first-round teams with HFA have won nine of 12 series.


The Dodgers clinched the NL West for the seventh straight year when they defeated Baltimore earlier this week. They celebrated in the clubhouse, which disappointed many Dodgers fans. I used to be among those who said “save the celebrating for winning the World Series.” But, I’ve come around to the other side. It’s a long season, and you never know what the future might bring. This might be the only chance guys like Will Smith get to celebrate making the playoffs, and I’m sure celebrating isn’t going to cause everyone to lose their focus on what the ultimate goal is. If they lost their focus that easily, well, they weren’t going to win the World Series anyway.

The best part was Dave Roberts not letting the celebration begin until they could get Max Muncy and Alex Verdugo on Facetime so they could be part of it. They are both rehabbing their injuries and weren’t able to be there in person, but Roberts wanted to make sure they knew they were still important parts of the team.

Justin Turner

The Dodgers third baseman has been sidelined by a nagging injury to his left ankle, only no one knows exactly what the injury is.

Turner had an MRI exam to ensure there isn’t any structural damage after X-rays taken in Los Angeles on Sunday were deemed “inconclusive,” according to Roberts.

“So it has to be taken as a good thing,” Roberts said. “But symptomatically, just still doesn’t feel right.”

“If there was an incident that kind of happened, [I’d] maybe be more [concerned], but he really can’t recount what led to the discomfort when he woke up in the morning a few days ago with the soreness. So just kind of really [need to] gather more information. But, right now, where we’re at, to push it doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

Ned Colletti

The former Dodgers GM, who now serves as a pre-game and post-game analyst on Sportsnet LA, was hired as a scout by the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. He will remain as an analyst.

“I don’t see it as work,” Colletti said. “I watch so many baseball and hockey games … it’s really what I do. It’s what I’ve been doing my whole life. I love the work. I talked to the Dodgers, the Sharks, and they were aware of my thought process.

“The regular seasons don’t really overlap. The post-seasons do, but most of the scouting I’ll be doing for the NHL will be done when baseball starts. I’ll mix and match a little bit in October. It kind of blends perfectly.”

Ask Ross Porter

Ross Porter will once again answer reader questions this season. All you have to do is email me your question at I will forward the email to Ross, and he will answer some each week. Take it away, Ross.

Don Sumner of Dale, Oklah. asks: Can the dodgers set the franchise record for wins in a season?

Ross: Very doubtful, Don, as they need 11 victories in 14 games to reach 106.

Deana Langer of Northridge asks: The Dodgers are only four games ahead of the Braves to decide home-field advantage in the National League playoffs with 14 games to go. Ross, what do their remaining schedules look like?

Ross: Atlanta has three in Washington, three each with the Phillies and Giants at home, two in Kansas City and three against the Mets on the road. The Dodgers play three at the Mets, 2 two with the Rays and three facing the Rockies at home, and then three apiece at San Diego and San Francisco. If they tie, the dodgers get home-field advantage because they won four of six from the Braves this season, including all three at home. So Atlanta really needs to make up five games.

Calvin Warner of Nashville asks: What has never been done in a major league game?

Ross: Here’s a sampling. By a player: Five home runs, four triples, five doubles, eight hits in eight at-bats, four RBIs without reaching base, caught stealing five times. By a team: Five consecutive home runs, four pinch homers, nine teammates homer, two batting cycles, a marlins cycle, a padres no-hitter, a birthday no-hitter, 20 strikeout no-hitter, and two 4-strikeout innings.

Bruce Hanson of Palm Desert asks: Who leads in at-bats per home run in Dodgers history?

Ross: Max Muncy, a homer every 11.3 at-bats in 2018; Cody Bellinger, 11.5 (2019); Gary Sheffield, 11.7 (2000).

Parker Handlin of Fort Worth asks: Ross, I’m guessing the Dodgers have more wins than losses all time.

Ross: You are right, Parker. In their 136 seasons, the Dodgers have won 10,963 games and lost 9,815.

Follow Ross on twitter at therossporter.

More KTLA games

Three more Dodgers games will be televised on KTLA Channel 5 this season:

Saturday, 4 p.m. at New York Mets

Saturday, Sept. 21, 6 p.m. vs. Colorado Rockies

Saturday, Sept. 28, 1 p.m. at San Francisco

Up next

All times Pacific

Tonight: Dodgers (*Clayton Kershaw) at New York Mets (Noah Syndergaard), 4 p.m.

Saturday: Dodgers (*Hyun-Jin Ryu) at New York Mets (Jacob deGrom), 4 p.m.

Sunday: Dodgers (Walker Buehler) at New York Mets (Zack Wheeler), 4 p.m., ESPN

* left-handed

And finally

Steve Yeager hits a three-run homer in Game 5 of the 1977 World Series. Watch it here.

Have a comment or something you’d like to see in a future Dodgers newsletter? Email me and follow me on Twitter: @latimeshouston. Subscribe to this newsletter by clicking here.