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Dodgers Dugout: It’s almost time

Max Muncy
Max Muncy
(Associated Press)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, and the moment we have been waiting for is almost here.

It’s almost time

Well, the playoffs (for the Dodgers) start Thursday. They will play either the Washington Nationals, Milwaukee Brewers or St. Louis Cardinals, depending on which team wins Tuesday’s wild-card game. The Dodgers went 4-3 against Milwaukee and Washington and 3-4 against St. Louis this season. The NLDS is best-of-five.

Quick poll: Which team would you prefer to be the Dodgers opponent? Click here to vote.

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Let’s take a look at a few things before the playoffs begin. We’ll be back Thursday with a full playoff preview.

Home-field advantage

The Dodgers will have home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs. Here’s how it looks as far as the World Series goes:

Houston, 104-55

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Dodgers, 103-56

New York Yankees, 102-57

The Astros and Yankees have the tie-breaker advantage over the Dodgers. No other AL team can finish with a better record than L.A.

Corey Seager

He left Wednesday’s game with a tight left hamstring and did not play in Thursday’s game.

“Nothing alarming,” Dave Roberts said Wednesday. “We just wanted to get ahead of it, get him out of the game.”

This is the same hamstring that sidelined Seager for a few weeks earlier this season. While all accounts are that it’s nothing to worry about, it won’t stop many of us from worrying about it. Seager has been the Dodgers’ hottest hitter recently. In his last 14 games, he is hitting .377/.411/.774 with five homers and 17 RBIs.

Joe Kelly

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He has pitched just once since Sept. 14 because of “overall body soreness.” No one really knows what that means. If I was hit by a train, I would have “overall body soreness.” I also have “overall body soreness” after spending the day at Disneyland. So, it’s a pretty general diagnosis. Kelly is supposed to pitch Sunday, so I guess we’ll have to wait and see. At least his arm will be fresh, but will this long layoff hurt his command? The Dodgers have enough questions in the bullpen without adding this to the mix.

Justin Turner

He is two for eight since returning from his ankle injury. He sat out Thursday’s game because of back tightness. He’s beginning to remind me of Indiana Jones, who said “It’s not the years, it’s the mileage.”

Max Muncy

Since returning from his wrist injury, he is hitting .194/.293/.375 with a homer and 10 RBIs in nine games. Now would be a good time to get back in the groove.

Cody Bellinger

In his last 12 games, he is hitting .255/.314/.447 and is in danger of finishing the season below .300 after flirting with .400 near the end of May. This is the same Bellinger who has career postseason numbers of .172/.226/.336 with 45 strikeouts in 116 at-bats. Need I say more?

Bullpen

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I’m going to treat the bullpen like I do most of my problems: Ignore it and hope it goes away on its own.

But really, who are we kidding? This season has been excruciatingly long because it was obvious pretty quickly that the Dodgers would win the NL West. So, we had to wait week after week for the playoffs, all with the fear that the bullpen would sink the team. We only have a few more days to wait and hope almost everyone was wrong.

NLDS schedule

Here’s the NLDS schedule. Teams and times to be determined. Game 1, 2 and 5 (if necessary) would be at Dodger Stadium.

Thursday, Oct. 3, TBS

Friday, Oct. 4, TBS

Sunday, Oct. 6, TBS

Monday, Oct. 7*, TBS

Wednesday, Oct. 9*, TBS

*-if necessary.

NLCS schedule (Games 1, 2, 6 and 7 at team with best record)

Friday, Oct. 11, TBS

Saturday, Oct. 12, TBS

Monday, Oct. 14, TBS

Tuesday, Oct. 15, TBS

Wednesday, Oct. 16*, TBS

Friday, Oct. 18*, TBS

Saturday, Oct. 19*, TBS

World Series (Games 1, 2, 6 and 7 at team with best record)

Tuesday, Oct. 22, Fox

Wednesday, Oct. 23, Fox

Friday, Oct. 25, Fox

Saturday, Oct. 26, Fox

Sunday, Oct. 27*, Fox

Tuesday, Oct. 29*, Fox

Wednesday, Oct. 30*, Fox

*-if necessary.

Ask Ross Porter

This is the last Ask Ross Porter of the season. We hope to have Ross back next season, if all goes well. He has done this for five seasons now, and has done it for free. He never believes me, but I tell him this is the best part of the newsletter, and I’m glad he has been able to connect with fans and see how much he means to many Dodger fans. Take it away, Ross.

Gene in Redondo Beach asks: Have the Dodgers ever finished a regular season with a more decisive lead than this year?

Ross: No. The 1955 Dodgers wound up 13 1/2 games ahead. This 2019 team is now 21 up so will close 18 to 24 in front. Cleveland set the record for blowouts in 1995, winning by 30 games.

Rob Powell in Reno asks: This Dodger club was tough to beat at home. Did they set a record at Chavez Ravine?

Ross: They sure did, Rob. The home record was 59-22. That is the best of the 62 Los Angeles teams who have played in the National League. The 2017 Dodgers were 57-24.

Ken Rosenberg of Scottsdale, Ariz. asks: I’m curious to know how many men have played in the major leagues.

Ross: 19,689.

Sam King of Las Vegas asks: Which Dodgers have the highest stolen base percentages in one season?

Ross: Jamey Carroll 100% (10 for 10) 2011; Dave Roberts 97% (33 for 34) 2004; Eric Davis 95% (19 for 20) 1992; Cody Bellinger 93% (14 for 15) 2018. Source: baseball-reference

Michael Holdren asks: Ross, in your storied 28-year career with the Dodgers, what was your most memorable broadcast?

Ross: On Aug. 23, 1989, I had to announce a game on radio in Montreal between the Dodgers and Expos by myself because Vin and Don were in Los Angeles. No one scored until the 22nd inning when Rick Dempsey homered and the Dodgers won, 1-0. The game lasted 6:14. I hold the major-league record for the longest solo broadcast by a play-by-play announcer. And I don’t even remember having a sore throat.

Dr. Ross Porter asks: Dad, who do you think will win the World Series?

Ross: Houston Astros

I can’t believe six months of “Ask Ross” ends today. My thanks to all of you who sent me such good questions, and to Houston who made it possible to contribute to his exceptional, informational newsletter.

You can follow Ross on Twitter: @therossporter

Up next

All times Pacific

Tonight: Dodgers (Walker Buehler) at San Francisco (Johnny Cueto), 7 p.m.

Saturday: Dodgers (*Hyun-Jin Ryu) at San Francisco (Logan Webb), 1 p.m., KTLA

Sunday: Dodgers (*Rich Hill) at San Francisco (*Madison Bumgarner), noon

* left-handed

And finally

Three Dodgers take part in a blind taste test. 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.


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