In case you missed it: Pre-NLDS news and notes
By Jon Weisman
Tomorrow really is just a day away. Friday’s opening game of the National League Division Series between the Dodgers and Nationals comes in about 24 hours, depending on when exactly you’re reading this.
Here’s what been percolating …
- Corey Seager is a finalist for the National League’s 2016 Hank Aaron Award, which honors the most outstanding offensive performer in each league. (Matt Kemp won the NL’s Hank Aaron Award in 2011.) Fans can vote for the award through October 14 at MLB.com or on Twitter using hashtags — for Seager, it’s #VoteCorey.
- Justin Turner has a first-person piece at The Players Tribune that looks back at the Dodgers’ comeback season and is guaranteed to get you excited for the playoffs.
- The Dodgers’ struggles against left-handed pitching have been exhaustively documented, but Ben Lindbergh of the Ringer has perhaps done the best job of putting them in context.
- Only the Cubs and Red Sox have a better chance of winning the World Series than the Dodgers, according to Rob Arthur at FiveThirtyEight.
- Here’s a position-by-position comparison of the Dodgers and Nationals, by Mike Petriello of MLB.com.
- Petriello also wrote about the relationship between former Mets infielders Daniel Murphy and Turner.
- Dodger pitching is well-positioned to take advantage of the playoff schedule, writes Fangraphs’ Jeff Sullivan in this piece for ESPN.com.
- The Dodger bullpen won a competition for the best in the Majors, according to Matt Kelly of MLB.com.
- How do you beat the Nationals? MLB.com compiled the thoughts of rival players in this piece. (Don’t tell anyone that the same thing was done about the Dodgers.)
- For a team with a big payroll, few of the Dodgers came from the free-agent market, notes Jim Callis of MLB.com.
- When Rich Hill pitches Saturday in Game 2, it will be against a team that parted ways with him 15 months ago when he was with Washington’s Triple-A affiliate in Syracuse, writes Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post: “Hill said he exercised an out clause in his contract. Nationals officials gave the impression he would have been released if he did not.”
- Lots of good tibits from Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. can be found in his NLDS preview.
- Stephen also offered some good notes on the 2016 regular season.
- The key reasons why the Dodgers can win the World Series are highlighted by Dustin Nosler of Dodgers Digest.
- The challenge Clayton Kershaw faces in talking about himself was captured by Andy McCullough of the Times.
- Dusty Baker told the story of how he became a Dodger before the 1976 season, as Bill Shaikin of the Times recounts.
- Baker and Dave Roberts form the first postseason showdown by minority managers ever, writes Jon Paul Morosi for MLB.com.
- Washington’s running game could be a key component of the NLDS, writes Jack Baer of MLB.com.
- When each started the season slowly at the plate, clubhouse locker-mates Howie Kendrick and Turner provided a support system for each other, writes Doug Padilla of ESPN.com.
- Josh Reddick put his August slump behind him “by doing the hardest thing a slumping hitter can do – nothing,” as Bill Plunkett of the Register writes.
- This piece is a few days old, but Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post looked at the key roster decisions the Nationals faced before the NLDS.
- The weather for Saturday’s Game 2 isn’t looking much more promising …