No matter what happens Tuesday (and if we’re lucky) Thursday, some Los Angeles Dodgers deserve some praise. Without these players, the team would not be where it is right now, and these guys should deserve a shout out. Granted, some things may change depending on what happens during the rest of the series, but as of right now, these are the Dodgers heroes in October.
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1A. Justin Turner
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Think Red? Turner’s batting averages through these three games are .667, .667 and .500. In eight at bats, Turner has gotten on base four times and walked four times. He has a .692 on base percentage, a .875 slugging percentage and an outstanding 1.567 OPS. He has been the best Dodgers’ hitter throughout every game. Plus, it doesn’t matter if Turner is facing a righty or a lefty, which can’t be said for practically every other Dodger except the player below Turner. No matter what situation is in, Turner has proved that he can get on base whenever. Without Turner, the Dodgers would probably have been eliminated on Monday.
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1B. Corey Seager
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Seager is an appropriate 1 ‘B’ as a Dodger hero. Seager’s first innings in the playoffs went like this: home run, home run and RBI double. He’s been the spark plug for the Dodgers offense, providing runs early and giving the Dodgers starters something to work with. Dodgers fans like myself may forget he is a rookie, and the idea that it’s understandable (maybe expected) that a rookie can struggle in the playoffs. Seager’s early inning dominance will definitely be needed in the remaining game(s), but his bat late has not been there for the Dodgers and definitely needed given the team’s anemic offense.
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2. Pedro Baez
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These playoff games have been really long and I think Pedro Baez is 40 percent responsible. It’s almost a joke that Bob Costas and company on MLB Network set a timer counting the time between Baez’s pitches. Baez seems to put everyone to sleep, including the hitters, because Baez has done really well so far against the Nationals. I’ve always been weary of him in the postseason, but he has carried his regular season success into the postseason. Baez has pitched 3 2/3 innings these playoffs, has not given up any hits, only relinquishing two walks. Numbers don’t lie, and Baez’s numbers are showing that he’s the best Dodger reliever sans Kenley Jansen.
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3. Joe Blanton
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I am still amazed that Joe Blanton, out of all people, is still pitching as well as he is given his past. He did not pitch in Sunday’s game two loss, and pitched a combined 2 1/3 innings. He only has had two blemishes, a hit and a walk, which didn’t turn into any serious damage. Blanton has always just taken care of business when called upon, and hasn’t caused any stress for the Dodgers or their fans alike.
4. Grant Dayton
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Kenta Maeda and Grant Dayton are both 28-year old rookies, but Dayton has proven to be clutch in the playoffs while Maeda struggled with his command in his outing on Monday. Dave Roberts has given Dayton a very short leash so far in the playoffs because Roberts likes to play the matchup game). Dayton has played every game and has pitched a combined 1 1/3 innings. Dayton may be more of a questionable choice because he has given up a run in Game 2, but I’d still stick with him as one of the Dodgers top relievers along with Blanton and Baez.
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Honorable mention: Kenley Jansen
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Yes, Jansen is responsible for allowing the wheels to fall off the wagon on Monday by blowing any chance of a Dodgers comeback, but he should still be commended for pitching an impressive five out save in game one. Jansen has had only one other five out save in his career, and those stakes weren’t nearly as high as Friday’s. Jansen went from hero to zero in a span of 72 hours, and it will be interesting to see if this series will effect Jansen’s future with the Dodgers.