The Dodgers are poised for their first playoff appearance since 2009 as they announced their roster for the NLDS against the Braves on Thursday.
At 5:37 PST on Thursday the Los Angeles Dodgers will take on the Atlanta Braves in Game 1 of the National League Division Series. This is the first postseason the Dodgers have been a part of since 2009, but this time they return with a very different look.
The Dodgers were bounced out of the playoffs after losing the NLCS to the Philadelphia Phillies after five games of the seven-game series. Remember this lineup? Furcal SS, Belliard 2B, Ethier RF, Ramirez (Manny!) LF, Kemp CF, Loney 1B, Martin C, Blake 3B, Padilla P.
It's crazy to think that Ethier and Kemp are the only remaining starters left from that playoff team, but the current Dodger ball club appears to be much better now. Unfortunately, they will be without Kemp and, likely, Ethier in the National League Division Series.
The Dodgers announced their roster for the NLDS Thursday, and while starting lineups will not be announced for a few more hours there are some surprises to look at.
First thing to notice is that Ethier is indeed listed on the roster. He is not expected to start, or even run for that matter, with an ankle injury so you can expect him to be used strictly as a pinch-hitter.
Jerry Hairston Jr. will not be with the team, despite playing in 96 games. Hairston finished the season in a horrible slump, with just three hits in his last 45 at bat, and does not offer as much situational value as some of his teammates who did make the roster.
Scott Van Slyke, Dee Gordon and Michael Young all made the team as bench players over Hairston. Van Slyke offers the Dodgers some power off the bench, Gordon will be let loose on the base paths, and Young is the "playoff-experienced veteran" who can hopefully deliver the key pinch hit in a high-leverage situation.
One of the biggest discussions surrounded who would grab the last spot out of the Dodger bullpen. Brandon League, who they signed to a $20 million contract last off season, Carlos Marmol and Edinson Volquez, mid-season acquisitions, and Chris Capuano, who was recently injured, all had their names tossed around.
Capuano got the last spot in the bullpen, despite making just three appearances in September. If there is a game that gets out of hand, you may see Capuano come in and eat up a couple of innings to keep the rest of the roster rested.
Here is the rest of the Dodgers' playoff roster:
Starting Pitchers: Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Ricky Nolasco
Relief Pitchers: Kenley Jansen, Brian Wilson, Ronald Belisario, Paco Rodriguez, J.P. Howell, Chris Withrow, Chris Capuano
Catchers: A.J. Ellis, Tim Federowicz
Infielders: Adrian Gonzalez, Mark Ellis, Hanley Ramirez, Juan Uribe, Nick Punto, Michael Young, Dee Gordon
Outfielders: Carl Crawford, Skip Schumaker, Yasiel Puig, Scott Van Slyke, Andre Ethier