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Dodgers Playoff Roster Predictions For NLDS Against Nationals

We predict the 25-man roster for the Los Angeles Dodgers National League Division Series matchup with the Washington Nationals.

UPDATE: The roster below was indeed the Dodgers final NLDS roster.

The Dodgers have a date with the Washington Nationals in the National League Division Series starting on Thursday night in Los Angeles.

Now that the opponent is set by virtue of the Nationals 4-3 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Wild Card Game, the next step for both teams will be solidifying the 25-man roster for the upcoming five-game series.

The Dodgers front office has been tinkering with the roster throughout the final three weeks of the regular season after clinching their seventh consecutive N.L. West Division title on Sept. 10.

Those crucial weeks delivered valuable information on who was healthy enough for the postseason, as well as weed out players that will and won't be healthy and ready for the division series.

During a Tuesday press conference following a team workout, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts admitted that the 25-man roster was already set, and would not change regardless of who won the NL Wild Card game.

Roberts noted that the players and management know the roster and starting rotation, but that the team was keeping that under wraps "for a little bit longer."

"The roster…players know. Some of it was contigent on JT's [Justin Turner] back and how he's feeling," said Roberts. "Everything I get from the training staff and JT, he'll be ready to go on Thursday."

Turner missed the last five games of the regular season, but participated in batting practice and a simulated game on Tuesday.

"I'm feeling good," said Turner after the workout. "I've done a lot of work with our training staff. I'm feeling better. I just wanted to get to a point where I felt as strong as possible going into the postseason to get through 11 W's."

In addition to Turner, Roberts provided clarity on a number of other question marks entering the postseason.

A week ago, after a rough first inning in San Diego, it was hard to imagine that Rich Hill would be ready and healthy enough for the NLDS. Hill had not completed a full inning since June 19, and was pitching through prominent left knee pain in his three appearances in September.

However, Hill pitched three scoreless and efficient innings in the regular season finale in San Francisco on Sunday. Passing what the front office perceived as the final test to be able to start a potential Game 4 in the NLDS.

"Rich [Hill] is going to start Game 4," proclaimed Roberts, who added he believes Hill can give them at least four innings. "Kenta [Maeda], Julio [Urias], and Strip [Ross Stripling] are guys that can come in behind Rich Hill in Game 4."

Relief pitcher Joe Kelly also appeared in the regular season finale after not pitching with an unspecified injury for 11 days. Kelly faced two hitters, retiring both, before leaving the game.

"Joe throw a bullpen today," said Roberts. "A 20-pitch pen. Fastball, curveball, and change up. I got a thumb's up from him. He'll be ready to go on Thursday in whatever capacity."

Roberts confirmed what we all assumed, that the starting rotation of four was set in stone, and that the team would carry eight additional relievers in the bullpen for the NLDS.

"We're going to carry eight guys in the pen," said Roberts. "There's a lot of guys in the pen that can get righties and lefties out. Starters in the pen that you trust. That can execute pitches. This is our most versatile roster."

Roberts was also asked about some of the rookies that have contributed to the team throughout the season, and unknowingly acknowledged that Will Smith, Gavin Lux, and Matt Beaty would all be on the roster when it is officially announced on Thursday afternoon.

"We have a catcher who got called up in the middle of the year after an apprenticeship last September, and he's going to catch a postseason game," said Roberts, talking about Will Smith. "Gavin Lux. This is a guy that's going to be on our roster and he's going to play. He's earned it. I like his head, the athleticism. I just want him to go out there and play and be himself."

With most of the final decisions set, we'll do our best to predict the final roster for the NLDS, but first, it's important to recognize that there's going to be a lot of broken hearts in the Dodgers clubhouse come Thursday.

The Dodgers broke the franchise record for wins in a season, and they wouldn't have been able to accomplish such a historic feat without each and every player's contributions throughout the season. For a dozen or so players, their season will end on Thursday. Roberts acknowledged the difficulty in telling these players that they will not be on the postseason roster on Tuesday.

"It's tough," conceded Roberts. "It's one of those things that all these guys have been invited to the dance, and once the invitations have been handed out, they're essentially left on the doorstep. Those conversations are definitely difficult."

Without further ado, here is our best guess at how the NLDS roster will look:

Catchers: Will Smith, and Russell Martin

Infielders: David Freese, Max Muncy, Gavin Lux, Enrique Hernandez, Corey Seager, and Justin Turner.

Outfielders: Cody Bellinger, A.J. Pollock, Joc Pederson, Chris Taylor, and Matt Beaty.

Starting Pitchers: Hyun-Jin Ryu, Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, and Rich Hill.

Relief Pitchers: Kenley Jansen, Joe Kelly, Pedro Baez, Kenta Maeda, Adam Kolarek, Julio Urias, Ross Stripling, and Dustin May. 

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