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Fanatic: Dodgers Postseason Preview

The 2013 Los Angeles Dodgers are the National League West Champions and figure to be a force in the playoffs

Photo from SI.com

The 2013 Los Angeles Dodgers are the National League West Champions and figure to be a force in the playoffs

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The 2013 Los Angeles Dodgers are the National League West Champions and figure to be a force in the playoffs.

As the 2013 season comes to an end this weekend, the Dodgers still are not sure who they will play in the first round. It could be the St. Louis Cardinals or it could be the Atlanta Braves with a small chance that they could face the Cincinnati Reds or Pittsburgh Pirates.

More than likely, the Dodgers will begin on the road in either Atlanta or St. Louis on Thursday, October 3.

The postseason roster is not a lock yet because of injuries and tough decisions.

Some players are a lock for the roster. Adrian Gonzalez, Mark Ellis, Hanley Ramirez, Juan Uribe, Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig and Tim Federowicz will be on the roster. Skip Schumaker and Nick Punto figure to have a spot as well.

Andre Ethier’s ankle injury leaves him unlikely to play in the first round.

This leaves one or two spots, depending on how many pitchers manager Don Mattingly plans to take, for Jerry Hairston, Dee Gordon, Michael Young and Scott Van Slyke.

Mattingly should take all three and leave Hairston off. Hairston has had a tough time in the second half of the season and his veteran leadership will not be more valuable than the power of Van Slyke or the speed of Gordon.

The rotation is set at the top with Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke. Rookie Hyun-Jin Ryu has solidified his spot as the number three starter after Ricky Nolasco’s recent struggles. Nolasco will take on the role of fourth starter.

In the bullpen, Mattingly will have some more decisions.

Kenley Jansen, Paco Rodriguez, J.P. Howell, Brian Wilson and Ronald Belisario will be there.

Mattingly could take 11 or 12 pitchers. This could leave either two or three spots for the rest of the relievers.

Chris Capuano is trying to return from injury to be used as a reliever for the playoffs. Others looking to make the cut are Chris Withrow, Edinson Volquez, Brandon League, Carlos Marmol and Stephen Fife.

Mattingly needs to trust his arms and take 11 pitchers to be able to stock up on position players. That would leave two spots that should go to Withrow and Marmol. Both are right-handers that have strikeout stuff.

As to whom the Dodgers would rather play, the season series seems to lean toward the Cardinals. The Dodgers won the season series 4-3 over the Cardinals and lost the season series to the Braves 5-2.

However, the Dodgers played the Braves in May and early June, before the Dodgers turned their season around.

The Dodgers will take on anyone but they should slightly be rooting to play the Braves.

The Braves lost their veteran pitcher Tim Hudson to an ankle injury and have unproven pitchers in the rotation. Atlanta also starts two players in the lineup that have batting averages under .200 with B.J. Upton and Dan Uggla.

No matter what happens this postseason, the Dodgers have the team to make a magical run and bring the city its first World Series in 25 years.

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