On the morning of their postseason opener Tuesday, the Dodgers released a 26-man National League Division Series roster that contained few surprises.
Outfielder Chris Taylor was included as expected, after overcoming neck stiffness that cost him the final week of the regular season and required a cortisone injection.
Reliever Blake Treinen has a spot in the bullpen despite missing most of the regular season, including the entire last month, with his oft-injured shoulder apparently healthy enough to handle the workload of a best-of-five playoff series that includes only one off day.
Right-hander Dustin May also was picked, even though he missed the final two weeks of the regular season with a back strain that had tempted the team to hold him back until a potential NL Championship Series appearance.
Former closer Craig Kimbrel was left inactive, squeezed out of the 13-man pitching staff following a turbulent first season with the Dodgers in which he had a 3.75 ERA and converted 22 of 27 save opportunities before being demoted last month.
Other pitching snubs include left-handed relievers Caleb Ferguson (1.82 ERA in 37 appearances) and David Price (2.45 ERA in 40 appearances), who might not have been utilized in the NLDS against a San Diego Padres team that relies on only a few left-handed bats.
The only real wild card was on the bench, with the final position player roster spot going to rookie Miguel Vargas.
While Vargas played just 18 games and batted .170 at the big league level, he got the nod over veteran utility infielder Hanser Alberto, with the Dodgers opting for Vargas’ highly-touted bat — especially for potential pinch-hitting situations — over Alberto’s defensive versatility. Vargas batted .304 with 17 home runs and 82 RBIs in 113 games at triple-A Oklahoma City.
The Dodgers split their roster evenly with 13 pitchers and 13 position players.
If the team advances to the NLCS, they will have the opportunity to change their roster. Until then, only in the case of injury can an alteration be made (and if a player is removed from a roster mid-series, he must sit out for the subsequent series as well).
Here is the full list of 26 players:
Catchers (2): Will Smith, Austin Barnes
Infielders (6): Freddie Freeman, Gavin Lux, Trea Turner, Max Muncy, Justin Turner, Miguel Vargas
Outfielders (5): Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger, Chris Taylor, Trayce Thompson, Joey Gallo
Starting pitchers (4): Julio Urías, Clayton Kershaw, Tyler Anderson, Tony Gonsolin
Right-handed relief pitchers (7): Evan Phillips, Tommy Kahnle, Brusdar Graterol, Chris Martin, Blake Treinen, Yency Almonte, Dustin May
Left-handed relief pitchers (2): Andrew Heaney, Alex Vesia