Kershaw, Scherzer among Dodgers stars with uncertain futures

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES- The Los Angeles Dodgers finally ran out of comebacks.

They won’t have a chance to defend their World Series title after losing to the Atlanta Braves in six games in the NL Championship Series. It might have been the last game together for such key veterans as Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, Corey Seager, Kenley Jansen and Chris Taylor, who will become free agents after the World Series.

“You’re saying goodbyes without really knowing,” Seager said. “You want to remember it, remember how it feels and prepare for next year, and you’re uncertain about where it will be.”

However, Seager made it clear he wants to stay in LA.

“Absolutely,” he said. “I grew up here. I’ve spent a lot of time here. I believe in what these guys do and how we go about it. Yeah. Absolutely.”

Taylor blasted three home runs in Game 5 against the Braves with the team on the brink of elimination to force the series back to Atlanta.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” he said. “I’ve loved every minute I’ve been a Dodger.”

The potential roster upheaval doesn’t end this coming winter, either.

NL batting champion Trea Turner came over from Washington at the July trade deadline and paid immediate dividends. He can become a free agent after the 2022 season. Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy and 20-game winner Julio Urias will follow in 2023. Justin Turner has one year remaining on his contract.

“The six years I’ve been here, it’s been a core group of guys that could be turned over this winter,” manager Dave Roberts said. “I’m not looking forward to it. I wish we could have won another one with this group.”

The Dodgers did win 106 games, beat St. Louis in the NL wild-card game and outlasted the 107-win San Francisco Giants in five games to claim the NL Division Series.

They came into the NLCS without injured Kershaw and Muncy, then lost Turner and Joe Kelly to injury. Scherzer wasn’t able to pitch in Game 6 on Saturday night because of a tired arm.

They finished two wins shy of making their fourth World Series appearance in five years, losing to an Atlanta team with 18 fewer wins during the regular season.

“Everybody’s after you. It’s hard to be on top,” Mookie Betts said. “Everybody fights to get on top and then it’s a battle to keep everyone away.”

The Dodgers began the season with eight starters and tried to get through the postseason with just Walker Buehler, Scherzer and Urias. The lack of depth was exposed by the team’s decisions to use Scherzer in relief in Game 5 of the NLDS and Urias out of the bullpen in Game 2 of the NLCS that left both pitchers tired in their later starts.

“If you could guarantee that we could win Game 5 with someone else, I would have used someone else different,” Roberts said. “There’s a point that you just got to trust the player and I trusted Max.”

The 37-year-old Scherzer had one of his best stretches after joining the team at the trade deadline. He recorded his 3,000th career strikeout in September.

After some mid-season struggles, Jansen came on strong down the stretch, too.

Asked if he wants to return to the team, he said, “It’s not in my hands. I’m thankful to be here for all these years. I’ll always say, whatever happens, I’ll be grateful to the Dodgers.”

The team didn’t have reigning Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer to help out. He’s been on paid administrative leave since July under MLB’s joint domestic violence and sexual assault policy.

“I just felt that we had the players that were active that could still win this series,” Roberts said. “We were ready to play through October. We just didn’t get it done.”

MLB homer leader Pete Alonso to IL with bone bruise, sprain in wrist

pete alonso
Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH — The New York Mets will have to dig out of an early-season hole without star first baseman Pete Alonso.

The leading home run hitter in the majors will miss three-to-four weeks with a bone bruise and a sprain in his left wrist.

The Mets placed Alonso on the 10-day injured list Friday, retroactive to June 8. Alonso was hit in the wrist by a 96 mph fastball from Charlie Morton in the first inning of a 7-5 loss to Atlanta on Wednesday.

Alonso traveled to New York for testing on Thursday. X-rays revealed no broken bones, but the Mets will be missing one of the premier power hitters in the game as they try to work their way back into contention in the NL East.

“We got better news than it could have been,” New York manager Buck Showalter said. “So we take that as a positive. It could have been worse.”

New York had lost six straight heading into a three-game series at Pittsburgh that began Friday. Mark Canha started at first for the Mets in the opener. Mark Vientos could also be an option, though Showalter said the coaching staff may have to use its “imagination” in thinking of ways to get by without Alonso.

“I’m not going to say someone has to step up and all that stuff,” Showalter said. “You’ve just got to be who you are.”

Even with Alonso in the lineup, the Mets have struggled to score consistently. New York is 16th in the majors in runs scored.

The team also said Friday that reliever Edwin Uceta had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. Uceta initially went on the IL in April with what the team called a sprained left ankle. He is expected to be out for at least an additional eight weeks.

New York recalled infielder Luis Guillorme and left-handed reliever Zach Muckenhirn from Triple-A Syracuse. The Mets sent catcher Tomás Nido to Triple-A and designated reliever Stephen Nogosek for assignment.

Nogosek is 0-1 with a 5.63 ERA in 13 games this season.