Dodgers' four-day break before the NLDS has nothing to do with health protocols

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Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw, right, smiles next to fellow starter Walker Buehler.
Dodgers pitchers Clayton Kershaw, right, and Walker Buehler, center, celebrate with outfielder Joc Pederson after beating the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday. (Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

As the commissioner's office and the players' union negotiated over the terms of a 2020 season, the players pushed for a longer season, and playoffs extended into November. The owners were resolute: no way, because a potential second wave of the coronavirus compelled Major League Baseball to expedite the conclusion of the postseason.

So why, after winning their first-round series Thursday, do the Dodgers have four days off before starting the second round?

The players already have been in a postseason bubble for a week — confined to hotels, except for trips to the ballpark — and testing already takes place daily. The Dodgers' off days, then, do not result from the health and safety protocols and they traveled Friday to Arlington, Texas.

The cushion was built into the schedule to account for potential inclement weather. The Dodgers swept their best-of-three series, but the National League wild-card series between the Chicago Cubs and Miami Marlins could have extended into Saturday because of a rainout Thursday. The Marlins, however, completed their sweep Friday.

The games in the Division Series and the league Championship Series are scheduled to be played with no days off. If a Division Series extends to the full five games, the winning team would have one day off before the league Championship Series.

Harvard-Westlake arms shine

Jack Flaherty of the St. Louis Cardinals, Lucas Giolito of the Chicago White Sox and Max Fried of the Braves were teammates at the Studio City prep school. Giolito and Fried were seniors and first-round draft picks that June. Flaherty was a first-round pick two years later.

Flaherty started against the San Diego Padres in Game 3 on Friday and allowed one run in six innings of the Cardinals' 4-0 loss. Fried pitched seven scoreless innings in the Braves' Game 1 win. Giolito allowed one run in seven innings and got the win in the only White Sox victory against the Oakland Athletics.

That's two runs and 14 hits in 20 innings for a 0.90 earned-run average with 21 strikeouts and three walks. Only Fried, however, will move on.

Three first-round picks are a Harvard-Westlake highlight to be sure, but not the only one. Wolverines outfielder Pete Crow-Armstrong was the 19th overall pick to the New York Mets this past summer.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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