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Corey Seager bats 3rd for Dodgers in his first playoff game

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES -- As expected, Corey Seager is starting for the Dodgers at shortstop in Game 1 of the National League Division Series against the Mets. Not as expected, the rookie is batting third.

Seager at 21 years, 165 days old is the youngest Dodgers position player to start any postseason game. Perhaps it shouldn't be a surprise that he's hitting third though, since he has been the team's best hitter over the last month.

After getting called up on Sept. 3, Seager started 25 of 30 games down the stretch and hit .337/.425/.561, leading the team in RBI (17) and runs scored (17) in September. Seager batted third twice in September.

"I think he's just not been overwhelmed at all. Nothing has really sped up on him. He's just calm and has the same demeanor we saw in spring training," manager Don Mattingly said. "He's well equipped to handle it."

The other mild surprise is Joc Pederson back in center field. It appeared that Kiké Hernandez took over regular center field duties in the final week of the season, as he did in the final week of August before hitting the disabled list.

But while Hernandez crushes left-handed pitching, his .234/.262/.331 mark against right-handed pitching this season makes it worth putting up with a slumping Pederson — hitting .161/.318/.252 against RHP since July 1 — because of the superior defense in center.

The Mets, as promised, have their three regular left-handed batters — Curtis Granderson, Daniel Murphy and Lucas Duda v in the lineup against the southpaw Clayton Kershaw.