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Dodgers NLDS notes: Kenta Maeda in relief, Luis Avilan on the mend, no pool party

San Diego Padres v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

PHOENIX — The Dodgers held a workout at Dodger Stadium on Sunday afternoon before flying to Phoenix in preparation for Game 3 of their NLDS against the Diamondbacks.

Among those participating in the workout was relief pitcher Luis Avilan, who was left off the NLDS roster with left shoulder inflammation. After throwing twice last week, Avilan pitched another simulated inning on Sunday, roughly 20 pitches.

Avilan, who posted a 2.93 ERA in 61 games and held left-handed batters to just .195/.290/.280 in 2017, will throw again on Wednesday, and could be activated for the NLCS should the Dodgers advance, giving them a third left-handed relief pitcher to join Tony Cingrani and Tony Watson.

“He's on track, he feels good. The ball was coming out well,” Roberts said. “So when we get to that point, he definitely will be in the mix.”

Pen is mightier

Kenta Maeda was impressive in his Game 2 relief appearance, retiring A.J. Pollock, Paul Godlschmidt and J.D. Martinez in order, with two strikeouts. Maeda is emerging as a weapon for the Dodgers in high-leverage situations against right-handed batters, hitting just .214/.258/.389 against him in 2017.

“We had a chance to see him out of the pen, the stuff played up. The velocity ticked up two, three miles an hour. The slider’s still sharp,” Roberts said Sunday. “When you’re constructing a postseason roster and trying to account for different parts of the order, different hitters, and he just really makes sense for us.”

Counting the postseason, Maeda has a 2.00 ERA in five relief appearances, with 12 strikeouts and one walk in nine innings. His strikeout rate is 34.3%, compared with 24.8% in his 25 starts in 2017.

According to Brooks Baseball, Maeda averaged 92.26 mph on his four-seam fastball as a starter. In his five relief appearances, that pitch has averaged 93.32 mph.

“To be able to have the off day to come back against a very good lineup in Arizona to deploy him then, it makes sense,” Roberts said. “So, yeah, it’s really exciting for us.”

No splash zone

Should the Dodgers win on Monday or Tuesday, don’t expect them to repeat their celebration tactic from 2013, when they clinched the NL West with a win at Chase Field, then jumped in the pool beyond the right field wall.

Los Angeles Dodgers v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

“That won’t happen,” Roberts said. “This is a completely different team, and I think we have bigger goals than to jump into a swimming pool.”

Looking ahead

Should the Diamondbacks stave off elimination on Monday, they will start left-hander Patrick Corbin in Game 4 on Tuesday night. Corbin was 0-2 with a 5.06 ERA in two starts against the Dodgers in 2017.