This is how it will almost certainly be for the 2017 Home Run Derby.

In recent years, the Dodgers have had a plan: Pitch Clayton Kershaw or Rich Hill or whomever is hot and available on short rest. Some years it’s just Kershaw on short rest. Some years it’s Kershaw and Hill or Greinke. Every permutation has Kershaw, though. And it’s never worked out as well as they’ve hoped.

This year, the Dodgers have Kershaw. They have Rich Hill. They have Alex Wood. All three deserve to start a postseason game. But it takes four deserving starters to avoid the short-rest bogeyman in the postseason. If the Dodgers were a normal team, they would be fine with trusting one of Brandon McCarthy, Kenta Maeda, or Hyun-jin Ryu for that fourth slot. Any of those pitchers would be roughly as good as the No. 4 starters they’ll face in the postseason.

Weston Richburg Mens Jersey Verlander is 34, he’s owed $28 million over the next two years, and he’s pitching poorly this season. There’s pickle juice in that cocktail, and there might not be enough booze to save it. I’d like to cherry pick some micro-splits to suggest that Verlander is on an upward trajectory, but …

You want Judge and Stanton. The fans at the ballpark want it. The people watching on TV want it. The players want it. Their agents want it. Rob Manfred would sacrifice a chicken to get it. And when you look up, it’s going to be Mike Moustakas and Charlie Blackmon, and there’s not a damned thing you’ll be able to do about it.

They’re fine players, and they’ll still hit the ball really far, and all. It’s just not Stanton and Judge.
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We can take that bit about the possible World Series matchups back for years and years, and the story is generally the same. The best potential pairing rarely happens, mostly because of the tyranny of permutations.

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