In a game that started so positively for the Dodgers, quickly morphed into what we have come to expect…a lot of strikeouts, inability to create runs, and questionable player changes during the game.  But it was all a prelude to what may go down as the THE GAME to take the team to a WS Championship.


I always like it when the leadoff hitter gets on base.  After a CT3 walk to open the home half of the first inning, a fielder’s choice, hit batter, and pop up, that brought up many fan’s favorite punching bag, Brian Dozier, with a runner on 2B and 2 outs.  As Dodgerrick pointed out yesterday, after a year of an apparent inability to hit WRISP, why should we fans expect anything but another strikeout?  But Brian Dozier surprised all and promptly lined a 2-0 single into left field for the first run of the game.


But that is where the offense ended…. until the 13thinning.  The Dodgers got a whiff of a rally in the 2ndinning after an infield single (Puig), walk (Barnes), failed sac bunt attempt (Hill), strikeout #1 of the inning (CT3), and another walk (JT) to load the bases.  Then a very curious personnel decision followed by bringing in Max Muncy to bat for David Freese.  It is clear that Freese handles LHP better than RHP, but it is not like he is chopped liver against RHP.  In 2018, with 157 PA, Freese batted .273/.331/.455/.786 against RHP, and is batting .265/.337/.397/.734 against RHP over his career.  He actually had 2 more PA against RHP than LHP, so he is more than a platoon player (or should be).  Sure enough, as if on cue, Max strikes out to end the threat.  What was that, 0 for 3 WRISP in one inning?


While the Dodgers were continuing to strikeout, Rich Hill was seemingly sailing along until the 5th.  With a one out Arcia single that just went off Dozier’s glove into CF, Domingo Santana came in to PH for Freddie Peralta.  Rich Hill fooled Santana with 2 curve ball strikes, before he tried to sneak another by him.  But Santana was not watching the Dodger hitters swinging for the fences.  Instead he stayed back and did not try to do too much with a good pitch and drives a double into right-center field to score the speedy Arcia from 1stto knot the score at 1 apiece. Good pitch, better hitting.


The Dodgers got the leadoff man on base in the 6th, 7th, and 8thinning and left them all stranded.  But it was the 8thagainst Josh Hader that seemed to sting a little.  After a leadoff single by Muncy, a strikeout, a force out fielder’s choice on a hard-hit ground ball by Dozier, aVERY COLDCody Bellinger came to the plate.  Bellinger had looked lost at the plate in the playoffs, but against LHP Josh Hader, Bellinger punched a single into LF against the shift and put Dozier on 3rdbase to bring up Matt Kemp, who singled off Hader earlier in the series.  Unfortunately, Kemp seemed over-powered in this AB and struck out on a couple of high fast ball pitches.


Kenley Jansen enters the 9thin a 1-1 tie and faces Jonathan Schoop to open.  On a soft ground ball out in front of the base, the big man got off the mound, got the ball, and made a great throw to 1B to get Schoop by half a step.  It was a fantastic defensive play.  Jansen gets through the 10th, but not before Cody Bellinger made the defensive play of the playoffs on a sinking liner off the bat of Lorenzo Cain.  If Belli does not get that liner, LoCain probably ends up at 3rdwith nobody and Christian Yelich, Ryan Braun, and Jesus Aguilar coming to the plate.  But Belli did catch it, and   single had no impact.


Alex Wood and Dylan Floro followed Jansen in the 11thand 12thwith no Brewers reaching base. Dodger batters did not do any better against Junior Guerra.  Now instead of Scott Alexander, Doc had to bring in Julio Urias, and the young left-hander proceeded to get out of the 13thunscathed.  He did allow a Ryan Braun single, and a long fly out to CF off the bat of Jesus Aguilar, before he struck out Mike Moustakas.  Moose looked over-matched in that AB.


That brought us to the bottom of the 13thand some big time heroics.  With one out, Machado hits a line drive single into LF.  After a pop foul out by Dozier, Cody Bellinger came to the plate.  Machado made a great read on a pitch in the dirt that got away from Kratz, and moved into scoring position with two out.  Now we are used to just stranding another RISP, but this time, CODY hits the ball hard into RF and Machado came around to score to send the good guys home with a victory to tie the series at 2 games apiece.


I do not want to dismiss another defensive gem by CT3 in the 7th.  With Pina on 2ndwith no outs, Orlando Arcia hits a little fly ball into no man’s land between CT3, Belli, and Machado, and somehow CT3 comes flying in and going into a slide to avoid Belli and Machado and make the catch.  I do not think it is too much to say that CT3’s gem saved the game.


Another thought…was the Belli punch single into LF in the 8thoff Hader the prelude and confidence builder for Belli in the 13th?


The Bellinger hit was not a Gibson moment, but it was pretty darn close (maybe more current).  And now “Big Mo” is on the side of the Dodgers with Clayton Kershaw taking the ball today in an afternoon game.  Kershaw had a bad Game 2, but I cannot remember him having two bad games in the same series, so I expect Kershaw to have a great game today.  After the game, The MLB boys were calling today’s game the most important in Kershaw’s career.  That is a little hyperbole (okay maybe a lot), but it is an important game to put a more positive spin on his post season HOF career legacy.




This article has 155 Comments

        1. Apparently Yelich also said F*** that F***ing MotherF***er as he walked away. Was it Bush league of Manny? Yes. Did the First Baseman leave his foot on the bag too long? Probably a bit. If Manny wanted to actually hurt him he would have stepped on his Achilles. Still bush of him, Let’s hope Machado plays smart and aggressive at the same time because the umps will be watching him closely now. I have a problem with people acting like his slides into second were dirty. The first one was a good hard slide and he had his arm up a bit to proctect himself from taking a knee into the face. The second was dumb of him to reach out, but for cripes sake the ball was out and he hardly touched him. It had zero affect on the play. I can’t stand the way they have pussified everything anymore. You can’t lift a QB, you can’t land on a QB, everything in basketball is a flagrant foul nowadays. Taking out the middle infielder should always be a part of baseball. Machado’s first slide and Muncy’s last night is how the game should be played.
          Screw the Brewers and the righteous indignation of Brewers fans. They have a bug-eyed cheating bastard playing in the OF and a relief pitcher that they gave a standing ovation too after his racist, homophobic tweets became public. I get not scorning a guy forever for something stupid he said when he was 17. He’s a ballplayer it’s not like he’s up for a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court, but to give the guy a standing ovation after that was over the top and ridiculous. So screw them.
          Gio being removed from the roster and replaced. The Dodgers should say Dick Mountain injured himself fighing the Hi-Chew bucket and add Alexander.

          1. By being removed from roster for injury, Gio is not eligible for the WS roster if the Brewers make it

  1. Random thoughts:

    1. Rich Hill is a joy to watch.

    2. Three true outcome baseball is fully understandable but tough to watch.

    3. Roberts is interesting. His decision making is very aggressive but very short-termist. The fact that he would have to burn Ryu if the game went further made my eyebrows raise. On one hand I like that he goes for the advantage as soon as he can, on the other it burns assets. I know very few games go long and remain close. But there are precious few playoff games…

    4. I imagine the Dodgers are thinking the offense has to break out for a game or two. Hope that happens.

  2. We know the Dodgers CANNOT hit with RISP, but we also know this team CAN pitch and play defense. What this launch angle team, built for a homerun derby needs is for each hitter to read a copy of Walt Hriniak’s book “A Hitting Clinic: The Walt Hriniak Way”. Also, a book or video on situational hitting would be helpful. With the exception of Turner, Bellinger and Machado I have never been so disgusted with a bunch of so-called hitters in my life. (I am disgusted with Machado for other reasons). If this situation falls on Turner Ward (who seems like a good guy) then he must go!

    1. DougUgly,

      I think you should take a look around the league. Launch angle is everywhere, hitting liners in out of favor. It’s not Turner Ward, it Major League Baseball.

      1. You’re right, Bluto. I agree it’s everywhere, but I think the pendulum has swung too far. You need both line drive hitters and bombers, but not everyone should be taking the launch angle approach. Hriniak was a proponent of hitters taking an approach in keeping with their strengths, not a one-size-fits-all style.

    2. Ward practices situational hitting with them every day. At some point it’s up to the players. Ward can’t be great at his job one year and terrible the next.

      1. Because “everyone’s doing it” doesn’t make it right. Sometimes you have to go against the grain and buck the trends. The Dodgers showed these tendencies last year too, but it is increasingly clear that whatever Ward is practicing is not working. Other than Puig, I hadn’t heard too many say that Turner Ward was great at his job. Besides, even if it’s warranted, you can’t fire the players, at least not all in one off-season. My point is that somehow this team has to be turned around – if not this year, then next.

        1. This team is two wins from going to back to back World Series.
          Not sure what kind of “turn around” you want to see.
          You may not like the aesthetics, I do not, but the results don’t really make a change necessary.

  3. While I said last nght, I would not have used Muncy to bat for Freeze, I totally “get” the rationale. Look at this:

    OB% VS. RHP – Freese .311 Muncy .401
    OPS VS. RHP – Freese .786 Muncy 1.001
    2-OUTS Bases Juiced – Freese .250 BA Muncy .333 BA

    Roberts was rolling the dice that Muncy, who hit 35 bombs, many in clutch situations, would blow the game open. He didn’t, but in no way can you say that was stupid. I disagree with it. I would not have done it, but it was well thought out. If Muncy executed, Doc was a genius. The guy many thought should not play drove in the winning run with the guy who would not hustle, hustling his butt off.

    The Brewers have a 2.50 ERA for the Series, while the Dodgers are at 3.00. However, the biggest difference is the relievers. The Brewers are very good with a 3.16 ERA, while the Dodgers are outta’-this-world with a 0.92 ERA.

    Look at the bullpen with Wood, Maeda, Urias, Jansen, Floro, Madson, Ferguson and Baez. Half of thise guys weren’t there two months ago, which is why I say that this team is built for the post-season.

    I’m at a conference in San Antonio and have to find a place to watch the game, but if Clayton is going to have the game of his life, tonight would be an excellent time. The Brewers pen is gassed. The Dodgers? Not so much. This series could be over if the Bats can get to Miley and Kershaw can shut the Brewers down.

    Like Farhan Zaidi said early in the season“These guys need to hit more HR!”THAT’S THE CURE. The Dodgers were 2-10 with RISP and struck out 15 times last night, while the Brewers were 0-8 with RISP and they struck out 17 times!

    1. And at the end of the game we had to go to Grandal and were out of players. Other than Muncy draws more walks I don’t see the rational. That type of situation is why we got Freese.

          1. 100% behind the computerized strike zone. Keep the ump back there. He receives a little buzz. Even if someone argues they can be shown the grid and where the ball passed through. It’s past time for it,

  4. A very long game and indeed some questionable moves by Roberts but there are always questionable moves by Roberts, but the Dodgers won and that’s what was needed in a big way.

    Today’s game would be a very good time for Kershaw to pitch the team to a very important win but I’m not as confident as A C is.
    Let’s see what happens.

  5. Let’s not forget that the guy who makes “questionable moves” has the best winning % of any Dodger Manager in the modern era.

    1. Mark

      I think that is to early in a game to let the other team dictate a change, in your line up.

      That looks more like desperation then a smart move, because there was so much more game, to play.

      And we want Freeze sharp enough if we need him off the bench for an important at bat, later in this series.

      Pulling a player that early in two games, is not good for a player’s psyche either, and hitting is more mental, then anything.

      Freeze has proved he will give a tough at bat, every time he comes to the plate, and I can’t say the same, about every other player, on this team.

      1. That’s what I thInk but what if Muncy had hit a granny? I disagree and so do others but it’s not illogical… just very aggressive.

    2. Mark, that didn’t make sense when you first posted it, and it still doesn’t. Actually with the teams he has had you would think it would be higher,

  6. Posted this on other thread earlier,
    and as it took a while to write, I’m posting again.

    Well, I’ve had a few hours to regroup.
    There’s so much to analyse in that game. I will contain myself by saying the Rich Hill is still my favourite Dodger, and that I’m delighted for Bellinger, who came up huge with a game changing catch, and the Walk Off hit.
    Doc played his hand as he saw fit, but not necessarily how I would’ve done it.
    Especially burning Freese in 2 innings, and PHing for Wood with Grandal, when he was pitching well.

    The one thing that is beyond question in my mind however, is that if it wasn’t for the pick up of Machado in July, we would be done already. He has kept us going, especially in the Post Season, and this series in particular.
    It was interesting to see that he openly admits to a lack of hustle, and I respect the honesty, but when push came to shove, he really put it in to score from 2nd on Bellinger’s hit. Maybe he won’t hustle until he feels he can make a difference?
    Also, and I totally agree with all those who criticised his kick on Aguilar, and base running antics of yesterday, but I would say that he was the one Dodger who has had an edge to his game these past 2 evenings. The one Dodger position player who is gonna go down with a fight. The one who is gonna front up and make something happen, even without getting a hit. He is the kind of player that you like to hate if he is on the other team, because you know he will try every which way to win.
    He is absolutely winning me round with his attitude, and hopefully it will be contagious. I don’t necessarily like it, but he is carrying the offensive side of our game almost single handily.
    He has the most RBIs of any of this year’s Post Season Players, and shares the lead with 3 HRs, and 2 Doubles.
    Maybe he needs to play in this scrappy way to bring out the best in himself.
    I just know that without him we would be done by now.

    Have to be fair to the Brewers, they’re a better team than i thought, especially the Pitching.
    We were lucky we didn’t regret not taking advantage of another poor Gio start.
    I fancy a gem from CK tonight.

  7. Also, Pete, hope the surgery went well, but your Blood Pressure is still in check after last night!!

  8. I hope the Dodgers shut me up with 4-5 homers per game throughout the rest of the series. I also hope there are runners in scoring position for each homer! Go Dodgers!

  9. Well that was a useless night of sleep for me! Looking forward to another large cup of coffee around 1.

    I expect the same type of starting lineup today. Let’s hope our #3 hitter doesn’t get pinch hit for that early again. But bottom line: Clayton Kershaw in a huge playoff game. He has to get it done. I”m nervous, and I’m nervous for him.

    1. If Roberts is going to pull Freeze that early, it is better to just start Muncy, and have Freeze’s bat available in the later innings of the game, instead of losing Freeze’s bat, all together.

      1. I think part of the logic is Muncy can handle a fastball like Hader’s better than most but like you I would like to see Freese up in a big situation.

        1. Hawkeye

          That is a good point, but if Freeze does come up to bat late in the game, does it really have to be for only Muncy?

          I didn’t think Muncy hurt us that much at second, so I don’t know why it has to always be Freeze for Muncy, or the reverse.

          Dozier did hit the first run in yesterday, but neither Dozier or Kike, have hit much at all, but they are getting more at bats, then Freeze.

  10. I’m hopeful that the 2nd time around the Dodgers will have sufficiently adjusted to Miley. Kershaw’s performance today will undoubtedly be extremely important, but so too will the performance of the Dodgers offense, which needs to wake up.

  11. Yesterday, around the 8th inning or so, there were 7000 tic available for today’s game, for as cheap as $25. By 11:30pm, after Belly’s game winning hit, those prices started to rise and the supply began to dwindle.

    Right now? 1600 tickets available, from $70 onwards. Fans are excited about today!!

    1. this series is pretty ugly. aside from the 4-0 game neither side has really played that well. it’s probably fair that’s it’s even, with them still holding home field. i’m excited kershaw goes tonight. i’m wishing for 7-8 innings. best part of yesterday’s game is maeda & ferguson barely threw any pitches and should be fresh.

  12. Interesting lineup today
    Bellinger CF
    Turner 3B
    Freese 1B
    Machado SS
    Muncy 2B
    Taylor LF
    Hernandez RF
    Barnes C
    Kreshaw P

  13. I’m guessing Roberts had a few drinks after last night’s win, and came to the office a tad hung over today?

  14. Update: 850 tickets left and $90 is the cheapest. Prepare for the BlueOut today, and a LOUD crowd!

  15. I have thought about Cody leading off, not only because he has the speed to a get pitcher’s attention, but because the lead off hitter gets much better pitches, to hit.

    That is probably the same reason Joc’s numbers are better this year, especially his slugging.

    But Cody can’t go out of the strike zone to much, because his first job, is to get on base.

    And I have thought the same about Muncy too, except he doesn’t have Cody’s speed, but only Trout, Votto and another big leaguer, are getting walked, more often, then Muncy.

  16. it’s funny how the whole “x wins to go” thing is out the window now. if i find myself thinking “6 wins to go!” it boggles my mind because just getting ONE is damn hard.
    this is the game right here though. everything should be in our favor. no excuses whatsoever if we fail. none.

  17. Maybe Doc wants to get Cody to cut down on his swing, and think about getting on base. And maybe hitting in front of JT gets him some better pitches to hit. Interesting that he’s having Cody lead-off vs. lefthander.

  18. Interesting lineup. I kind of like it. My first instinct would be to put Puig or Kemp over Kike in RF though. Kike has done even less than Puig but seems like a better pinch hitter than Puig. Kemp seems to fallen out of favor. His swing looks slow right now.

  19. So some potentially big news: Gio Gonzales, who hurt his ankle yesterday, has been placed on the DL, meaning he’s done for the rest of 2018. BUT, they were able to add Zach Davies to the roster. So Mil does have a fresh arm available. That could be big today.

  20. Ball might have got a little bit of the ground. Questionable enough to preclude a call that it was a catch.

  21. Well, that was weird. Counsel pulles Miley after walking the first batter of the game. I’m scared to see what Robert’s does to counter.

  22. this team needs harper

    but that’s not going to happen so we’ll have to settle for seager and verdugo

  23. Missed opportunity again to gain the initiative in the 1st.
    Guess what? Brewers take the lead in the 3rd.

  24. Counsell thinks he is a chess grand master and this is the 1st time Doc threw a few wrinkles into his lineup. It’s way past time to make the Brewers pay for their questionable pitching moves. If it wasn’t the Dodgers playing I could not watch this and if this is where baseball is heading I am not in favor. When do launch angles and 3 true outcomes seep into youth baseball? I coached my son’s teams for years and this is not the way we taught kids to play with shifts and tossing out small ball. One more point for Mark: Lasorda and Alston managed for over 20 years so comparing win % is not really fair. Doc inherited a 3 time Division winner and has done well with a stacked team in his 1st 3 seasons. Doc and Counsell are both players managers but make some extremely questionable in game moves. Whoever loses this series will be second guessed for a long time.

  25. Freese removed. If they knew what was coming they should have just played Muncy at 1st and Puig in the OF.

  26. No HR in last two games plus 4 innings of this game plus whatever innings the game before. I wonder how many innings we have gone without one

  27. I think Bellinger needs to hit the ball to left field more often.

    But more important, the Dodgers need to score some runs.

  28. Nobody here has ever said this before, so why don’t I be the first one: if our hitters would just go the other way………..:)

    Great job Max!

  29. Single, HBP, single. That small ball stuff actually works. It’s a nice change of pace when the jacks aren’t flying out.

    1. Nice line drive RBI by Puig, but Muncy caught napping for the 3rd out. To me this is the best played and paced game of the series so far. That was an awkward slide by Max, hope his knee is ok.

  30. Good job Puig! It’s refreshing to see Max, Barnes and Puig drive in runs by not trying to do too much.

  31. Joe Buck says Kershaw has grit!
    I wonder if he’s also a Junkyard Dog and a grinder.
    If he plays baseball “the right way.”

    1. I’m thinking at this moment, everybody on the team is ready to get 6 outs. Of course, if Cody can park one here, that could change things.

  32. Surprised Kershaw was left in to hit. He is at 97 pitches…looked like he was getting hit hard the last inning.

  33. Rob, you hit it on the nose about Max, Barnes and Puig.

    Muncy was either trying to draw the throw away from the plate, or he thought the throw was going to the plate.

  34. Anybody else getting teary eyed watching this team doing what we’ve been telling them to do all year????

  35. Brooklyn Dodger, looks like Bellinger has learned to shorten up his swing too.

    And Turner with a big hit!

    This is fun to watch!

  36. So it is possible to get multiple hits in the same inning and score runs? Wow – who’d have thunk it?

    1. I feel like Elaine, and this Dodger team today is the Bizarro Jerry, George, and Kramer. I want to stay with them

      1. Bobby

        I swear I have thought, what is Baez taking.

        Because he doesn’t show any anxiety anymore.

        But I mean possibly from a doctor, nothing else.

          1. It was just a small thing Jansen showed Baez that helped him relax and that he belonged. All’s Baez needed was a little confidence. Baez at the plate gave something as well.

  37. The Dodgers are playing smart baseball today. They are going the other way. Stealing bases. They are fun to watch when they play this way. Kershaw looked great.

  38. Love the hustle by Puig there. When we’re up by 4 runs I like seeing Puig take chances to tack on more runs.

  39. Barnes giving much better at bats than Grandal. That combined with his game calling of Ryu guarantees he’ll start Friday night

    1. Not sure how you are supposed to play the game. Barnes was in the batters box. Didn’t step back. Had just taken a normal swing. Catcher stepped into batters box to make his throw. Yeeesh

  40. Agreed. That was a ridiculous call.

    Robert’s should have got himself tossed to prove a point to the umps they can just pacify the Brewers bat boy everytime he come out to cry.

  41. I hope he opts out. He’s a choker. There are some people who should get on their knees and kiss his ass. At least until he next loss when they can turn on him again.

  42. Biggest AB of the year so far was Austin Barnes single in the 5th. Not only does he get the game tying single, but he kept Kershaw in the game. Kershaw comes out again and shows us why he is a HOF pitcher. 7 innings of 3 hit pitching with 9 K’s. I believed he was going to have a very good game today. He is generally good for one bad game a playoff series, but not two.
    Excellent clutch hitting. Baez was outstanding again. Kenley another big save.
    I was talking with my son, and he told me that Doc ought to remind the team that all of Counsell’s antics just shows that he does not believe that his team is as good as the Dodgers. They need gimmicks. It may not be true, but it is a point that should be out there. Keep the confidence up. He used to encounter that kind of stuff in the minors where the disparity in the teams was very evident.
    Anyway, my heart needs a day off to slow down. Here’s hoping that the Dodger hitters remember how they hit today against Miley. Let’s win it in 6 and go on to the WS.

    1. Hear hear (although Turner’s game 2 hr was pretty important too). One more win to advance. You gotta believe.

  43. Perspective: we are one game from the world series and we haven’t really played well all year. Let’s hope we saved the best for last. 5 more wins. Over halfway there.

  44. Hawkeye you mentioned Belly getting more relaxed after a good game and I think the same thing could happen to Puig-he was electric today. Counsell got schooled and the Dodgers went against type for a game. Doc actually did more by doing less and so did the hitters.

    1. I don’t recall him getting any chances. But he did have some nice scoops at 1b; he’s definitely improving over there.

  45. It’s time to make Miley look like the journeyman pitcher that he is. Enough of the BS making him look like Cy Young. Good extended AB’S, go oppo if he pitches outside and layoff his cutter. Easy for me to say, but lets end this thing Friday and go to Boston for some chowdah!!!!!!!

  46. I’m thinking about going to Friday’s game in Milwaukee. It would help if I could unload my Colts tickets this weekend. Mark, let me know if you know anyone looking.

  47. From The Athletic:
    Managing the Dodgers is not easy; Roberts must satisfy both the desires of an analytically driven front office and ego-driven clubhouse. But Roberts welcomes information from Dodgers executives and relishes communicating it to his players. The way the former left-handed hitting outfielder sees it, the sport is just smarter now.

    “Should I have hit first against Randy Johnson?” Roberts said, referring to the way teams once batted speedy players leadoff, regardless of the matchup, regardless of whether they could hit. “No, I should have hit eighth.”

    Roberts, taking advantage of his players’ defensive versatility, used Chris Taylor at four positions in Game 5, Bellinger at three, Max Muncy and Kiké Hernández at two each. The Dodgers did not make a double switch thanks to Clayton Kershaw pitching seven innings, but Roberts likes that flexibility, too.

    “This is a prime example of why the National League rules have to stay,” Roberts said. “You’re talking about sports and strategies. Now, the way baseball is going, it has exceeded every sport. Basketball can’t do it like this. Football can’t. They can scheme. But baseball has superseded any sport as far as strategy.”

    As Roberts spoke, Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers’ president of baseball operations, entered his office.

    “Me and him, we have so many conversations. On the surface, the way I’m wired, you see certain things. But now, to be able to see it in different ways . . . You think I could have been prepared for this if I didn’t have this guy and all the guys we have in baseball ops?”

    Roberts, who is talking with the Dodgers about a contract extension, was not trying to cozy up to his boss. He was merely expressing the reality of baseball in 2018. Information flows. Ideas blossom. Opinions change.

    On Wednesday, in one of the biggest games of the season, a team removed a starting pitcher after one hitter. Bemoan the loss of tradition if you must. Or embrace the excitement of a new day.

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