The Dodgers have not won the World Series since 1988 when Kirk Gibson pumped his arm after the memorable Game 1 game-winning HR over the Oakland’s A’s. They have not even been back to the Fall Classic since then, but is this their season?
To say they have been on fire since the All-Star break would be an understatement, and they have the NL West in the bag. It has been almost 30 years since the Boys in Blue won it all, but that will change this season.
Breaking it open
The Dodgers had been in a dogfight for the top spot in the NL West, but then the weather and the Dodgers started to heat up. They went an MLB best 21-7 in June and they have the best record since the All-Star break. How good have they been? Well, they have won 13 of their last 14 games, including their last four, and they have opened a 15.5 game lead in the NL West. What is even more impressive is that their huge lead in the division is over the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks, 16 and 15 games over .500 respectively. The Dodgers have the best record in the Majors by eight games and have the biggest run differential (+204).
The rich get richer
The Dodgers have been on fire and still have the lowest team ERA in the majors even though the best pitcher in baseball, Clayton Kershaw (15-2 2.04 ERA), has been on the DL with a back issue and has not appeared in a game since July 23rd. The club added Yu Darvish from the Texas Rangers before the trade deadline and in his first start for LA he went out and pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing three hits in a 6-0 win over the New York Mets.
The rotation has covered for the loss of Kershaw well. Kenta Maeda has not given up more that one earned run in his last four starts and Hyun-Jin Ryu has not allowed any earned runs in his last two starts.
Bats there as well
The Dodgers are a balanced team. Not only do they top the Majors in team ERA, but rank 5th in runs scored. Cody Bellinger (32 HR 75 RBI) is a shoe in for the NL Rookie of the Year, Justin Turner leads the NL in batting average, and six players on the squad have at least 41 RBI.
The Dodgers have been underwhelming in the playoffs in the last couple of decades even though they have had some great teams. This one may be their best and they are on pace to win an amazing 115 games. Kershaw’s back injury is an issue, but he should return to top form even though he has been less than stellar in the postseason in his career. Still, with Darvish in the fold and a great staff, even without Kershaw, this is the year that Dodgers fans can finally celebrate another World Series win.
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