The Dodgers have won the NL pennant in back to back years, and are once again looking like the frontrunner to take home another pennant this year. The team seems to be clicking on all cylinders and it looks like they are enjoying plating every night. Here are the top 3 reasons I think the Dodgers will be NL west Champions for the 3rd consecutive season.
Image: 2019 Dodgers introduction on opening day / Photo Credit: NBCLA.com
- The pitching staff is deep and talented
The Dodgers pitching staff has been one of the best in baseball once again, but there is a different face at the top of that leaderboard. While I believe Clayton Kershaw is still the emotional leader of this pitching staff, it’s been Hyun-Jin Ryu who has been the best pitcher on the staff. Ryu holds a 7-1 record and a league best 1.65 ERA among qualified pitchers. Along with the microscopic ERA, Ryu has been extremely consistent, as in 65 ⅓ innings he has allowed just 4 walks while striking out 62 batters, good for a 15.5/1 strikeout to walk ratio which is also best among qualified starting pitchers.
Image: Hyun-Jin Ryu pitching on Mother’s Day / Photo Credit: Onlinegambling.com
The rest of the staff has also been solid as the team currently holds a combined ERA of 3.41, 3rd in all of baseball behind just the Houston Astros (3.40 ERA) and the Tampa Bay Rays (2.97), and 1st in the National League. The Bullpen has been good but has had some shakey moments. Kenley Jansen continues to be one of the best relievers in all of baseball, however he is on pace to have the worst ERA of his career for a single season at 3.80. However he has been pitching better of late which gives fans hope.
Image: Kenley Jansen closing out a win for LA vs the Diamondbacks / Photo Credit: TrueBlueLA.com
- The offense has been on fire since day 1
Since the Dodgers set an opening day record by crushing 8 home runs, the team has continued their hot batting. The team currently 3rd in the National League in home runs, 5th in batting average, and first in RBI’s. Cody Bellinger is leading the team thanks to a historically hot start. Bellinger has been breaking records left and right all season long and currently leads all of baseball in hits, runs, batting average, and OPS. It also seems Joc Pederson, Justin Turner, and Corey Seager have all been heating up over the past 30 days raising all their offensive statistics.
Image: Cody Bellinger getting a hit off the Giants / Photo Credit: LASportsHub.com
One thing the Dodgers have that many other teams don’t is the ability to put out multiple different line ups depending on the starting pitcher. For the right handed starters, the Dodgers can go heavy with lefties, where as when a left handed starter takes the mound, the can put out the right handed dominant line up. Either way, the Dodgers always try to get the advantage depending on the pitcher and it seems to have paid off for them so far this year.
Image: LA Dodger’s outfielders celebrating a win / Photo Credit: YahooSports.com
- The team looks more motivated than ever.
It’s not easy to make it to the World Series. It took the Dodgers 29 years from 1988-2017 just to get back to one after just missing out on the series from 2013-2016. However for this Dodger team, just making it to the World Series will not be good enough. The team becomes the first since 2012 to lose back to back World Series and to make things worse, both the clinching games were played at Dodger Stadium meaning the Dodgers had to watch 2 different teams celebrate a World Series win on their field. Not a great sight for fans, but the loses have seemed to really motivate the Dodgers to get the job done this year.
Image: Dodgers watching the Astros win the 2017 World Series in LA / Photo Credit: Redlinesdailyfacts.com
The team is going about their business differently, they got rid of players that were not willing to buy into the philosophy of playing hard every single day, and they have surrounded themselves with coaches who are ready to take their players to that next level. If the team can make it back to the World Series again, all the core players and coaches will be more experience in that situation, and will hopefully make the right decisions to help bring a title to LA.
Image: LA Dodgers celebrate a win at home / Photo Credit: DodgerBlue.com
Do you think the Dodgers can make it back to the World Series? Who is your favorite to win the National League? Leave a comment below, and as always, thanks for reading.