With the Dodgers Magic number to clinch their 7th straight division title at 1, its safe to say the boys in blue will be back in the playoffs once again, and this year they are projected to be the #1 seed in the NL. However there are some pretty good teams in the Wild Card chase this year that could actually test the Dodgers in that first round playoff series. Here are the 3 teams I would not want to face in the 1st round of the playoffs.
Image: Dodgers outfielders Joc Pederson, Cody Bellinger, and Alex Verdugo celebrate a win / Photo Credit DodgerBlue.com
- The Chicago Cubs.
The Cubs and Dodgers have met 2 of the last 3 seasons in the NLCS, with each team splitting a series, (Cubs in 2016 and Dodgers in 2017). The Cubs have a great team on paper, however have been hampered by injuries all season long. Still they have a very solid club that could give the Dodgers some issues in a 5 game series. Yu Darvish has started to pitch better as of late and would like nothing more than to beat his former team in the playoffs.
Image: Yu Darvish pitching against the Reds / Photo Credit: ESPN.com
Even with the loss of Javy Baez for the year, the Cubs still boast a lineup with 2016 MVP Kris Bryant, perennial All-Star Anthony Rizzo, and all star catcher Wilson Ramos. The Cubs also have 3 great left handed pitchers on their staff, (Jon Lester, Cole Hamels, and Jose Quintana) that have all pitched well against the Dodgers in the past. However, due to the Dodgers recent success against the Cubs over the past 2 seasons, I would say the Dodgers would take this series 3-1.
Image: Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo together / Photo Credit: NBCSports.com
- The New York Mets
This is my surprise team on this list, however, im sure if you asked a lot of people in baseball they would probably say the same. The Mets made the surprise move of the trade deadline when they acquired Marcus Stroman from the Toronto Blue Jays, a move that many people across the league seriously questioned, however it has worked out pretty well for them. Overall, the Mets have 3 top of the line starters in reigning Cy Young winner Jacob DeGrom, All Star Noah Syndergaard, and Zack Wheeler along with Steven Matz who has been pitching better as of late, the Mets have one of the most formidable starting pitching rotations in all of baseball.
Image: Steven Matz, Noah Syndergaard, and Jacob DeGrom together / Photo Credit: RosterResource.com
At the plate, the team has picked it up in the 2nd half led by rookie Pete Alonso who is currently tied for first with 47 home runs this year, and is only 5 home runs away from tying Aaron Judges ] record for most home runs in a rookie season (52). The one thing that has hurt the Mets as of recent has been the bullpen and specifically Edwin Diaz. Diaz has now blown 2 games with a 4+ run lead (one to the Dodgers earlier in the year) and just can’t seem to get hitters out. The Dodgers would take this series 3-1 however each game would be decided by 3 runs of less.
Image: Pete Alonso celebrates hitting a home run / Photo Credit: SportsIllustrated.com
- The Washington Nationals
If I had told you last year at this time that the Nationals would trade Bryce Harper, have Max Scherzer miss 4-8 weeks with back injuries, and have the worst bullpen ERA through the first half of the season, and that they would be 3 games up in the 1st wild card spot with 20 games to go in the season, you probably would have told me I was crazy. However the Nationals have exceeded many people’s expectations and have been one of the biggest surprises in all of baseball. The Nationals pitching has been as good as advertised with the 3 headed monster of Max Scherzer, Steven Strasburg, and Patrick Corbin all having great seasons, with each pitcher ranking in the top 4 in strikeouts, top 15 in ERA, and top 20 in wins across the National League and have propelled this team to get to where they are, however they have not had to do it alone.
Image: Nationals twitter with a picture of Max Scherzer, Steven Strasburg, and Patrick Corbin who all have reached 200 strikeouts on the season / Photo Credit: Twitter.com/@Nationals
Anthony Rendon has had his best season as a professional slashing .337/.417/.630 with 32 HR’s 114 RBI’s 41 doubles, and a 1.047 OPS on the season. Those numbers have put Rendon in the MVP conversation on the season. Juan Soto has also played tremendously in his 2nd full season in the bigs becoming just the 4th player in MLB history to sport a .400 OBP (on base percentage) to start their career, minimum 100 games. Overall this Nationals team is probably better than most of the teams that they have had in the past, however, while their bullpen has been better than it was in the 1st half of the year, they are still pretty bad. The series would go 5 tough games, but I see the Dodgers being able to pull off a game 5 win in Los Angeles.
Image: Anthony Rendon getting a hit at home / Photo Credit: BleacherReport.com
Who do you think would give the Dodgers the most trouble? Could the Dodgers be upset in the first round and by who? Leave your comment below and as always, Thanks for Reading!