The Dodgers have suffered heartbreak in two back-to-back World Series finals now. But this season, they’ve got so many stars, veterans, and returning players that the third time has gotta be a charm, right? The Dodgers are spanking every other team in the NL West, and they’re looking to run away with it. Sitting pretty at 54-25 with a six-game win streak, they’ve actually got the best record in all of baseball right now. One thing’s for sure – this LA team doesn’t want things in their division to be anywhere near close at the end of September.
So… what have the Dodgers got going for them? What are their keys to success? Could this be their year to win the World Series? Well, to be honest, from the way this season is going so far, it’s looking like they’re probably going to make it to the championship again (*knocks on wood for the superstitious Dodgers fans out there*) and you should probably go see them play this season – just in case they do win it all!
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They’ve got phenomenal pitching
The Dodgers rotation should put the fear of God into any opposing lineup. Here are the five pitchers who’ll be pivotal in the team’s march toward the postseason and potential performance in the playoffs…
First off, you’ve got Hyun-Jin Ryu who was big time in Korea. Well, now he’s come into his own and he’s big time over here in LA. Not only does he have personality, he’s also got the most wins of any pitcher in the league (9) and the best ERA (1.26) right now too. He’s known for his ability to show constant control and command on the mound.
The 24-year-old Walker Buehler has the fastest fastball on the team (at 97 mph), and he’s also got a solid slider and tons of energy. Buehler is sure to be crucial for the postseason.
Pitcher Rich Hill has the fourth-best ERA in the National League (2.60) and he’s got a devastating curve ball. At 39, he’s older than the rest, but that means he’s just packed with experience and wisdom. Just last week, however, the Dodgers placed him on the injured list for left forearm discomfort – things are TBD while they investigate further.
Kenta Maeda from Japan can pitch in the starting rotation or the bullpen – wherever he’s needed really – but this year he’s become a full-time starter. He’s been huge for the Dodgers so far, he’s got seven wins in his new position, and, oh yeah, he can hit homers too.
Clayton Kershaw is the real legend on this team, but then again, he’s been one of the best pitchers in the majors for the past 10 years now. He’s smart and he’s got a lot of gas left in the tank, plus an enviable breaking pitch. Currently 7-1 with an ERA of 2.85, Kershaw has been critical in getting the Dodgers to the World Series in the past and it’s likely he will be again!
There are some big sluggers on this team. Cody Bellinger is a phenomenon and he’s topping the polls when it comes to who’ll be the season MVP. He received 30 of 34 first-place votes from MLB.com reporters. (Yeah, that’s better than Christian Yelich, the guy everybody thought would take the MVP title this year.) Bellinger leads the National League with a batting average of .355 and he’s on track for 51 home runs, 31 doubles, and 102 walks. There’s no doubt that he’s one of the best players out there right now and a driving force behind this Dodgers team with 93 hits so far this season. Bellinger is leading the team in literally every other category of stats too.
They’ve also got star batter Max Muncy whose trash-talking inspired t-shirts after he knocked a homer into the San Francisco Bay. Muncy told opposing pitcher Madison Bumgarner to “go get it out of the ocean.” So far, he’s got 17 home runs and 46 RBI.
Other batters are making a difference too, like Enrique Hernandez – affectionately known as Kiké – who launched a grand slam to push last week’s game against the Dodgers to a 9-0 blowout. Despite early struggles at the plate, that was his 11th homer of the season. And don’t forget about everybody’s favorite red-headed ball player, Justin Turner, who has been one of the top batters in the league over the past several years. This third baseman is now back in the lineup after a slow start to the season.
The Dodgers swept the Colorado Rockies over the weekend. Keep watching to see how the Dodgers handle the Arizona Diamondbacks this week and perform the rest of the season!
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