Can the Los Angeles Dodgers Compete in the N.L. West this Year?
If you are ready for spring, and you’re looking for things to do, Los Angeles residents, then it’s probably time you put on your National League Championship gear and headed in the direction of Chavez Ravine. Those Dodger dogs and twelve-dollar beers are calling out to you.
It is true that if you live in Southern California, you will not be as desperate for warm weather as all the poor souls further east. That doesn’t mean, though, that you can’t be excited about baseball season. The Boys in Blue came tantalizingly close to winning a title last year. This year, they look to be contenders again not just in the NL West, but in the entirety of Major League Baseball.
Pitching Should be a Strength
The key to the Dodgers repeating as National League Champs, and possibly going on to win their first World Series since ’88, has got to be the starting pitching. You don’t get one game away from a championship by accident; the efforts of Alex Wood, Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, and Hyun-Jin Ryu will again mean the difference between success and failure in 2018.
If this group stays healthy, there’s no reason to think that they won’t be able to manhandle the rest of their division, although the rival Giants did make a splash in the offseason by locking up both former Ray Evan Longoria and longtime Pittsburgh Pirate Andrew McCutchen.
A Potent Lineup Will Also be a Factor
The other aspect of the Dodger’s success this year is going to be the potency of their lineup. The good news is that L.A. didn’t lose any major pieces to free agency. Yasiel Puig appears to have put his struggles behind him. If the temperamental outfielder can keep his tongue in his mouth long enough to do his job, there is no reason to believe that his bat can’t be a serious weapon for this group.
You add in the man with the best beard on planet Earth, Justin Turner, and new arrival from Atlanta Matt Kemp, and there is good reason to think that L.A. can expect its sixth straight National League West crown come the end of September. This starting lineup is looking like the most dangerous in possibly all of the National League.
The Dodgers have seen sustained success for several years now, and it’s hard to argue with their strategy. However, with their gargantuan payroll, it seems to be “championship or bust” at this point, much like the Red Sox or Yankees.
It has been every bit of thirty years since this team won it all, and the fanbase is starving. Will this October see their squad finally hoist that hardware they so fervently crave? Time will tell, Dodger fans, but this spring has brought plenty of reasons to set your sights high.