Are the Dodgers Overachievers or Overlooking Failure?
It seems as though in recent years, we are forced to look into the regular season success of the Los Angeles Dodgers and ultimately speculate whether they are contenders or not. Having finished with a winning record annually since 2005, the Dodgers have had little to no issue spending money in order to receive the hottest supposed names on the market. In fact, dating back to the 2014 campaign, the Dodgers have comfortably contained the highest payroll in the MLB at the end of each year.
With still a month to play in the 2017 regular season, the Dodgers have proven to be one of the most dominant forces in the league, or so it appears. Is this a team that will shock the world and make a World Series run, or are the Dodgers bound to come up short once again?
The club has not finished with 100+ wins since the 1974 season, in which they lost to the Oakland Athletics in a five-game set in the World Series. To address the elephant in the room, what makes this season any different from years past?
The Dodgers have averaged an even 5 runs per game this season, which is roughly 0.6 more than they did in 2016. Think that’s elite? The NL contenders also contain the best ERA in all of the MLB with a whopping 3.10. The next highest? That would be the Cleveland Indians at a 3.60.
This is a franchise that is posting staggering numbers on both sides. Only allowing 3.30 runs per game, the Dodgers have earned their right to be declared a postseason favorite.
On the other hand, Los Angeles has looked decent in years past. Sure, it hasn’t been of this magnitude, but Dodgers fans shouldn’t be celebrating too soon. With the return of Clayton Kershaw, the franchise will essentially pray he can finally earn his money in the postseason for once.
During the postseason of Kershaw’s career, he currently contains a record of 4-7 with a 4.55 ERA. While two of his wins have come from the 2016 season, there is plenty of room for skepticism in his direction.
Many will argue that the Dodgers have enough depth within the starting rotation in case Kershaw isn’t himself after returning from his injury, but do they really? The totals of Yu Darvish, Rich Hill, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Kenta Maeda reveals an underwhelming combined starting record of 2-5.
While the sample size may be minor, it goes to show that regular season success doesn’t always correlate within the MLB.
In terms of hitting, the Dodgers have relied heavily on the success of rookie sensation Cody Bellinger. While the 22-year old is expected to return from the 10-day DL this week, will we witness a potential decline in his efficiency rating?
Another piece to the Dodgers historic season has been veteran third baseman Justin Turner. Through the postseason, the franchise could very well look his way for leadership, as he’s put up an astonishing batting average of .357 in his postseason career.
Where do you stand? Is this a franchise that could ride their hot streak into the World Series, or will they continue to be overshadowed by their expectations? October will be a telling time for the baseball world, as the stage is notorious for separating contenders from pretenders.
USA Today Images
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