The Los Angeles Dodgers are in playoff mode, preparing for the postseason after a remarkable August where they boasted an impressive 24-4 record, thanks to standout performances by Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman. During this spectacular run, they also received strong contributions from starting pitchers like Lance Lynn. However, as September rolled in, the team faced some hurdles, particularly concerning their starting rotation.
Despite the recent struggles, ESPN Senior Writer David Schoenfield still considers the Dodgers as one of the top favorites in the upcoming playoffs. The favorites tier includes esteemed MLB teams like Atlanta, Baltimore, Tampa Bay, Houston, and, of course, Los Angeles.
Why they can win the World Series: Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman are the dynamic duo. The offense doesn’t stop there, though, with the likes of Will Smith, Max Muncy, J.D. Martinez and even solid contributors like Chris Taylor, Jason Heyward and James Outman. Only the Braves have scored more runs.
With MVP-caliber seasons from their top two batters, the Dodgers always maintain the potential to win any game. The impact brought by players like Betts and Freeman, combined with the talent behind them, contributes significantly to their success. Notably, Mookie Betts has tallied an impressive 103 RBIs this year, primarily from the leadoff spot, thanks to the support of players in the lower order who help him score runs. However, one key concern is the absence of Walker Buehler, who won’t be returning this year and could have provided a valuable replacement for Julio Urias amid his ongoing legal issues.
Why they won’t: The rotation is, umm, a bit of a mess. Julio Urias is on administrative leave after his arrest on felony domestic violence charges. The Dodgers haven’t been able to fix Lance Lynn. Walker Buehler will not return this season. The rotation now includes rookies Bobby Miller, Ryan Pepiot and Emmet Sheehan alongside Clayton Kershaw and Lynn.
Lance Lynn was a crucial acquisition for the Dodgers during this year’s trade deadline. He started his tenure with the team on fire, going 4-0 in his first five games with a remarkable 2.03 ERA. Lynn consistently pitched 6-7 innings per start and managed to avoid loading the bases when giving up home runs. However, his recent performances have taken a nosedive, with his last two starts resulting in a staggering 15.00 ERA. Over the course of 9 innings, he has recorded only 2 strikeouts.
Verdict: Real. Here’s the thing: Don’t overlook the Dodgers (not that anyone is overlooking the Dodgers). Kershaw is still great (2.61 ERA), Miller is reliable and potentially dominant at times with his 99 mph fastball, and Pepiot had made two starts and not allowed a run. And did we mention Betts and Freeman?
For the Dodgers to make a deep postseason run, it’s imperative to address the issues in Lynn’s approach or pitch mix. Despite the pitching challenges, the Dodgers’ offense remains elite, consistently scoring over five runs per game. With a reliable and confident pitching staff that can prevent blowups, the lineup, featuring two MVPs and multiple All-Stars, remains a formidable force capable of keeping the team competitive in every postseason game.
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