Similar to the Cleveland Indians, the LA Dodgers went on an absolute tear from June 7 through Aug. 1 and won 40 of 46 games. As it turned out, it was all for naught and the Dodgers fell in seven games in a fantastic World Series to the Houston Astros.
An overall mediocre offense, the Dodgers did very well for their mid-level production. As a team, they hit just .249, but slugged .437 behind the second most doubles and fourth most homers in the National League. Shortstop Corey Seager and third baseman Justin Turner led the offense with a combined batting average of .307, 43 dingers, and 65 doubles. Turner led all third basemen in Major League Baseball with a .322 average.
Pitching was the Dodgers’ bread and butter with the best staff in the NL. LA led the NL in ERA, runs allowed, walks, and strike outs. In addition, the Dodgers led MLB in hits allowed and WHIP. Starters Clayton Kershaw and Alex Wood led the stellar pitching rotation with 18 and 16 wins, respectively. Kershaw led the NL with a 2.31 ERA.
The bugaboo for Dodger pitchers was an allowance of line drives. If the Dodgers got opposing batters to hit the ball in the air or on the ground, they combined for a .222 average. However, the Dodgers allowed a .604 average when opposing batters were able to drive the ball. Despite the massive success from line drives, they did a great job limiting the number of line drives to about one-third the total number of combined ground balls and fly balls.
It was a good thing the Dodgers were strong on the mound, because they weren’t fantastic defensively. Despite tallying the highest defensive efficiency in the NL–because they had the fewest defensive chances–the Dodgers were in the middle-third of MLB with 88 errors committed and a fielding percentage of .985.
The scary thing about the Dodgers is that they should be even better in 2018. Yes, Cody Bellinger played out of his mind, and there’s a good chance he’ll regress at least a little bit this season. Yes, outfielder Joc Pederson missed a considerable amount of time in 2017 and struggled to produce like he did his rookie season. But the consistency of this roster should be enough to meld together and have another outstanding season. Kershaw and Wood will continue to anchor the pitching staff as they were nearly unhittable in 2017. They each have the ability to set the tone for this team again.
The worst scenario for the Dodgers would be that Turner reverts to his play before he first arrived in LA with a .260 career batting average, 58 total doubles, and 89 RBIs in five seasons. Another nightmare would include Pederson having another down year and Bellinger with a wicked sophomore slump. There’s obviously a myriad of hellish scenarios we could go through with Kershaw and the pitching staff, but we won’t even touch those.
That being said, I don’t think half of those will happen and the Dodgers will come out of the NL looking for redemption in the World Series.
Photo by Brigham Berthold