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WHO CAN DETHRONE THE DODGERS?
MemberJanuary 7, 2021 at 7:37 pm
Since we’re being real, the true threats to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2021 MLB season are going to be complacency & health. After 8 consecutive National League West Division titles, the Dodgers have finally gotten the proverbial monkey off their backs and are World Series Champions. They have represented the NL in the World Series for 3 of the last 4 years. They were cheated in one, lost one and won one. It will be interesting to see how Dave Roberts can keep this team motivated to win, considering how emotionally taxing this run has been. However, if players can stay healthy and perform at their highest abilities, the Dodgers are still the favorites to win the NL. *Insert teams that shouldn’t be taken lightly*
The San Diego Padres are tired of being the Dodgers’ “little brother”. In 2020, the Padres played well enough to get into the playoffs and earned a spot in the National League Division Series, ultimately being swept by their “big brother”. San Diego’s fans will tell you that the series would have a different outcome if their starters were healthy. Well, in 2021, they’re going to have, presumably, a healthy Dinelson Lamet, Blake Snell and Yu Darvish. All have pitched well against the Dodgers in recent years, most notably Blake Snell in Game 6 of the 2020 World Series. Darvish and Lamet were Cy Young candidates this year. Facing those 3 in a short series will not be fun and is dangerous. Remember the Dodgers were favored in their 2019 NLDS duel against the Washington Nationals but lost mainly because of the big 3 in the Nationals’ rotation; Max Scherzer, Patrick Corbin and Stephen Strasburg. Great pitching beats great hitting.
What if Mookie Betts didn’t make awe-inspiring, run-preventing, momentum-altering catches in 3 straight games against the Atlanta Braves in the 2020 National League Championship Series? There’s a good chance we lose that series. The Braves beat us in 3 out of 4 games to start that series, good enough to eliminate us had it been the division series. Their ace, Mike Soroka, was hurt too, if you recall, and their lineup’s depth pummeled our pitchers. All they did was gain experience in that series. They are a very young team, lead by Freddie Freeman, the 2020 NL MVP, and Ronald Acuña, Jr., a player who narrowly missed out on a 40-40 season in 2019. The Dodgers have pitched well against Acuña and will have to continue to do so when they inevitably face the Braves again in the postseason.
Who is Steve Cohen and what has he done with the New York Mets? As of 12 PM on January 7th, the Mets have a rotation that includes Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman and Carlos Carrasco. DeGrom has undisputably been the best pitcher in the National League, and honestly the Major Leagues, for the past several years. Syndergaard & Stroman have the potential to be dominant and I expect them to be, considering how many times they’ll be pitching with a lead this year. The Mets’ lineup has vastly improved this offseason, trading Ahmed Rosario for Francisco Lindor and bolstering the catcher position by signing James McCann. McCann does damage against lefties which may be concern for the Dodgers with their lefty-heavy rotation in Clayton Kershaw, David Price, and Julio Urías. Couple that with solid starters like Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil and a rumored push for George Springer and we have ourselves a potential postseason participant. Say that 5 times fast.
Ultimately, the Dodgers are still superior to these three teams and the entire National League. It is irresponsible and disrespectful, though, to not acknowledge the gap has gotten tighter this offseason. The front office knows it, even if they don’t say it, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we make a big move before the season starts just to widen up that gap again. We have needs at 3B and LF if we don’t give Chris Taylor a full time job or resign Justin Turner, yet can still win the division with the team we have today. Moreover, our bullpen is probably the strongest in the Majors, the clearest strength over the Padres, Braves and Mets.
Who do you think are legitimate threats to the Dodgers reign ?
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