Kirk Gibson limping his way around the base paths following his game-winning pinch-hit homer. Orel Hershiser pitching lights out. Tommy LaSorda being his usual bombastic self.
Yes, it’s been that long since the Los Angeles Dodgers won the World Series. The fall of 1988 saw LA’s National League team stun the heavily-favored Oakland Athletics to capture the Fall Classic.
The Dodgers have been trying to do it again ever since and this should be the year they finally do it. They’ve been World Series favorites at all of the leading MLB betting sites since the start of the season.
Currently, as they battle the Atlanta Braves in the National League Championship Series, the Dodgers are still listed as the +150 betting favorites to win the World Series.
Here are five reasons why this will in fact be the year of the Dodgers.
This is the eighth successive season that the Dodgers have advanced to the postseason by winning the NL West Division title. It’s also the fourth time in five seasons that LA has reached the NLCS.
They represented the Senior Circuit in the 2017 and 2018 World Series. The Dodgers lost in seven games to the Houston Astros in 2017 and in five games to the Boston Red Sox in 2018.
They’ve faced virtually every postseason scenario, so there’s little that fate can throw at the team that they’ve haven’t dealt with previously.
Some Major League Baseball teams suit up an MVP. The Dodgers go three deep in MVPs.
Outfielder Cody Bellinger is the reigning NL MVP. Outfielder Mookie Betts, acquired in an offseason trade with Boston, was the 2018 American League MVP. In 2014, starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw was named NL MVP. He’s the only pitcher to win the NL MVP Award over the past 52 years.
Both Bellinger and infielder Corey Seager were named NL rookie of the year. Dodgers skipper Dave Roberts is a past winner of the NL manager of the year.
Depth Of Talent
Entering the season, the Dodgers were anticipated to be a juggernaut, a powerhouse ballclub and they may have surpassed that billing.
LA went an MLB-best 43-17 during the regular season. Their .717 winning percentage was the best posted in a single season since the 1954 Cleveland Indians.
The team’s batting order is so deep that if someone goes into a slump, they’ll be easily picked up by teammates. LA led the big leagues with 349 runs scored. The Dodgers were second in baseball in OPS (.821).
They clouted a big-league high 118 home runs. LA set an MLB record by hitting a homerun in 5.1% of all plate appearances.
Through the first five games of the 2020 postseason, LA outscored opponents 30-11.
Pitching And Defense
The popular theory is that these are the qualities that ultimately win in the playoffs and LA features both in abundance.
The Dodgers posted an MLB-best 2.47 earned-run average this season. In Kershaw and Walker Buehler, they’re situated with a dynamic duo at the top of their starting rotation that no team can better. And No. 3 starter Dustin May is 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA in four career postseason appearances.
Behind them, Tony Gonsolin and Julio Urias aren’t exactly soft touches.
They can also catch the ball. LA allowed just 2.00 runs per game that were not generated by home runs. That was fourth-best in baseball. In terms of defensive runs saved, the Dodgers were second overall in the majors (+29).
Go Ahead, Try And Find A Weakness
Five Dodgers reached double digits in homers. Two hit over .300. All nine everyday players posted an OPS of .680 or better. Three were over .900. All five starting pitchers posted ERAs of 3.44 or better. Three were 2.57 or lower.
Closer Kenley Jansen can be an adventure at times when he takes to the mound but the Dodgers are able to support his occasional sub-par performances with a wealth of electric relief arms.
LA’s bullpen ERA in the playoffs so far is 1.29. Adam Kolarek has proven to be the only Dodgers reliever required to pitch on three successive days all season long.
It all adds up to 2020 finally being the year of the Dodgers.