Among Los Angeles Dodgers fans and journalists who follow the day-to-day activities of the organization, there is a phrase that has been repeated like a mantra this year: the team is not as good as it used to be.
An offseason that included the loss of talent to free agency, along with a rocky start, They created in the social imaginary an idea far from reality.
While so far in the 2023 schedule, the Dodgers haven’t moved at the same winning speed as last year, Chavez Ravine’s ninth managed to reach the top of the NL West on the last day of activities before the All-Star Game festivities, which means that They are masters of their own destiny.
According to projections based on thousands of simulations, the Dodgers have a 95 percent chance of continuing their campaign to the postseason draw and an eight percent chance of becoming the old circuit contenders for the next World Series.
Despite dealing with a myriad of injuries that at some point affected every single pitcher in the rotation they introduced on Opening Day (Michael Grove, Clayton Kershaw, Dustin May, Noah Syndergaard, Julio Urías), Dave Roberts’s team has managed to get their face out of the water and be able to breathe.
It’s no lie that the Dodgers have struggled remarkably with their pitching and that they have lost 22 games where they had the advantage at some point on the boardbut within the books of odds, the set of Los Angeles is in the favorites to win the Major League Baseball title behind only the Atlanta Braves and Tampa Bay Rays.
dodgers they have won seven of their last 10 meetings and are currently riding a four-game winning streak.
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Bettors continue to believe that the Los Angeles Dodgers have the fundamentals to reach the Fall Classic and that is that they have the necessary tools to paint the October skies blue.
After a few difficult months, the dodgers have steadied the ship coming in halfway with four straight wins (each by multiple races) and a record of 11-5 in his last 16 (since a three-game sweep at the hands of the division rival San Francisco Giants).
Much of the responsibility for the Dodgers being at the top right now is due to handling situations. Characterized last year by their lack of postseason hunger, manager Dave Roberts has been able to inject a dose of competitiveness to raise the helm when everything looked uphill.
“I think in years past, with the talent there can be a bit of…I don’t want to say complacency, but you know the talent is there. We have the talent to excel.”Roberts pointed out a few days ago in an interview with The Los Angeles Times.
The Dodgers have several players with World Series experience. Freddie Freeman led the Atlanta Braves to a victory in 2021. Clayton Kershaw, Julio Urias and many other current Atlanta Braves The Dodgers were part of Los Angeles’ 2020 Fall Classic victory when they beat the Tampa Bay Rays to end a drought of more than 30 years. Experience in big games cannot be overlooked. Several players on the current roster understand what it takes to win and it won’t be easy for them to collapse under pressure. No, there aren’t many stats to study when it comes to sheer experience and overcoming nerves.
THE MAGIC OF MOOKIE BETTS
The alignment of the Dodgers presents a lot of power.
With seven career All-Star Game calls, Mookie Betts He is the most visible face of the team. Mookie already has 26 home runs this season, putting him on pace to eclipse his personal best (35) hit last season.. Betts has been in charge with his bat to resolve some encounters and with his glove to occupy key positions. This year he already played short stop when he had never done so in the Major Leagues.
During the 10 games before Saturday, Mookie Betts had reached base in 28 of 47 plate appearances: 12 walks, two singles, eight doubles and six home runs, while driving in 14 runs and scoring 13.
According to OptaStats, Betts is only the seventh player since 1920 to have a dozen extra-base hits, a dozen walks, a dozen runs scored and a dozen RBIs in a 10-game span. The others were Babe Ruth in 1921, Rogers Hornsby in 1928, Mel Ott in 1929, Lou Gehrig in 1935, Vic Wertz in 1950, and Ted Williams in 1950 and 1951.
With Mookie Betts and Freedie Freeman In the line up, the Los Angeles Dodgers have a 1-2 that any boxer would envy. Betts has developed into a power hitter and still has his instinct to put the ball anywhere on the field. With Betts taking a spot before him, Freeman has improved.
Freeman entered the All-Star break as the only Dodger to play in all 89 games. Last season he was present in 159 games. He was the team leader in nearly every offensive category in 2022 and is on track to do so this year. He has 114 hits and his .320 average is the best in Los Angeles. He is second in OPS .952 behind Betts.
At 35 years of age, Clayton Kershaw is in the midst of one of his best seasons, posting an ERA of .255 batting average and a 1.05 WHIP that makes him tied with Zac Gallen of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Although Kershaw is currently on the disabled list, the veteran pitcher has taken the lead with several of his teammates missing.
The lefty was named to his 10th All-Star Game to tie a franchise record, and his performance has been crucial amid uncertainty for Los Angeles starting pitchers.
JULIO URIAS WARMS UP IN THE SECOND HALF
At almost 27 years old, Julio Urías seems to have been playing in the Major Leagues all his life. And it is that the Mexican left-handed debuted with just 19 springs. Despite the fact that he is not in his best campaign, the Sinaloan has something in his favor: his second halves have always been very good and he has the experience to overcome the ups and downs of the long game schedule.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Julio Urías will start the team’s first game of the second half on Friday against the New York Mets at Citi Field.
Urías has been shaky this season, posting a 4.39 ERA after leading the National League with a mark of 2.16 in 2022but it is in the second parts when the lefty finds his way.
Last season after his worst 3-6 start, Urías managed to settle down and closed the season with seven unbeaten starts, pitching in each of them at least five innings. His ERA was 1.79 in the second half and that’s what the Dodgers will be looking for from the Mexican.