Who is ready for Dodger playoffs?!? We are finally here. After 162 games the Dodgers won the NL West Division and finished second to the Washington Nationals in National League. The playoff journey for the Dodgers begins this Friday versus St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals are one of two teams with the Phillies being the other team, that Dodgers fans despise in recent memory. The Phillies and Cardinals have eliminated the Dodgers In the NLCS the last three playoff appearances for the Dodgers. Dodger fans can’t wait for the Dodgers to return the favor to the Cardinals and bounced them from the playoffs. I despise the Cardinal way!
The all important Game 1 is a scary matchup for both teams. The Cardinals will have their ace Adam Wainwright take the mound, who is the only other pitcher in MLB to record 20 wins. The Dodgers will send their ace, the reigning CY Young (who will repeat this year) and the 2014 National League MVP Clayton Kershaw. It is totally possible that Wainwright can out-pitch Kershaw for one game or that something flukey happens and the Cardinals steal Game 1. One other thing to worry about is that as great as Kershaw has been in the regular reason, he has been the opposite in the postseason. The last time we saw Kershaw pitch in October he was getting rocked by the Cardinals.
However, I believe that 2014 is Kershaw years. He has never been as dominated as he’s been this year. I believe and am confident that Kershaw will deliver starting this Friday. Clayton Kershaw is more than ready to carry the Dodgers deep into the postseason. Now Kershaw can’t do this on his own and lucky for him he and the Dodger have Zach Greinke. Greinke came up huge for the Dodgers last in postseason. I would argue that he was the Dodgers best pitcher in October. The combo of Kershaw-Greinke makes the Dodgers a dangerous team. For the Dodgers they have to be hoping that’s Kershaw-Greinke and duplicate the performance that Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling put on in the 2001 postseason when that duo was simply dominated and delivered a World Series to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Another positive for the Dodgers entering the postseason is that it appears that the bats have gotten hot at the right time. From top to bottom it seems that the lineup is clicking on all cylinders which is what you want from your team coming into October. Hopefully the Dodgers bats stay hot or else their playoff run will be rather short. Unfortunately, not everything is dandy with the Dodgers as no team in playoffs is without flaws. The Dodgers biggest weakness would have to be their bullpen where it seems that you can’t trust anyone except for Kenley Jansen. The bullpen could very well be the undoing of the Dodgers if they can’t hold a lead before it gets to Jansen. This weakness puts more strain on the starting pitching to go deep into games tans limiting the bullpen work. If that wasn’t enough to make Don Mattingly restless then the uncertainty of whether or not he will Hyun-Jin Ryu as his number 3 starter sure will. If Ryu is not healthy enough to pitch in the NLDS then the Dodgers will have to rely on Dan Haren who has turned it around as of late. If Ryu can pitch like his old self then the Dodgers starting rotation becomes that much more deadly.
The Dodgers epitomizes the saying “to whom much is given much is expected” given that they have the highest payroll in baseball. The window for the Dodgers to win a World Series is closing believe it or not. They are in a win now mode. And I believe with all my heart that the Dodgers shall deliver a World Series to Los Angeles!
Go Dodgers!! Think Blue!