That is after all the ultimate reason they play the game. Dodger fans got gypped after the last one. No parade. The pandemic screwed up a lot of things, and fans enjoying sports was one of them.
Now, with the team headed to the playoffs one more time, fans seem to really want this one bad. But many think it will be probably the hardest path to the series they have had.
And the reason is pitching. There are some really talented kids on this team, and a couple of grizzled vets. One gives up homers at an alarming rate, and the other is a hospital visit waiting to happen.
How many innings can they get out of Kersh??? Big question. So this time, things are going to really look different pitching wise. Openers and piggybackers.
That seems to be the formula they will be using to win these games. Right now, the Dodgers have one of the best bullpens in the business. They have a nice mix of flamethrowers and one guy who would have trouble breaking a pane of glass with his heater.
But a guy like that following someone like Miller, look out. I have been impressed mostly by the rapid progress of Pepiot, Sheehan and Miller. Grove looks better than when he first came up.
Another thing to watch is the Dodger defense. For the most part, the defense has been excellent, especially in the outfield, and at shortstop when Rojas is there. Freeman is a gold glove first baseman and when Mookie plays second, the defense is exceptional.
The problem is at third when Muncy is there. So far, Muncy has made 15 errors at third in 122 games. His fielding pct is .946. By comparison, Matt Chapman, who many fans want the Dodgers to pursue in free agency, has 12 in 136 games and his pct is .968. Chris Taylor has played 28 games there and has 1 error.
Defensively, I would rather have Taylor, but the Dodgers need Max’s bat. Catching is in the capable hands of Smith and Barnes. Both are good defensive catchers, and both call good games.
Where Smith falls short is catching base runners. His career pct of caught stealing is 22%. He is just below that number this season. He only has 2 passed balls all year. Considering Grandal was in double figures almost every season he was in LA, that is a great number. Barnes is worse in caught stealing, only getting 10% of the runners. Both need improvement and help from the pitchers who need to do a better job holding runners.
Barnes has one more passed ball than Smith. The backup players, Rosario, who has yet to make an error as a Dodger, Wong, one error in 10 games, Hernandez, 3 errors in 53 games, and Taylor, are all excellent fielders.
Say what you will about the offense, they score runs. They scored 900 for the first time in Los Angeles Dodger history. They also are the best at scoring runs with two outs with well over 300.
They are hitting .276, best in the NL, with runners in scoring position. Four 100 RBI players for the first time in team history, 5 players with 20 homers or more. A well balanced attack.
In my opinion, they still strike out a bit too much, Outman, Muncy and Martinez the biggest offenders, but those three also supply a bulk of the power.
They walk a lot and work high counts out of the opponents staff. They have some things to work on before the playoffs start, and they won’t know who they are playing until after the Wild card series. But they need to be ready for anything.
For some fans, just getting there is not going to be enough. They want the win.