2018 LA Dodgers Opening Lines
Close But No Cigar In 2017
There's no doubt that the Los Angeles Dodgers had a killer 2017. Their record of 104-58 was the best in the league, and a record for the Dodgers since they've played in LA. They seemed to cruise in the postseason as well. Facing the Diamondbacks in the NLDS, the Dodgers got the sweep behind starters Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, and Yu Darvish, to reach their third NLCS in five years.
While it seemed like Los Angeles was going to sweep again in the NLCS, the Chicago Cubs fought back to break the NL West champs unbeaten postseason run, but eventually succumbed, leading the Dodgers to their first World Series appearance since 1988.
Fresh off a seven game series with the Yankees, no one expected the Astros to put up a big fight against the best team in baseball. After another thrilling seven game series though, the Dodgers failed to use their homefield advantage to put away the Astros, who pounced on Yu Darvish for a second straight outing. After coming just a few runs away from winning the title, the Dodgers will be fired up for 2018.
A New Look For 2018
The Dodgers will most likely have a new look for 2018. Starting pitcher Yu Darvish became a free agent, along with relievers Brandon Morrow and Tony Watson. Curtis Granderson, Franklin Gutierrez, and Chase Utley also entered free agency. Adrian Gonzalez is also rumored to be finished as a Dodger after his stark Bautista-esque decline.
Their main concern should be pitching though. There's a lot of buzz about Shohei Ohtani, the phenom Japanese pitcher who is just 23-years-old. The youngster would fit in well with Los Angeles, and on top of getting a new starter, they'll have a solid hitter as well. Ohtani has hit .322. and .332 in the past two seasons in the Nippon League in Japan.
Will They Win Their Division?
The NL West is a very competitive division, but in 2017 the Dodgers still dominated, leaving the 93 win Diamondbacks and 87 win Rockies in the dust. And that's including LA's steep regression in the last month of play. Los Angeles should still lead the pack in 2017. The only question is whether Arizona or Colorado (or maybe a resurgent Giants team) play well enough themselves to earn a Wild Card spot.
Odds to Win the MLB World Series
Right after the World Series ended, surprisingly enough, the Dodgers opened as favorites to win the next World Series. Soon after though, the Astros rightly became favored. As it stands today, LA is +550 to win, and second favored overall, just ahead of the Indians. This seems to be a good price for a team who we know will patch up a few inconsistencies for the new season.
The Dodgers just need another piece to be able to take it all next year. The Astros flew under the radar and impressed and surprised, but now that they're the title-holders, that brings a lot of pressure. We know their division isn't tough, but they might not make it out of the ALCS next year.
That being said, the Dodgers are one player away from making up those few runs that cost them the title in Game 7. A different batter in cleanup could have made the difference. A different starting pitcher would have made the difference.
At +550, look for the Dodgers to amend their errors and add that piece that will lead them to victory in 2018. The Dodgers were objectively the better team, so don't count them out.
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