The Los Angeles Dodgers are headed back to the playoffs for the third year in a row courtesy of their National League Western Division title. They face the New York Mets in the NLDS, which is best of five. The Dodgers are trying to bring home their first World Series title since 1988. They have Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw pitching for them, a pair of aces that can rival the top two pitchers in any rotation in MLB. So can online betting fans expect the Dodgers to end 27 years of futility and bring home a championship?
NL Playoff Online Betting Team Preview: L.A. Dodgers
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) October 7, 2015
Here’s why they’re a good bet to do it. The Mets (and any other series opponent) is likely to face Kershaw and Greinke in Games 1 and 2, which means that they will have to fight off two potential Cy Young winners. Kershaw has not pitched well in the postseason in the past, but he is determined to leave that trend behind this year. Greinke has had a terrific year in terms of consistency, posting an ERA below 2.00 all year long. The wealth of the team has allowed them to carry tons of dead payroll while keeping a loaded roster on the field.
Things haven’t been easy this year, of course. Yasiel Puig, the talented outfielder, has been restricted by injury and is not anticipated to be on the NLDS roster. However, the revival of veteran right fielder Andre Ethier has compensated for Puig’s absence. Rookie wonder Joc Pederson hit a major slump, but Kike Hernandez has gone from utility player to major contributor. Clubhouse spark plug Juan Uribe left, but Chase Utley – with World Series championship experience – came to join former teammate Jimmy Rollins. Howie Kendrick, Scott Schebler and Justin Ruggiano have also proven invaluable. Adding Ron Roenicke as the third base coach has made the Dodgers better on the bases, so they don’t need home runs if they want to score. Before the All-Star break, the Dodgers got 30 percent of their runs from the long ball; after, they only got a quarter of their runs that way. Corey Seager came up in September and might have earned a spot on the NLDS roster, hitting .333 and knocking three home runs with 15 RBI in just 23 games.
On the other hand, the Dodgers have a giant monkey on their back: eliminating the St. Louis Cardinals, who have sent them home the past two postseasons. So the Dodgers are likely hoping that the Cards fall to the wild card winner. As great as Clayton Kershaw has been, he has been awful against St. Louis, going 0-4 with a 7.15 ERA against them in the past two playoffs. Also, after Greinke and Kershaw, there are no other reliable starters on tap for Los Angeles. Alex Wood and Brett Anderson have been hit-and-miss, and Hyun-jin Ryu was out of the year in spring training. Mat Latos, the trade deadline acquisition, has since been released. The back end of the bullpen is also shaky, as the team is having a hard time preserving leads for closer Kenley Jansen. Their offense has dipped a bit too in the second half, so it will be intriguing to see what unfolds.