Are the Dodgers the Team to Beat?

Daniel Dougherty-Samowitz, Staff Writer

On August 25, 2012, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox pulled off one of  the most blockbuster trades in Major League Baseball history. The deal included nine players and more than a quarter billion dollars’ worth of contracts. Fast forward a year and both teams are in first place and prohibitive favorites in their respective leagues. Many sports analysts believe that these two will duel in the World Series.
This season, the Dodgers sported the MLB’s highest payroll. In June, they were in last place and the team was destined for another disappointing season. Instead of folding under the pressure, the Dodgers, under the leadership of Don Mattingly, reeled off 15 straight road victories and ran away with the weak National League West.

Heading into the playoffs, the team is loaded. The old adage when it comes to playoff baseball is that you don’t win without great pitching. Sporting a multiple cy-young one- two punch of Clayton Kershaw and Zach Greinke, the Dodgers have just that. Their closer, Kenley Jansen, has been virtually unhittable, and the bullpen has been formidable. Let us not also forget about Hanley Ramirez and Matt Kemp. They are both finally healthy and when feeling well, are two of the best hitters on the planet.

At the trade deadline, the Dodgers answered their critics who claimed they lacked playoff experience when they added Michael Young and Brian Wilson. Both players have had years of success in October and their experience will be huge both on and off the field.  Their biggest advantage however, will be rest. They were the first team in baseball to clinch their division, and therefore have had plenty of time to rest their starters. With a deep starting rotation and balance on offense, the Los Angeles Dodgers are poised for a World Series run. It will be fun to watch who will bring home the World Series championship.

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