The Dodgers have been one of the most dominate teams all year. They have the best left handed pitcher in the league, Clayton Kershaw, last year’s Rookie of the Year shortstop, Corey Seager, this year’s potential Rookie of the Year Cody Bellinger and the best closer in the game, Kenley Jansen. The Dodgers seem pretty set on their first World Series championship since 1988, but what if it’s not as slam dunk as it seems?
The NL Wild Card teams this year are the Arizona Diamondbacks, headlined by first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and starter Robbie Ray, and the Colorado Rockies, headlined by gold glove third baseman Nolan Arenado and the batting champion outfielder Charlie Blackmon. What do all four of these players have in common? They’re all good against the Dodgers.
The last time the Dodgers faced the D-Backs, they got swept. The Dodgers scored just two runs in that three game series, while the D-Backs scored 19. The first game, even, Ray pitched 7.2 innings of shutout ball, striking out a total of 14 Dodgers, the most this year the Dodgers have struck out in a game. Goldschmidt rakes against the Dodgers as well, and against Kershaw, may hit just .244, but he’s hit two homers and driven in eight runners. He especially hits well against Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu, hitting .429 hitting two homers and driving in eight.
Against the Dodgers this year, the D-Backs have won the season series 11-8 this year.
The other team that did significantly well against the boys in blue were the Colorado Rockies, also winning the season series 11-8. The Rockies stars Blackmon and Arenado are both MVP candidates in their crowded offense, that also includes second baseman DJ Lemahieu, catcher and trade deadline acquisition Jonathan Lucroy, and surprising comeback player first baseman Mark Reynolds.
Reynolds started at first base for the injured first baseman and outfielder Ian Desmond, who broke his wrist in spring training. In Desmond’s two stints on the DL, Reynolds this season hit 30 homers and 97 RBI.
Arenado has been the star, and leader of the team with his gold glove defense and overpowering offense. Against his pitching rival Kershaw, he’s hitting .327 and three homers, two of them coming from Kershaw’s September starts against the Rockies.
It’ll be tough for the Dodgers against the Nationals and Cubs as well. Last year, The Dodgers faced these two teams in the playoffs, beating the Nationals and losing to the eventual World Series champions. But this year, the Nationals split the season series against the Dodgers, but the September series against LA, the Nationals were without their former MVP outfielder Bryce Harper and the Dodgers didn’t face the Nats top three pitchers like they did in the first series.
Also, the aforementioned Harper has been hitting over .400 career off the Dodgers’ closer Kenley Jansen, and the Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy rakes against the Dodgers in the postseason. In 2015, he went on a home run rampage in the postseason off of both the Dodgers and the Cubs, and last year was the Nationals leader in hits in the postseason.
Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman has been very good off Dodgers pitching as well, hitting .283 with 6 home runs off of current Dodgers pitchers, 2 home the homers coming off of Kershaw.
The Dodgers should worry about the Cubs as well. Even though the Cubs look like the weakest team in the NL postseason, you can’t count out first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who’s hit well against Kershaw and Darvish, and catcher Wilson Contreras who hits .345 with a .517 slugging percentage against current Dodger pitching.
Now, I have no hard feelings against the Dodgers, nor am I saying the Nationals will go to the World Series if they beat the Cubs, I’m just saying that based on the stats, the Los Angeles Dodgers will have a hard time against the other four teams in the NL. Now let’s have a good postseason.