The Dodgers’ 2017 regular season is almost in the books, and it’s time we take a look back at some of the best and worst moments, surprises and disappointments, and also give out our end of year awards.
Team ROY: Cody Bellinger
Really no explanation needed here. Not only is Bellinger the best Dodgers rookie this season, but he’s practically guaranteed to win the award for the National League as well. One could say that he’s been pretty good.
Team Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw
What more can you say about Kershaw. He’s been the best pitcher in the game over the last seven years or so, and continues to dominate. Even after hitting the DL with back problems and being forced to miss significant time for the 2nd consecutive year, he still sits at 18-4 with a 2.21 ERA and 200 Ks.
Most pitchers would love to put up those numbers once in their career, and it will be Kershaw’s worst statistical season in the last five years. Just shows how great he’s been.
Kershaw remains one of the top choices for the N.L Cy Young once again this year, and if it weren’t for his injuries over the last two seasons, we’d be talking about him closing in on his 5th such award. Truly Remarkable.
Honorable Mention: Kenley Jansen
Team MVP: Cody Bellinger
This was a touch choice, as there’s been so many key contributors for the Dodgers this year. From Kershaw to Kenley Jansen, and from Justin Turner to Corey Seager, the team has plenty of players you could make an argument for. I’ll go with Bellinger though. The offensive presence he’s been able to provide the Dodgers in the middle of the order has been invaluable.
Honorable Mentions: Justin Turner
Biggest Surprise: Chris Taylor
No one expected Taylor to put up the numbers he has this year. He went from a utility guy, who many thought would be a role player at best, to the full-time leadoff man for the Dodgers going into the playoffs. His versatility has been a crucial attribute this year, as he’s rotated all around the field, and basically learned to play the outfield on the fly.
Honorable Mentions: Cody Bellinger, Alex Wood, Austin Barnes
Biggest Disappointment: Joc Pederson
No one wants to linger on negatives too much, but we have to at least acknowledge them. Whether it was due to injury (Gonzalez,) confidence (Baez,) or who knows why (Forsythe,) the Dodgers did have some players that struggled this year.
I think Pederson may be the biggest disappointment simply because of the expectations. We keep waiting for Joc to take that next step and progress as a player, but he continues to struggle with the same aspects of his game. His fall in the second half this year was finally enough for the Dodgers to make a move and send him down to AAA. Hopefully, he can right the ship by next year, for both his and the Dodgers’ benefit.
Un-honorable Mentions: Adrian Gonzalez, Logon Forsythe, Pedro Baez
Three homeruns in the bottom of the 9th against the Phillies
This game was very reminiscent of that historic four homerun game in the 9th inning against the San Diego Padres back in 2006. The Dodgers almost repeated that feat this year on April 29th against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Down three runs in the bottom of 9th, the Dodgers got back-to-back-to-back homeruns from Yasiel Puig, Cody Bellinger, and Justin Turner to tie the game. Then, Adrian Gonzalez hit a little grounder that Maikel Franco couldn’t quite handle, and Austin Barnes came around to score the winning run.
In a year filled with walk offs and come from behind wins, this was one of the more memorable and thrilling victories of the year.
Dodgers go 43-7 during 50 Game stretch (best MLB mark in over 100 years)
In 2013, the Dodgers went on an improbable run, winning 42 of 50 games. At the time, it seemed like we may never see something like that again. Just four years later though, we did.
Starting on June 7th, the Dodgers went on an unbelievable tear, which included win streaks of 9, 10, and 11 games. They just kept winning and wining. This 50 game stretch really exemplified the overall great season the Dodgers had.
Honoring Vin Scully
Paying tribute to the best that ever did it never gets old. The Dodgers recognized Vin Scully at Dodgers stadium back in May, and enshrined his name into their ring of honor, along with all the other Dodger greats. For the first time in many years, Dodgers fans had to do without the voice of Scully, so welcoming him back to the ballpark, however brief, couldn’t have come soon enough.
Just watch this:
Rich Hill’s near Perfect Game and No-hitter
It’s disappointing just to think about. For the second time in as many years, Rich Hill was on the verge of perfection, just to see it snatched away from him. Last year, it was Dave Roberts who took the power out of Hill’s hands when he removed him just six outs away from a perfect game. This time around, it was the offense that let him down, as the Dodgers were shut out over 10 innings by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Hill had a perfect game going into the 9th inning before Logan Forsythe’s error allow a runner to reach base. With the no-hit bid still intact, Hill went back out for the bottom of the 10th inning, and gave up a game ending homerun to Josh Harrison.
This was a superb performance by Hill. Losing the perfect game and no-hitter shouldn’t take away from that. Certainly, his teammates felt horrible about not being able to provide even a hint of offense on this night. And unfortunately, it cost Hill a chance at history… again.
Julio Urias injury
Coming into 2017, pitching phenom Julio Urias was supposed to be a major contributor for the Dodgers. Although he started the year in the minors, it was only to keep him fresh and preserve his arm for the long season. However, in June, Urias injured his shoulder and had to have season-ending surgery that will keep him out until late next year sometime.
Like Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger, Urias was going to be one of these young, exciting prospects that Dodgers fans couldn’t wait to see blossom into a superstar. Some thought it may be as soon as this year. That day still may come, but unfortunately, it won’t come anytime soon. And that’s a shame.
Losing 16 out of 17
Probably still very fresh in the minds of Dodgers fans, as they’ve really just come out of this slump over the last week or so. If the 43-7 run over that 50 game stretch was the apex of the Dodgers season, this was the bottom. Just when it seemed like the Dodgers could do no wrong, they went on a slide where they did practically everything wrong. They pitched poorly. They hit inconsistently. Their bullpen was awful. It was just bad all-around.
Luckily, the Dodgers had built up a massive division lead, or this skid might have been even scarier. Still, with every passing loss, the concern (and dare I say, panic) increased. Was this the real Dodgers team? Had they over-achieved this whole time and only now playing more to their capability?
It seems the Dodgers have finally snapped out of that slide, and they’re playing a lot more like the team we saw for 90% of the season. That’s a good thing, and fans can only hope it will continue.
The 2017 season has been a thrill ride so far, with highs and lows, ups and downs, and very memorable moments. Only time will tell what the Dodgers have in store for us in the post season, but if it resembles the regular season at all, you can bet it will be entertaining.
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