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Dodgers: How LA Can Win Without Mookie Betts and Clayton Kershaw

It won’t be easy, but the Dodgers can still win the division without two MVPs.



Mookie Betts joined fellow Dodgers superstar Clayton Kershaw on the injured list this week. Without question, a healthy Kershaw and a healthy Betts will be required if LA is going to repeat. There’s no replacing Betts in the lineup or in the field, but the Dodgers have plenty of firepower to keep fighting for the NL West title. 

Don’t write off winning the division just yet because of the latest Betts injury.

The Dodgers Deep Lineup

Newly minted Dodger Trea Turner headlines an All-Star laden lineup that can pile up runs even without the 2018 AL MVP.

On Wednesday against the Phillies, the Dodgers deployed a batting order that most GMs would sell their grandmother (plus a PTBNL) for. The aforementioned Turner at the top (.883 OPS) with Max Muncy (156 wRC+) right behind him.

Then, Will Smith, arguably the second best hitting catcher in the league (.374 OBP), with Seager batting cleanup. Taylor (3.7 WAR), Bellinger (heating up!), and the scorching hot Pollock (.469 BA in August) rounded out one through seven.

That’s without Justin Turner too.

Hell, Matt Beaty, who hit eighth that day, would probably be batting cleanup for the Pirates right now.

A Pair of Dodgers Aces

Missing Kershaw until early September is also a big blow, but one that won’t completely torpedo the Dodgers. The Dodgers, despite all of the starting pitching challenges this year, has Max Scherzer and NL Cy Young frontrunner Walker Buehler (2.13 ERA in 147.2 IP).

Lefty Julio Urias (3.41 ERA in 134.2 IP) has been a solid number three this season. Veteran David Price isn’t a bad option to have at the back end either.

A fifth starter is needed, but the offense can bail out the staff when bullpen game catastrophes arise.

Final Thoughts

Catching the Giants in the division will be exceedingly difficult. The Giants hold a four and a half game advantage entering Friday. They don’t seem to give games away either. Against good teams or bad teams.

Winning a ninth straight division title just got harder for the Dodgers with Betts sidelined.

This talented roster is up to the challenge.

NEXT: Insider Says Angels Could be in on Max Scherzer this Winter, Should LA Re-Sign Max Scherzer?

Written by Eric Eulau

Born and raised in Ventura, not "Ven-CH-ura", California. Favorite Dodger Stadium food is the old school chocolate malt with the wooden spoon. Host of the Dodgers Nation 3 Up, 3 Down Podcast.

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  1. Why say Will Smith is “arguably” the second best hitting catcher in the league? His stats are superior to Realmuto in every way. Only Posey, who’s enjoying a resurgence this year, has been better.

  2. So, I guess, the way things are trending, the more games above .500 the Dodgers get to, the more games behind the Giants they fall.
    Dodgers reached their high water mark on the season after beating the Phils on Wednesday and even after the loss yesterday, the Dodgers are 23 games above .500 but now are a season high 5 games behind S.F.
    The Giants Magical Mystery Tour is showing no signs of coming to an end, any time soon, especially now that Belt is back from injury and Bryant is fitting in so well.
    Even when the Giants pitching is not great, which as been the case in several games recently, they score runs and pull out the win.
    All the Dodgers can do is at this point is shoot for maybe 96-97 wins and try and stay healthy and build some momentum.
    The Giants are gonna do what the Giants are gonna do, at least in the regular season.

    • “The Giants Magical Mystery Tour” is an accurate descriptive. I do not know how their longterm players are, all at the same time, experiencing such an incredible resurgence of home run power but they are. Home runs aside, the Giants manage to put together plays that will secure their win no matter how the game starts. I agree that their pitching, specifically Woods, has not been that good overall but it is their offense that consistently comes through clutch, homerun, and/or small ball to get it done. Now I will say that I find it hard to believe, although we are seeing it unfold, that the Giants have not yet slumped and have maintained the same win-win pace throughout this season. Not sure if the Dodgers will be able to catch up with in the absence of the Giants’ slumping and the Dodgers’ building (sustainable) momentum.

      • Wholeheartedly agree here. Great description
        of this Giants team & a good point that the so-called
        ‘Baseball Gods’ put a jinx of some sort on even the best
        teams at some point during the season. My hope is that THE
        REDS outperform THE PADS over the remainder of the season & take
        the 2nd ‘Wild Card’ ’cause THE PADS seem to have our # this year!

  3. No matter who is in the starting lineup there is great difficulty hitting great pitchers, trouble hitting good pitchers and too many bad days not able to hit mediocre pitchers. The average runs per game is high as when the hitters are hot they overperform causing the numbers to skew

    Decades ago when Preacher Roe had his 22-3 season if the Dodgers would get him 9 ruins he would give up 8 but if the Dodgers got him only one run he would pitch a shutout. Now the reverse is true all too often

  4. Sadly they’re not going to win without them. Team is to inconsistent to make a run at the Giants. Any good LH pitcher will shut them down.

  5. Win as much as you can….then hope for the best. Not having Kershaw and Mookie will not help! Neither does Bellinger hitting way below the Mendoza line.

  6. you are kidding right?? waht have either of them done this year… have you watched them proform?? you really feel they have rven earned half the money they are paid??? give me a break!!!Dodgers will not wil anythin.. look at tne manger they have.. how many games has he lost??

    • It’s pretty simple to see here: the Giants have been managed well and played well when it counts the most. The Dodgers have not been managed well or played well most of the time so far.

  7. The biggest difference between the Giants and the Dodgers is that the Giants win the close games and the Dodgers lose them. The Giants don”t have the best personnel in baseball but they know how to win. The same was true when they won 3 WS championships during the span of 5 years not too long ago. The Dodgers record in one run games is pathetic. And their record in extra inning games is abysmal. You have to be able to manufacture runs in tight games. If this season comes down to a WC game, and it’s a one run game……

    • And once again we must look at who is managing the Dodgers vs that of the Giants — Kapler and Bochy. The Dodgers currently have the personnel despite the injuries (and yes the giants have had their share of injuries as well) but Roberts has no clue on maximizing the potential of the players that he has.

      • Exactly the case with Roberts. JT missed the entire Philly series and won’t play tonight in NY, yet Roberts and Co. still haven’t decided on an IL stint for him while being willing to continue to play short handed as a result. Pathetic to say the least.

  8. This Dodger team obviously is not the same team as last years and playing a full season is much different than a 60 game season. We all know this. With the injuries racked up, with their beyond terrible losing % with extra innings and 1 run games blown, it would be normal to just throw in the towel and to stop wishing that the Giants will blow it in the remaining 46 games. The difference between the 2 teams is clear and plain to see. The 2 guys managing these 2 teams. 2 different sides of the moon. 1 knows what he’s doing and 1 doesn’t and has been winging it as he’s had incredible talent on hand. But the other is more disciplined and most definitely into his players players taking care of their bodies and so their injury list is smaller. One plays favorites, the other plays strategically and so….this is why the Giants will will the division. Sad but true. Roberts has failed to figure out why they are losing these crucial games by a run or in extras. He is the reason.

    • Belli has to sit it out for a while. But the biggest hurdle to winning is having a manager as bad as Roberts. I’m watching now as No. 30 gives another game away. 5 1/2 years of this is enough!!!

  9. Will Smith saved Robert’s rear and KJ’s near blowing another lead and game was overlooked. w/ the victory. Both of them have to go….hand in hand…… For Robert’s to say..”that’s baseball” is the understatement of the game. The 7th inning was the joke of the season so far, and Robert’s never looked so dazed and confused. I guess today’s another day. For a team that is supposedly so good, why do they continuously drive them diehard fans up the wall w/ each game?

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