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Dodgers: MLB Expert Predicts One Team Standing in the Way of Los Angeles

For Buster Olney, there is only one team stopping the Dodgers.



Dodgers fans have been subtly looking over their shoulder for the last couple of weeks now. While Los Angele stumbles a bit towards the finish line, one NL West team is hitting their stride at the right time. 

As it turns out, that NL West team is the one team that MLB insider Buster Olney thinks can take the Dodgers down. We chatted with Buster last week about the challenges Los Angeles faces, and he thinks the team’s route to the World Series will go through San Diego.

The Padres. The standings say that, the numbers say that. The Dodgers are number 1 in run differential as we speak, the Padres are 2. The Padres’ upgrades, basically turning over 1/3rd of their roster at the deadline…that draws them closer. And on top of that, it’s almost certain that if the Dodgers and Padres play, it is going to be in a best of 5 division series. And that is something that if you’re the Padres you’re glad to be catching them in a series that’s not extended. 

The Padres are red-hot, winning 11 of their last 13 games. San Diego has also made things pretty tight in the NL West, cutting the Dodgers lead to just 2.5 games going into a pivotal series. Olney went on to express the concern that the Padres could carry on their hot streak.

They certainly have the talent. If a Tatis Jr, a Machado, one of those guys gets hot and you pull out a game, maybe you beat Clayton Kershaw. You win a matchup maybe you didn’t think you were going to, in a five-game series anything can happen.

In a season with very strange rules and conditions as it is, seeing a team like the Padres make a run wouldn’t be a surprise at all. The Dodgers would likely have to face off against three very good Padres pitchers in a five-game set. They would also need to stop an offense that has put up second-most runs in all of baseball. 

The Dodgers are still the favorites, but be on the lookout. 

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Written by Brook Smith

Brook is the Senior Editor of Dodgers Nation, with several years of experience in sports journalism. He is an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan, and can be spotted fairly often at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center.

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  1. The only Mistake the Dodgers made was trading Stripling. Even though he was struggling. In my opinion he wasn’t being used properly. Stripling when he began to struggle should have been sent to the RP core. Just the change of pace to our starting pitching would have been valuable.

    Players they should have moved was Kike Hernandez and Joc Pederson for prospects. The emergence Pollock and rejuvenated Taylor. Rios Beaty and McKinstry in the wings. We wouldn’t have missed a beat. I always Knew the problem with our starting pitchers was they struggle to go 5 innings. No sense in blaming anyone anymore. We have a good pen and we have White and Gray in the wings. If we have to tax our bullpen so be it. They got to earn thier money and I don’t think they would object to more playing time.

    My concern now is Bellinger needs to get it going and focus and game to game situation and not the overall numbers and stop pressing so much and just do you. Same thing for Muncy because you got Mookie and company helping you while you are struggling and not to mention Big Red on the DL.

    Can’t worry about the Padres they had a great trading day to upgrade and not give up any of thier top players which to me they fleeced a lot of teams.

    We are still the team to beat and once the Padres choke. They will have a fire sell as well as the firing of the GM. This team is almost all homegrown and it’s been a pleasure to watch them grow and we have a very savvy GM. It’s Roberts job to put the puzzles together and set his guys to succeed

  2. Not exactly a “hot take” on Olney’s part. And one of these years, the Padres won’t choke so let’s hope it is not this year they finally get their act together. Of course, we would all trade another divisional title if it meant the Dodgers were going to win a World Series. But I still go back to what Cliff Floyd said on MLB a few weeks ago “If you (the Dodgers) can’t win with this lineup…….”

  3. Who cares they can have the division it’s not like we’re gonna win anything significant anyway with these shot callers

  4. Roberts needs to play this like he needs to win and not as a training exercise or a day of rest for anyone. Suggesting the game doesn’t matter in the big picture is a loser’s mentality. Lace ’em up and let’s see Kershaw be strong.

  5. I knew San Diego would be good this year. Then they went all in at the trading deadline by using their farm system capital. They are for real. The series between the Dodgers and the Padres starting tonight will be really interesting. I’m glad the Padres are good. The Dodgers need to be pushed. But as far as anything standing between the Dodgers and a world championship, that honor still goes to Dave Roberts, who should be fired if they don’t win it all this year.

    • Concur totally about Roberts.. But unfortunately even if Padres were to somehow take this division or even if Dodgers get bounced in that best of 3 playoff series, Roberts will remain bur WSS.

    • Totally agree that is it good for the Dodgers to be pushed by a quality team within their division. Champions are forged in fire, and the Dodgers could use a little heat!

  6. I agree that we are still the “team to beat”, but I do not agree with the mindset that the Division does not matter. I want us to bring our A game tonight and for the duration of this series. The Padres are coming and they are undeniably hot right now; that is all the more reason why we should do what we need to in order to help cool them off. Let’s go, Dodgers!!!

  7. All games matter and this series with the Padres DOES mean a great deal. Anything can happen in a best of 3 playoff sries.. All we can hope for is Roberts and Co. Perhaps have learned something as a result of last year’s NLDS.

  8. The Dodgers were hot a couple of weeks ago and hit a skid…the Padres will hit one as well. I like the fact that there is some competition for the division. I would just hate to be the team that plays our beloved Boys in Blue when they start to hit (hopefully soon)…Bellinger has been ice cold this year, Muncy hasn’t hit. JT has been in/out of the lineup…Mookie and Seager have been steady and now CT3 is warming up…Pollock cooled off and the boys are still the best in MLB. If half or a third of this lineup starts to hit…we won’t be hearing “since 1988” anymore…GO DODGERS!

      • Pollack hasn’t cooled off, and Will Smith may be heating up. He’s batting over 300 now. Knowing Roberts he’ll probably bench Smith just as he gains some confidence.

        • Dodger 106W Smith is swinging the bat well enough that he was batting in middle of order yesterday but as he’s done all year, Roberts will sit Will in favor of Barns to catch CK.

  9. As far as Bellinger is concerned, that ESPN game last night had a discussion as far as Bellinger being too close to the dish and the broadcasters were given that as one of the reasons why Bellinger is missing pitches he was making hard contact on last year.. With his approach he appears to be getting himself out a lot.

    • IDK it was ARod making the comments. You’d think the Dodgers hitting coaches would see it better. From an amateur’s eyes it looks like he’s over swinging trying to kill everything.

  10. The combo of Bellinger,Muncy,Joc,and Kenley are dragging this team down the tubes. If they don’t get it together we’ll be out first round.

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