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Should the Dodgers still be World Series Favorites?

Is LA still on the road to repeat?



The Dodgers have won eight straight division titles. They have appeared in the World Series in three of the last four years, ending their title drought against the Rays in 2020.

Even with the Giants holding the lead in the National League West, the Dodgers odds to win the World Series have remained short. The reigning champions are still widely picked as the title
favorites.

As it stands, though, Los Angeles would be thrown into a winner-takes-all wild card game. They have the pitching to be favored in such a scenario, but it is a lottery to a degree. That element of randomness, the risk of one bad night ending their season, should make it hard for them to be World Series favorites.

Notable Absentees

Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger and Corey Seager have missed considerable time this year. Betts is on the Injured List at the moment.

Clayton Kershaw only resumed throwing a few days ago. Dustin May is out for the year. Julio Urias, Tony Gonsolin, and Joe Kelly are also on the IL. It’s unclear if Trevor Bauer will play again in 2021.

The fact the Dodgers could still win 100 games despite all of these absences is remarkable. It also leaves them with no margin for error should they suffer additional injuries or see a drop off in performance. The Walker Buehler and Max Scherzer one-two punch might be the best in the
 Majors, but it is lacking in support.

They have taken these issues in their stride all year. A 14-12 record in July was their worst month so far, but they have rebounded with a scintillating 11-3 in August. The Giants are still within reach. No one would be surprised to see the Dodgers surge late in the season and make it nine consecutive NL West triumphs.

Uncertainty Everywhere

The division is just one element of uncertainty, however. Health concerns across the roster remain, making it hard to know what the team will look like come October.

If they reach the NLDS and have their four best starters healthy, they deserve to be viewed as favorites. If they are missing one or two arms and a key position player (as they are at the moment), they are suddenly very beatable.

This scenario depends on either catching the white-hot Giants or winning a wildcard game. Not often over the last few years have the Dodgers been under this amount of pressure in August and September.

When healthy, Dave Roberts still has the best roster in the Majors, and by a distance. They have the second-best record in baseball. Their weaknesses are minimal.

Believing the Dodgers are still favorites is understandable. They are more complete than any other contender, but they have hurdles to overcome if they are to become the first team to defend the World Series since the 2000 Yankees.

These Dodgers are a juggernaut. Perhaps the prospect of Buehler and Scherzer in a wildcard game makes them World Series favorites even if the Giants take the division. For now, though, the Dodgers are just one of a well-matched group of contenders with the Astros, Rays, White Sox and Brewers.

NEXT: Clayton Kershaw Continues to Improve, Julio Nearing Return, and More

Written by Staff Writer

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  1. They have to be as close to “completely” healthy as can be to win another title. If they end up with the 1st WC spot, but are fully healthy come the post season, they should have the pitching depth to survive a play-in game and still set up for a divisional series.

  2. This is exactly why I still watch Dodgers. LA fans demand a World Series contender and no less than a division title first. There is always going to be pain, as this is part of a game. The players know this so they need to bite the bullet and play on. It’s hard to understand the Manager and his reasoning behind who bats and when. We are almost there and cannot afford to lose any game. So quit with days off already. What can’t you hear. Roberts needs to correct the bottom part of the line up. No Lux please. and do your job

  3. To be honest, a healthy roster notwithstanding, I can’t help but say they may not be WS favorites at this time for one main reason, and his name is Roberts. Pitching should be fine but offense is the key.

    • Paul:

      Roberts continues to be the lose cannon in this club, but the dearth of injuries this year has tended to stimulate his micro manage mania to the point it seems counter productive. Pitching is not fine as the club has no (current) lights out closer, but Roberts sticks with Jansen who walks too many, has bad control and can’t be trusted to finish a game with the other club getting a zero in the scoreboard. The Dodger starters are also limited due to injuries and a police investigation. Your point about the Jekyll and Hyde offense is spot on. Like Jensen you never know if they’re going to put their paper potential on the field or mail it in.

      I would not put money on them as a Series favorite and I’m a guy who put money on the Dodgers in Spring Training in 1988 to win the Series when they were getting 12:1 odds at Harrahs Sports Book in Tahoe.

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