For as long as I can remember, the Dodgers and the Giants have been fighting for first place in the National League West. I’ve grown up with the certainty that as good as the Dodgers are, the Giants will always be close behind, but that is simply no longer true. The 2017 Dodgers have proven that they are the team to beat not only in the West but all of baseball.
One of the many reasons the Dodgers have taken off this season is because all the pieces are finally falling into place. The Chicago Cubs didn’t get stronger immediately after Theo Epstein took the reigns, but he, like the Dodgers front office, had a plan. Last year, that plan was fulfilled for the Cubs, and the Dodgers are on the same track. Over the past few campaigns, trade deadlines came and went without major pieces leaving the Dodger organization, and many thought that the lack of moves was a mistake. Trade Joc Pederson, they said. Trade Corey Seager, they said. Trade Cody Bellinger.
Trade Cody Bellinger?
The Dodgers are having success this season because they, like the Cubs, refused to trade their top prospects. It’s safe to say that was a good call. When Bellinger was called up on April 25th, the Dodgers were a mere 9-11. Since then they’re 74-23. Not to mention the fact that the Dodgers only have one more loss than Bellinger has home runs. It’s unheard of, but that’s the kind of history the Dodgers have been making this season.
In June, the NL West looked like there would be three teams fighting for first for the rest of the season, but then summer came and the Dodgers started winning almost every game they played. The 2017 Dodgers have changed the West. The Diamondbacks have gotten better, the Rockies have gotten better, and the Dodgers have become a force to be reckoned with. The Giants have not been playing as well as they had hoped, and the Padres are waiting for their moment, but Los Angeles is the team with everything in place. The starting lineup is scary good, and the pitching staff is stellar. The Dodgers are playing great baseball, one could even call it championship worthy.
All signs are pointing towards an NLDS between the Dodgers and another NL West rival, a series that will differ from last year’s NLDS against the Nationals. A series against either the Rockies or the Diamondbacks could be just as exciting as last year’s race for the pennant, but one thing is true, the Dodgers will play like they’ve been playing all season. They’ll stay rooted in their instincts, and they’ll play with a strength, and with an authority that hasn’t been seen by baseball in ages.
Maybe it’s time to start looking at this season not just as a powerful run, but instead as a historic entity of its own.
(Sarah is an 18-year-old, soon-to-be college student from Southern California, who currently manages her own blog, “The Ground Rule Double.” She is kindly filling in for Andy, who is presently vacationing in Arizona. Follow Sarah on Twitter: @SarahManinger)