Fans of the Dodgers everywhere expect this team to make it to the postseason each and every fall. Like the Yankees, the Dodgers are not the kind of team that needs a full Theo Epstein or Jeff Luhnow-like rebuild. The Dodgers can rebuild without ever fully falling out of contention. That’s the kind of team the Yankees are, and it’s the kind of team the Dodgers are. The Dodgers, however, are far from rebuilding and are headed at full-speed towards October. This team, how they are now, I think, could beat the Nationals or the Cubs. They could even beat the almighty D-Backs. That’s not what I’m worried about. What I am worried about is the World Series. When it comes to this game, you can’t take it one series at a time. You have to plan for any outcome. The Dodgers’ goal is to win the World Series, so in order to do that, they have to be ready for it, even if they fall short in the end.
So, looking into the not so distant future, what do the Dodgers need for a potential re-run at the World Series?
Let’s start with the most obvious one; a starter. Clayton Kershaw is finally back and is (fingers crossed) here to stay. It’s clear that Kershaw is the best the Dodgers have, especially in terms of a potential postseason run. After Kershaw, there’s Ross Stripling, who has been absolutely stellar so far this season. Rich Hill would be the Dodgers’ number three starter, given that he stays healthy. Last season, Alex Wood dominated; the story has not been the same this year. Should he get back into 2017 form, then the Dodgers have a strong rotation, if not, they will desperately need a boost headed into the trade deadline.
The other thing the Dodgers need is a bridge to Kenley Jansen. That person could be Tom Koehler when he gets healthy, but there’s no way to know that yet. Another name is Brad Hand, but it’s doubtful the Padres will trade in-division.
The Dodgers are not the team they were last season, but it isn’t a matter of whether they’re better this summer or not. I don’t know if they are better, but I do know that they are playing with chips on their shoulders. They got as close as you can possibly get without winning, and that’s what’s going to drive this team.
I do know that this sweep over the Mets was big. It was big because every win, every towering home run, brings them that much closer to the D-Backs and that much closer to October.