After a nearly unprecedented June (preceded only by June of 2017) the Dodgers climbed out of the hole they were in and now find themselves neck-and-neck with the Arizona Diamondbacks for first place in the National League West. How they were able to do it is a story in and of itself—one that is always worth telling. The story that I am interested in now, however, is how the Dodgers will fare going forward.
The trade deadline is on the horizon. Last season, apart from the Yu Darvish trade, Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi traded for the two Tonys—Tony Cingrani and Tony Watson. Both of those guys went on to bring a new sense of strength to a Dodgers bullpen that was already solid.
Here’s the thing about the Dodgers front office, and it’s one I have always admired—they don’t let the nerves and the anxieties of this game get to them. When the Dodgers were eight games back this spring, they didn’t run out and trade for a big arm or an MVP-type slugger to fix the problem.
They let the problem fix itself, and guess what? It did.
Right now, fans are grateful and amazed by how the front office built this team up from expected winners to unexpected and dominant pennant champs.
So what happens if the Dodgers get there again this year?
Do they rely on a big, trade-deadline defining acquisition? Do they rely on the contributions of a few, under-the-radar players like they have been thus far?
Or do they stay as is?
I’m not sure what the Dodgers are going to do come July 31st. I know that it didn’t work out too well last season but I do hold the belief that, as a contender, nobody will take you seriously unless you make the take the big step. The Astros were good, but they became great when they traded for Justin Verlander.
The Dodgers are thriving right now. Even as a write this, moments after losing in the ninthy to the Anaheim Angels, I can say the Dodgers are going to be okay. Muncy came out of the blue to lead this offense. Stripling is the solid, reliable starter the team didn’t even know it had.
Matt Kemp. Well, I’ll let his stats speak for themselves.
Those are the three guys most regularly linked to the Dodgers’ recent success, but can they sustain it?
Though we may never know the full cause of the Dodgers’ Game 7 loss, we can know that in that one game, the Dodgers were not able to overpower the Astros and it cost them the series.
The past two years, the Dodgers have quite literally defined ‘under-the-radar.’ They’ve coached players in ways unlike any other team. But one can’t help but wonder if the Dodgers need some more star power? Do they need Manny Machado, or Michael Fulmer, just to be safe?
It’s hard not to be a skeptical fan and a skeptical writer at times. Sometimes, when the Dodgers lose 3-2 in a game they pretty much already had won, you can’t help but wonder if this recent success is fleeting and if they are bound to repeat the past?
Maybe, maybe not. Either way, the Dodgers seem to be back to their old selves—to their winning ways, and until that changes, neither should our views of the team we know, love, and believe in.