Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Will the Dodgers Current Hot Streak take them to the MLB Playoffs this Season?

The Los Angeles Dodgers are a team on the rise in the 2013 MLB Season. With their new owners attempting a complete revolution of the team, various new All-Star players have been recruited to the historic and proud club, and the Dodgers are feeling upbeat about their long-term goals of winning a World Series Championship. However, things did not start off well for this big-spending baseball club.
Highly paid pitcher Zack Greinke was injured early in the year after a silly brawl, forcing him to miss over a month of games. Another big-name pitcher, Josh Beckett, who was hoping to rejuvenate his career in Los Angeles after his successful play with the Boston Red Sox, has had a forgettable 2013. After going 0-5 to start the season, Beckett is now reported to needing season-ending neck surgery, concluding an abysmal early display with the Dodgers.
Hitters have also been troubled this year, with both Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez already experiencing stints on the disabled list. All these concerns have resulted in a terrible record for the Dodgers, who are now in last place in the NL West division. However, there is now hope for the team. It comes in the form of Yasiel Puig.
Puig was called up to the Dodgers in early June, and he has been a hit ever since. Currently owning a .436 batting average and a stellar highlight reel, no pitcher has been able to figure out the phenomenal young Cuban star. His play seems to have elevated the other players to new levels, with Hanley Ramirez hitting well and a strong improvement in the pitching quality.
Another bright prospect on this team is relieving pitcher, Jose Dominguez. Just making his MLB debut, Dominguez reaches 100 MPH on his fastball and put in a strong showing in a single inning of work. For the team that has suffered to produce solid relief pitching, this could be another bright addition to the squad. On a current 8-2 streak, the Dodgers look to be pushing upon the NL West leaders and are forcing themselves back into contention for a division title.
The Dodgers expect greatness, and their payroll is certainly suggesting that winning their division should be an expectation, not just a hope. The NL West is a tricky division though. The San Francisco Giants have won two recent World Series titles but typically maintain an average record season-long until they get hot in the fall. Currently, they are hovering around with a 39-42 record, but I wouldn’t expect that to last.
The Arizona Diamondbacks are currently the best team in the NL West with a 42-39 record. With a young and strong roster, the Diamondbacks are looking good, but will their lack of experience haunt them by season’s end? This division is also incredibly tight, with the last place Dodgers just 4 games back from first place and owning a 38-43 record. If their hot streak lasts, the Dodgers could be on top of this division by mid-July.
But baseball is a tricky sport, and there are certainly a multitude of questions surrounding the team that built an enormous early-season hole. Will Yasiel Puig continue to be a dominant hitter or will pitchers finally figure him out? And will the rest of the team maintain their current high level of play? My answer to these questions is yes, and I fully suspect that the Los Angeles Dodgers will make an appearance in the 2013 MLB Playoffs!
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