When the Los Angeles Dodgers opened the 2021 season with a 17-16 record through 33 games, many fans began speculating that the team was going to sleepwalk through the season with a World Series hangover.
The Dodgers must have caught wind of that narrative, because they’ve gone 15-7 since.
While the Dodgers will likely have to battle the San Diego Padres (and maybe even the San Francisco Giants) all year long in the race for the National League West, it’s hard to argue that there is any team in baseball better suited to make another World Series run than this Dodgers squad.
The Dodgers are still the World Series favorites and here’s why.
3. They’ve Been There Before
Whether you buy into this or not, the moment truly can become too big for some young players and teams once postseason baseball intensifies.
That cannot be said about the Dodgers.
For one, the Dodgers are not a particularly young team.
The average player age on LA’s roster is 29.1 years, making the team the 10th-oldest in all of baseball.
Secondly, and more importantly, the Dodgers have made the playoffs for eight consecutive seasons and are coming off of a World Series title.
There are very few teams with more playoff experience than this one.
When the lights are brightest, this Dodgers team will be able to relax and play like they’ve been there before, because at the end of the day, they have.
2. The Lineup Is Extremely Well-Rounded
The Dodgers have 10 players who have appeared in at least 30 games this year and nine of them have an above-average OPS+.
If and when Betts and Seager return to playing at the level we’ve grown accustomed to seeing, this lineup could become historically good.
Max Muncy (.982 OPS, 13 HR) has carried a lot of the heavy-hitting weight so far.
This Max Muncy bat flip is NSFW pic.twitter.com/smTv83IuQj
— Blake Harris (@BlakeHarrisTBLA) May 28, 2021
Entering Tuesday, the Dodgers had the fifth-best team OPS in the Majors (.750) and ranked second in runs per game (5.22).
It’s hard to bet against a team that is posting those levels of offensive production in a year where offense is down across the league.
1. The Rotation Will Make Them The Favorite In Any Postseason Series
The Dodgers have the most intimidating rotation in baseball and it’s not particularly close.
Even with the loss of young stud Dustin May to Tommy John surgery, the Dodgers have four legitimate aces. Trevor Bauer (2.24 ERA), Clayton Kershaw (3.33), Julio Urias (3.61), and Walker Buehler (2.66) are all guys that you can give the ball to in a postseason game and feel good about your chances.
Trevor Bauer, Filthy 94mph Back Door Two Seamer. 😷 pic.twitter.com/5oeoXDT3B2
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 1, 2021
It still remains to be seen who is going to be the permanent replacement for May’s vacant rotation spot, but that’s an issue that won’t matter in the playoffs when they’ll be able to roll with a four-man rotation.
The Dodgers have the fourth-best team ERA in baseball at 3.19.