Los Angeles Dodgers Have the Best Record in the National League
Yes, the Los Angeles Dodgers are 33-18 after their 10-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday, May 24th. This record is tied for the second-best in all of baseball and is the best in the National League. When diving into the numbers, it is no mystery why the Dodgers have owned the best record in the National League. They are among the top ten in several pitching categories throughout Major League Baseball: ERA, WHIP, and batting average against. The Dodgers are also in the top ten in several hitting categories: home runs, RBI, walks, strikeouts, batting average, OBP, SLG, and OPS.
The success of the Dodgers has been a team effort. There have been a lot of contributors throughout the year. Anyone who has followed baseball has heard of Cody Bellinger and his incredible season. However, Alex Verdugo, Justin Turner, Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, and Hyun-Jin Ryu have also had great seasons to this point. The Dodgers will need help from the other role players as the season goes on. However, these main pieces will need to play large parts for the Dodgers if they want to win the World Series in 2019.
The Dodgers may not be at the top of the NL West without first baseman Cody Bellinger. Bellinger has been a major component of the Dodgers offense. He is currently hitting .389 with 18 home runs and 46 RBI. Furthermore, he is toting a 1.237 OPS. Watching Bellinger play, it is apparent that he leaves everything on the field each and every day. He is always hustling and giving everything he has to Dodger Nation. Bellinger plays the game like a little kid and looks like he is having a blast each and every inning played. It is safe to say that he is clicking on all cylinders and is trying to springboard the Dodgers to a World Series ring.
Another Dodgers standout has been Alex Verdugo. He is currently hitting .311 with four homers and 23 RBI. Verdugo is also carrying an .869 OPS. He has been a constant in the Dodger outfield and a positive figure in the Dodgers’ clubhouse. It is hard to find a time when Verdugo is not upbeat and positive. He is a guy who enjoys the game of baseball, and his joy is contagious for the entire ball club. Verdugo emerged as a starter for the Dodgers this year when A.J. Pollock was forced to have season-ending surgery. It is safe to say that Verdugo has stepped up and filled Pollock’s void well. The Dodgers will need continued production from Verdugo to make a deep run in the postseason.
Justin Turner has been a large part of the Dodgers’ success since joining the team in 2014. Turner’s season thus far has been nothing spectacular. He is hitting .283 with six homers and 23 RBI. Dodger fans breathed a sigh of relief when Turner hurt his wrist yet avoided surgery at the beginning of the season. It is likely that his slow start is a consequence of the injured wrist. Turner does tote a .378 OBP with 20 walks. He has seen 3.99 pitches per at bat during the 2019 season. Although he is not having “success” in the traditional offensive categories, he is helping the team. He is finding ways to get on base and is working the count to tire out starting pitchers. Furthermore, Turner is a constant at third base. He has only committed two errors through the first 51 games of the season. The Dodgers will need a healthy and productive Justin Turner to return to their third straight World Series come October.
Clayton Kershaw was magnificent during his last start (May 21st), striking out eight in 6 1/3 innings. This great start was good for his fourth win of the season. It lowered his ERA to 3.33 and gave him his 44th strikeout of the season. Kershaw has missed quite a bit of the season due to shoulder inflammation coming out of spring training. Dodger fans are praying for good health the rest of the season for Mr. Kershaw. It is hard to find a time that Kershaw has not been a large part of the Dodgers success recently. He has been a staple of the Dodgers pitching staff since 2008. The Dodgers will need a clean bill of health for Kershaw to make a deep postseason run.
Walker Buehler has been incredible in his sophomore campaign with the Dodgers. He is 5-1 with a 3.58 ERA. Buehler has struck out 52 while only walking 11 opposing hitters. The Vanderbilt standout has been a great addition to a veteran-loaded pitching staff. Buehler brings a competitive attitude coupled with a lights-out repertoire. He has the ability to dominate opposing hitters each and every time out. The Dodgers will need to see continued results from Buehler in order to get over their World Series Runner-Up Hump.
Hyun-Jin Ryu has been the clear-cut number one pitcher for the Dodgers this year, flat out dominating opposing hitters. He is currently 6-1 with 54 strikeouts and an impressive four walks. He totes the lowest ERA (1.52) amongst starting pitchers. More impressively, he has a 0.74 WHIP. Ryu has had very few healthy seasons. Dodger fans may be seeing the tip of the iceberg for this South Korean left hander. Dodger Nation will need to see continued dominance throughout the remainder of the year. If this dominance continues, the Dodgers may be bringing a World Series championship back to Los Angeles.
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