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Give the Los Angeles Dodgers this much. At least they are going for the gold right now. Now that there is new ownership and new financial backing behind them, they are out to spend all of the money that they can to try to beat the World Series odds in Tinseltown. Join us at Bankroll Sports, as our expert baseball handicappers make their case for why this team should be favored on the odds to win the World Series a day after pulling off the massive trade to bring Josh Beckett and Adrian Gonzalez to Dodgertown.
Manager Don Mattingly has always been looked at as one of the best potential managers in baseball, and now, he has a team at his disposal that could ultimately prove him to be a star. General Manager Ned Colletti has pushed all of the buttons that he has needed to push this year to get his team to the top, and he has done so by amassing just a slew of payroll. Shane Victorino first came from the Philadelphia Phillies, and then Joe Blanton was right behind him in a post-July 31st trade with the boys from the City of Brotherly Love. Hanley Ramirez was a disgruntled member of the Miami Marlins before he was dealt out to the West Coast to be with the Dodgers. But now, in the coup of coups, Josh Beckett and Adrian Gonzalez are in Los Angeles after being sent here in an August 25th trade with the Boston Red Sox, who clearly needed to hit the self-destruct button. Carl Crawford is on his way as well, and that means that next year, someone that is in this crowded outfield is going to be pushed out.
Star power doesn’t always translate into wins, especially in the playoffs, but in this case, we think that there is a real chance for the Dodgers to shine and to beat the World Series betting lines. When you think of the teams in the National League, you see a lot of squads that can pitch. However, what you don’t see a lot of are teams that truly are dangerous from 1 to 8 in their batting order. The Dodgers, when they are totally healthy, are now arguably baseball’s most dangerous team.
When Dee Gordon returns from his wrist injury, he figures to return to the leadoff role and playing shortstop, while Ramirez will likely shift over to third base on more of a full-time basis. Luis Cruz will be pushed out, but the middle of the order will feature the likes of Ramirez, Gonzalez, Kemp, and Ethier in some sort of order. Victorino is likely going to be shoved down towards the bottom of the lineup as well, and that leaves just Mark Ellis and AJ Ellis as the other two batters in the fold. Mark Ellis has done a nice job this year at second base, and he has done a yeoman’s job leading off for this team while Gordon has been out of the lineup. AJ Ellis has very quietly batted .284 this year with 10 homers and an OPS of .815, numbers that most teams would kill for out of their catcher.
It’s not like the cupboard is bare in the rotation either. Clayton Kershaw has a Cy Young under his belt, and though he isn’t going to win the honor this year, he is still going to be amongst the best pitchers in the league in terms of ERA. This will be another season where his ERA ends with a two in front of it, and behind him, there are three other starting pitchers in Chris Capuano, Chad Billingsley, and Aaron Harang that all that winning records and sub-3.70 ERAs. Ted Lilly might be able to make a comeback for the playoffs, and Beckett and Blanton will prove to be the wild cards.
Blanton hasn’t pitched all that well this year, going a combined just 8-12 with a 5.02 ERA, while Beckett has been a disaster and a half in Beantown. Still, both have playoff success and tons of it, and both are going to bring that experience into this staff in one form or another.
It’s not like the bullpen is slacking either. Kenley Jansen has gone 25-of-31 in save chances this year, and he has a 1.93 ERA. Scott Elbert, Randy Choate, and Ronald Belisario are the go-to men out of the pen, and that’s a great combination to parlay with guys like Blanton and potentially Harang from the starting staff for the second season.
In the end, the only question that is left in our eyes is whether the squad is going to gel quick enough to get the job done. There are still two games separating the Dodgers from the San Francisco Giants for the top spot in the NL West, and if the playoffs started today, the Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals would be in, while the Dodgers would be a half-game out.
The schedule though, is relatively easy. These next 11 games are against Miami (finishing this weekend series), Colorado, Arizona, and San Diego, and there should be at least seven wins in the bunch. From there, the Dodgers embark upon their toughest stretch of schedule. They take on the Giants on the road for three, the D’Backs on the road for two, then get the Cardinals at home for four before going east one last time for six games with the Nationals and Reds. The season finishes with three in San Diego, three at home against the Rockies, and three at home against the Giants, the last three games of the season that could prove to be the difference in the season for both teams.
In the end, if the Dodgers are one of the five teams in the National League that get into the playoffs, watch out! They are going to be a force to be reckoned with, and we think that they have the best team in baseball. The oddsmakers, as you can see, have adjusted their World Series lines (all Los Angeles Dodgers World Series odds listed above), but we don’t think that any of them have adjusted far enough. The Dodgers are here to stay, and they could be the team that goes all the way to win the Fall Classic.