The Dodgers seem unbeatable…maybe *also* unbeatable. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
So you want to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the playoffs. This would be the complete antithesis of the plain, with their steady march toward historical greatness and all.
Still, there may be ways.
We’ll get to those in a moment, but it’s not a spoiler to admit up front that finding these “ways” involves picking out a lot of lice. It’s the best we can do under the circumstances, because these dodgers don’t give much their way Weak exhaust ports.
At 103-45, their winning percentage is currently 0.696 best mark 12 The Modern History of Major League Baseball. Of the 11 teams ahead of the Dodgers on that list, nine have made it to the Fall Classic, and six have won. Then there’s the 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates, which played before the modern concept of the World Series first debuted in 1903.
B/R Walk-Off @BR Wukov
The Dodgers are the first team to reach the century mark in winning this season pic.twitter.com/sVKTNHwZwS
The Dodgers’ running differential paints a picture of a more dominant team. In plus-330 with 14 games left, they are in a position to get in third of all The New York Yankees succeeded the 1927 (plus 377) and 1939 (plus 411), both of which won the World Championships.
It’s a little strange, then, that it’s actually possible to find odds that overwhelmingly do not favor the Dodgers to win it all for the second time in the past three years. For example, FanGraphs places it between the Houston Astros and the New York Mets with a 28.1 percent chance. arrive to World Championship. to win it? They are barely on top at 17.4 percent.
That alone makes it possible to imagine the fall of the 2022 Dodgers in the summary. As far as, specifically, it can actually spoil them, let’s discuss.
Psh, their criminality is not so hard
Stacy Revere / Getty Images
It is not true, of course, that the crime of the dodgers is not that difficult.
At 5.44 points per game, they lead the league in goal-scoring by nearly half a turn. They are also ranked 4th in the majors with 201 home runs, and have recently strengthened themselves Tie for the first time In this section since the All-Star break. Because the house runs tend to relate With success in October, this is a good omen for them.
As much as Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman and Trea Turner stand out, what makes the Dodgers lineup so dangerous is the depth with which manager Dave Roberts has to work. They are the only NL team with as many Six hitters With 120 OPS+ and 10+ home runs.
But even if there aren’t necessarily easy points in the Dodgers lineup, there are a few… how do we put this…. let’s say get able outs.
There’s Cody Bellinger, whose OPS+ fell around 100 points Since his NL MVP award winning season in 2019. There are also Chris Taylor, Joey Gallo and Trace Thompson, who were among the most Hitters on strike In NL since the trade deadline. Gavin Lux hits .294, but he has Minimum number of extra hits of any NL hitter with at least 110 knocks.
And if all else fails, opposing shooters can always try to clear the Dodgers’ main power alley.
There is no monolithic crime, but this is really, really, truly He likes to hit the ball to the side of the clouds. The dodgy hitters pulled 41 percent of their hits, and put them down comfortably on top field in it
oddly defined Obviously this class says.
Unlike Sauron from The One Ring, the balls drawn are where the Dodgers draw their power. They immerse themselves in SLG like no other team when they do it drag the ballwhile they are more regular when they go to the middle And the the other way:
Graph via Google Sheets
Ah, but is this exploitable? Can.
If the bowler does not want the hitter to pull the ball, it is best for him not to give said hitter anything to run it. And while it’s not a foolproof method, it’s generally a good way to limit damage to dodgers.
While the right-handed slug hitters .522 Against the pitches in the inner half, they fall to .426 Against the pitches in the outer half. Left-handed hitters suffer a similar drop, from .486 to me .406.
Psh, the starting rotation is not too difficult
Associated Press/Ross D. Franklin
This is also not true.
However, there are cracks here. As in real cracks. Not those that can only be measured in angstroms, like those in crime.
It’s specifically located in the right arms of All-Star right-handers Walker Buehler and Tony Gonsolin. The first underwent his second Tommy John surgery In August, while the last “DoubtfulReturning to the Dodgers rotation this season due to a strain in the forearm.
Without them, Clayton Kershaw and Julio Urreas are left-handed default aces The Dodgers alternately. Given that one is a three-time Cy Young winner and the other is one of the most electric baseball pitchers right now, that’s not a bad thing in theory.
However, for an ace duo in the National League, Kershaw and Urías aren’t necessarily the worst nightmare match for opposing hitters. They’re pretty good without being overpowered, which is best shown in how their combined hit rate compares to other ace duos associated with the NL qualifiers:
- Jacob Degrom and Max Scherzer, NYM: 34.8%
- Max Fried and Spencer Strider, ATL: 29.5 percent
- Aaron Nola and Zach Wheeler, PHI: 27.7 percent
- Clayton Kershaw and Julio Ureas, Boy: 25.6 percent
- U Darvish and Joe Musgrove, SDP: 25.0 percent
- Adam Wainwright and Jordan Montgomery, STL: 20.0%
If you ask how important the October strikes are, the answer is many. Not unlike the offense of winning the battle at home, teamwork win Strike battle Tends to foreshadow victory in October.
There’s also a relatively straightforward way for opposing hitters to avoid letting Kershaw and Urías raise their hits: just don’t chase after them.
Graph via Google Sheets
In other words, any hitter who doesn’t give Kershaw and Urías extra hits will make them a less effective hitting machine.
Psh, their Bullpen is definitely not too tough
Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
This must be another thing that isn’t true on the surface, as the Dodgers have a 2.95 ERA and MLB high 7.3 fWAR from their bulls.
But for all the club’s success, the ball has certainly been the most annoying thorn in Roberts’ side.
This is as much because of injury bug Like anything else. The Dodgers lost a hunk when veteran Daniel Hudson tore his ACL in June. They’ve also been without right-wing teammates Blake Treinen, Brusdar Graterol and left-wing Victor González for much of the season, including now.
So, while there is still plenty of time for these three to get healthy post-season, the Dodgers are frankly advised not to rely on that. If they’re going to survive October and play November, they might have to do it with players that got that far.
It’s a strong group overall, but the link that is supposed to be the strongest is unfortunately the weakest: Craig Kimbrel.
The All-Star might be eight times closer with 394 savings chances, but he’s also 34 and looks like he’s 34. His strike rate is 27.4 about half His career high is 50.2 from 2012. This tracks how his Fastball isn’t a swing and miss The magnet anymore, which also keeps track of how quickly it loses its speed:
Graph via Baseball Savant
While Kimbrel’s 4.05 ERA isn’t the worst of his career, it’s certainly not his best or, really, any kind of good by any kind of reasonable metric to round it off.
Kimbrel is far from to blame for the 4.04 ERA the Dodgers have in the ninth inning. This is the only list where they have ERAs in the 4.00s, and it hardly puts them in it Top 20 In the MLB grand scheme. So unless he’s going to turn back the clock a few years, the Dodgers’ lack of a trustworthy closer may continue to haunt them in October.
With all that said, let’s understand that our original view of how to beat the Dodgers in the playoffs would be the complete opposite of easy persistence. It is not easy to say that you only need one hand to count all the teams that were as good as them in the regular season.
They’re not much perfect, though, less imperfect than everyone else in MLB right now. Maybe that doesn’t make them winable, but they certainly aren’t unbeatable.