L.A. Dodgers – Projected Win Total 93 wins – 1st in the NL West
When the Guggenheim Partners group decided to purchase the Dodgers, they set out to win immediately and money was not going to be an object. Their resources and willingness to win paid immediate dividends as Los Angeles not only won their division but played for the National League pennant. This season it’s World Series or bust with a lineup that will score runs and an ample amount of pitching.
Last year when Yasiel Puig joined forces with Hanley Ramirez, who had been injured, the Dodgers went blistering hot at 42-8 and Adrian Gonzalez and others followed.
Those three bats carried the team and the hope is Matt Kemp will return somewhat close to his previous form, which would lighten the load on the terrific trio. Answers still have to emerge about second and third base and who might be productive defensively and as a secondary offensive producer.
Having the best pitcher in the majors is a good place to start building your staff and Clayton Kershaw is that person. Follow him up with Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu and the back of the rotation will have hurlers who are used to aces in Josh Beckett, Dan Haren and possibly Jack Billingsley.
Manager Don Mattingly is also equipped to make games sixth or seven innings with the likes of Brian Wilson and Kenley Janson in the late innings.
Because the Dodgers are heading to Australia, this will be our only look at them. Sportsbooks have them as the betting favorite to the NL West, National League and the World Series and from a talent perspective it’s hard to bet against them.
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Game Notes – After a good first inning, a super second, it was odd to watch Kershaw just “lose it”, walking three A’s hitters and allowing two hits, with all five runners scoring. "It's not fun to deal with," said Kershaw after the game, who now has an 18.00 ERA thus far. Every Dodger fan has to wonder if all the innings are catching up to him this spring….Dee Gordon is making a bid to be the starting second basemen and his 20-pound weight gain and the pitched he pulled into right-field is providing evidence to this point he’s taking his job more seriously.
MLB Season Prospects – I’ve read where some MLB baseball handicappers have Dodger Blue as an “under play” on season win total, but I’m not seeing it and would prefer Over or nothing.