2017-08-10 / Sports

BASEBALL’S BEST

Dodgers are the hottest team in baseball
By LAMAR GARRARD
basebal historian

“Baseball has a way of ripping your heart out, stabbing it, putting it back in your chest and then healing it just in time for spring training.” – Noah Syndergaard, Mets player after losing a 2016 one-game playoff.

Going into August, the Major League Baseball season is past 110 games played and approaching the home stretch leading to the playoffs. The Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros seem to be the dominant teams in the National and American League races. These two teams could easily face each other in the World Series, but with the wild card system, that is difficult to predict with about 60 games left to play. Interestingly enough, the wild card team has won the World Series six times with the Marlins winning twice. The Marlins, the Angels, the Red Sox, the Cardinals and the Giants have all had these championships without winning their division outright. 2002 through 2004 saw the wild card teams win three consecu- tive championships.

The Los Angeles Dodgers under the managerial leadership of Dave Roberts are playing at a torrid .700 winning percentage, winning 43 of their last 50 games. The last team to do this was John Mc - Graw’s New York Giants in 1912. The Dodgers power is evident with 96 homers being hit during this streak as the ball seems to be flying out of the park for them. The LA team is on a pace to win possibly 115 games which is highly improbable given that the last month of the season usually brings many surprises.

Alex Wood, LA’s former UGA pitcher is overpowering this year with a 13-1 won/loss record. Why did the Braves trade Alex Wood? Kyle Farmer, another University of Georgia alum, in his first major league at bat, hit a two run double to propel the Dodgers over the Giants 3-2 in the 11th inning. Cody Bellinger, outfielder/first baseman rookie, has six multi-home rungames. He could possibly win the rookie of the year award.

Justin Turner, a 2017 All-Star pick, is batting .347 with 12 home runs. Clayton Kershaw is on the disabled list after posting a 15-2 record. If the intimidating left handed pitcher can stay healthy he will probably win 20 games or more. The big 6’4” shortstop, Corey Seager, the rookie of the year last season, has powered 19 home runs while posting a .306 batting average. In his three-year major league career he has a teriffic life time batting average of .310.

Dave Roberts took over the helm as manager in 2016. The former major league outfielder had virtually no previous managerial experience, but as the National League manager of the year in 2016, Roberts has the winningest record in baseball since he took over the Dodgers. It is fun watching this team and it will be interesting to see just how they finish the year.

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