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It’s been 29 years, the Dodgers will be in the World Series this year!

The+Dodgers+currently+have+the+best+record+in+baseball+sitting+at+66-29.+This+could+finally+be+the+year+they+have+a+deep+run+into+October+in++hopes+of+their+first+World+Series+appearance+since+1988.
The Dodgers currently have the best record in baseball sitting at 66-29. This could finally be the year they have a deep run into October in  hopes of their first World Series appearance since 1988.

The Dodgers currently have the best record in baseball sitting at 66-29. This could finally be the year they have a deep run into October in hopes of their first World Series appearance since 1988.

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woolennium

The Dodgers currently have the best record in baseball sitting at 66-29. This could finally be the year they have a deep run into October in hopes of their first World Series appearance since 1988.

Eric Caldwell, Opinion Editor

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It has been 29 years since the Dodgers won the World Series against the Oakland Athletics in 1988. For fans old and new, Kirk Gibson’s dramatic pinch hit home run against Dennis Eckersley in game 1 of the 1988 World Series seems like a distant memory: a memory that gets played often enough on sport highlights that it has become torturous to die hard fans. Yet fear not Dodger fans, these old memories may soon be refreshed with new memories as this year’s Dodger team will win the World Series.

The Dodgers are on their way to running away with their 5th straight West Division title currently they are in first place with a record of 66-29 and 11 games ahead of the Arizona Diamondbacks. To boot they are also on a 11 game winning streak with a two game sweep against the Chicago White Sox; an impressive feat that they have accomplished for the second time this year.

It is understandable for fans to be hesitant to jump on the Dodger bandwagon. While the Dodgers won the National League West in 2014 it was all in vain. Dodger fans had to watch their Bay Area rivals the San Francisco Giants win the World Series. And for that matter had to watch the Giants dominate this decade with three World Series victories in 2010, 2012 and 2014.

So skepticism is rational. When the postseason comes around Clayton Kershaw, arguably the best pitcher of this decade becomes a mediocre pitcher. According to MLB.com, Kershaw has a career earned run average of 2.35 and a record of 141-62 but when the postseason comes calling his ERA skyrockets to 4.55 and a record of 18-14.

Fans have had to watch in agony as Kershaw has sent the Dodgers packing in the deciding game the last few years in the postseason. Whether it was Matt Adams three-run home run in the 2014 postseason that sent the Dodgers packing or last year when the Cubs scored 5 runs in 5 innings off Kershaw in 2016.

All the blame cannot be put on Kershaw though and some of the pressure should be off his and the other pitchers back as the Dodgers have seen a huge increase in offensive production this year. According to ESPN.com the Dodgers rank 5th in total runs scored with 480 runs scored to date which is a drastic improvement as the Dodgers finished 14 in total runs scored last year with 725. Considering there is still a whole second half of the season to be played it is safe to say the Dodgers should at least surpass their total from last year.

Justin Turner, the Dodgers starting third baseman and fan favorite to many is having a career year. He is currently leading the National League and all of baseball for that matter with a .370 batting average and leading the league in on base percentage with an obscene mark of .464. Turner has been a consistent presence for the Dodgers year long with his clutch hitting and above average defense.

Rising superstar Corey Seager is avoiding a sophomore slump an occurrence of regression many rookies experience in their second year in the majors. Seager is hitting a solid .295 while leading the Dodgers in hits and third in homers on the team with 14 home runs while playing shortstop.

Rookie phenom Cody Bellinger is one the biggest surprises of the year. Bellinger filled in for 14 year veteran Adrian Gonzalez who has been a mainstay at first base for the Dodgers and every team he has played for before he went down with a shoulder injury. Since replacing Gonzalez, Bellinger has been the Dodgers biggest source of power. He is leading the Dodgers in home runs with 26 and runs batted in with 62.

The Dodgers have seen career years offensively from not only these players but throughout the lineup. Yasiel Puig at the bottom of the order has the second most home runs on the team with 18. Once thought to be on the cusp of superstardom,Puig arrived in LA back in 2013 and got off to a quick start hitting .319 with 19 home runs in 104 games helping the Dodgers go on a historic 42-8 run that helped the Dodgers clinch the West title.

Since then he has not been able to replicate the same results as his undisciplined batting approach has stunted his growth. This year Puig has shown more patience at the plate and with less pressure on him hitting in the 8th hole, he has flourished and lets not forget his solid defense and cannon in right field.

Utility player Chris Taylor has also been a key contributor hitting .300 with 10 home runs, with 4 of his home runs being grand slams. Taylor is reminiscent to Turner who was once seen as a super utility player who could not be kept out of the lineup. While Taylor has played multiple positions this year one thing has remained consistent, the dude can rake and has come up with timely hits.

The offense has been powerful this year and is a pleasant surprise that takes pressure off the pitching staff which ranks highly almost every year. “Regular season” Kershaw has been his normal self leading the league in wins with 15 and second in ERA sitting at 2.07.

The biggest surprise this season has been Alex Wood, who was injured last year. Wood started the season in the bullpen, but because of good pitching and injuries to other pitchers, he got a shot in the starting rotation. He has been remarkable this year and became the first pitcher in Dodger history to start a season 11-0. If that was not enough, Wood also sports a gaudy 1.56 ERA.

If someone before the season would have told me that a unnamed Dodger were to start the season 11-0, Wood would not have been a name to jump to my mind right away. His performance this year has been a surprise the Dodgers needed as Kenta Maeda and Hyun-jin Ryu simply have not met expectations.

Kenley Jensen also cannot be forgotten he has been untouchable this season and has a ridiculous stat line of 62 strike outs to just 2 walks. His ERA is also minuscule at 0.88 and has been the shut down closer the Dodgers expected when they resigned him this offseason.

For any team to win the World Series it takes a whole team putting their best play out there day after day. This Dodger team is firing on all cylinders and many players are having career years. All signs point to the Dodgers making it to their first World Series in 29 years.

So for those afraid to say it, I’ll put it out there for the universe to know, this is the year the Dodgers win the World Series.

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