Pull up a chair and come sit down at our Lasorda’s Lair roundtable discussion. We’re resurrecting this column which will feature a different discussion topic every two weeks. Members of our Lasorda’s Lair crew will have the opportunity to address the question of the week individually. We also would like for you to participate by answering the roundtable question in the comments below.
Question: Let’s make some predictions. How many wins do you think the Dodgers will end up with this season? Can this team go all the way to the World Series?
Comment below with your response to the roundtable question!
Adrian Garcia, Senior Staff Writer: I’ll say they end up with 94 wins, the recent struggle with runs has me skeptical that they’ll break 100 but I do think they’re better than anybody in the division. As currently constructed? They aren’t a world series team (nobody is), but that’s what the trading deadline is for!
Thankfully they might have the fewest holes out of any contender, but they absolutely need to find a reliable 3rd starter. Whether that comes via Brandon Beachy or Mike Leake, or [crosses fingers] Cole Hamels, they need somebody else to eat innings. I do not want to see Mike Bolsinger try to start a game 4 in Busch Stadium.
Jason McKenney, Staff Writer: Even with the improved lineup of the Padres, I like the Dodgers’ chances at hitting at least 90 wins again this season. When I’m feeling really bold (which is whenever the Dodgers are NOT at AT&T Park) I tell people that the Dodgers will surpass 94. For the moment they are keeping that objective a real possibility.
The secret so far has been their improved offense and improved bullpen from a year ago. Mattingly can put out a variety of lineups that are strong through nearly all 8 position spots. Usually his lineup rotations pay off (moving Yasmani Grandal to 6th, moving Joc Pederson to leadoff) but sometimes they don’t (putting in an all-righty lineup at the expense of Adrian Gonzalez). What they now have is a more balanced team that doesn’t rely on only one or two or even three players to carry the big sticks and drive in runs. Instead, any one of 8 guys feels confident in their ability to hit a homerun or line one to the gap. Guys on the bench are stepping up to give others a rest without missing a beat (see under Andre Ethier, Scott Van Slyke, Alex Guerrero, and Justin Turner). Pitchers called up from Triple-A have filled in nicely as the first choice rotation has taken more than its share of injury woes (see under Carlos Frias and Mike Bolsinger).
My grades for this team so far are as follows:
Starting Pitching: B
Relief Pitching: A
Grades when the Dodgers play at AT&T Park:
Starting Pitching: B+
Relief Pitching: D
Can this team go all the way to the World Series?
In order for the Dodgers to convince me they’re ready to reign supreme in the National League, they still need to prove they can consistently win low-scoring games. In this early part of the season they are abysmal in such games, and to navigate their way through a post-season that is sure to be stocked with some combination of Giants, Cardinals, and Nationals, the Dodgers will have to prove they can win the close ones. If the Dodgers can’t generate more success against the league’s best pitchers over the next four months, I will be worried about their post-season prospects.
Scott Andes, Editor-I’ll say the Dodgers win anywhere from 91-94 games this year. That’s at least what the projections say. As far as the World Series goes, I have no idea. That depends on many factors, especially injuries. I think they definitely make the playoffs though.
Stacie Wheeler, Editor- I’m going to say that the Dodgers win 93 games this season. With the iffy starting rotation (Eric Stults will not help), the Dodgers will need to make another *gulp* trade in order to shore up the backend of the rotation and make a late season push into October. The Giants are a strong team again this season, and the Dodgers will need to fend them off in order to win their third consecutive N.L. West title. Injuries will also play a part in their season-long success rate, but I think the Dodgers will get to the postseason even if it is a Wild Card spot.
Unfortunatley by trading away Juan Uribe, the Dodgers lost one of the best postseason hitters on the team. While I think the Dodgers will finish with another strong regular season, the postseason is a entirely separate beast which has been too much of a hurdle for the Dodgers to overcome in recent years. If everything falls into place (Clayton Kershaw overcomes his past postseason problems, Brett Anderson stays healthy, Jimmy Rollins contributes offensively, Joc Pederson doesn’t regress, Adrian Gonzalez continues to bring home the butter and eggs, Yasmani Grandal provides offense from behind the plate, the bench continues to be fantastic, Yasiel Puig‘s hamstring heals, Brandon Beachy makes a triumphant return, Andre Ethier continues to have a memorable 10th Dodger season, Kenley Jansen and the bullpen continue to shut down the competitors in the late innings and Friedman doesn’t trade away half the roster by September, then the Dodgers should be right in the mix this Fall.