Playoff Preview

Monday, October 2, 2022
Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2022

The 2022 Los Angeles Dodgers have clinched the best record in the Major Leagues as they set the franchise record for wins.

Many other pundits are worried about the Dodgers because they don’t have… No baseball team is perfect. The Dodgers have the best pitching and offense even though they had several injuries. The Dodger weakness is their defense. It is only average, but the Dodger infield has poor range. To me, the Dodger defense can win or lose their first full-season world championship. Their outfield – Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger, and Chris Taylor/Trayce Thompson/Joey Gallo – is the best in the game. Freddie Freeman, who won the Roy Campanella given to the most inspirational Dodger, has stabilized the first base position for his team. He has saved many errors.

The acquisition of Freeman displaced Max Muncy from the first base position. He has played both second base and third base, but he has poor range. Never been sure-handed, Muncy has committed many errors. While Gavin Lux has had a breakout season offensively, he has committed several costly errors. Trea Turner has been a disappointment at shortstop even though he has incredible running speed. However, as the season proceeded, Turner’s defense improved, but sometimes, he still makes crucial errors. The Dodgers do not have a true third baseman. Both Muncy and Justin Turner have decreased range and arm strength.

Their offense is the best in the game, perhaps one of the best offenses in baseball history. Of course, the Dodger offense has some weaknesses, but this is baseball. The Dodgers wish both Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy have higher batting averages, but they have many other talented players, surrounding these struggling players. However, Bellinger’s offensive production improved during late September and early October. Historically, Bellinger has performed well during the previous postseasons.

An elbow injury that occurred on the last day of the 2021 regular season hampered Muncy’s offense through July. A simple swing change helped Muncy’s offensive production, but Muncy has not been hitting well. The Dodgers must find a position to put Muncy where he can help the Dodgers with his fabulous patient eye for the strike zone, but Muncy does not produce with runners on base with a .235 batting average.

Mookie Betts is an offensive catalyst, and he has had a marvelous year. He has 35 home runs, and he usually delivers with runners in scoring position. He gets on base regularly, and his superior running skills allow him to score on many hits.

Except in September, Trea Turner has been a hit machine, and he has helped the Dodger offense go. He has a career-high 20 home runs and 97 RBI. His incredible speed and sliding ability have helped the Dodger offense to score the most runs in baseball.

When the Dodgers signed Freeman to a six-year contract, the team and their fans think Freeman would be a difference maker, but I was cynical. Of course, Freeman is the Dodger MVP, and with the Saint Louis Cardinals’ Paul Goldschmidt’s September swoon, Freeman is in the National League MVP. His approach at the plate has helped his teammates. He has a knack for going to left field to drive in runs.

Will Smith has come into his own offensively. Arguably, he is the best offensive catcher in baseball and has made himself valuable to the Dodger offense.

The area of concern for every member of the Dodger team and front office. While the Dodgers have the best pitching, their pitching staff has suffered many injuries. Either Julio Urías or Clayton Kershaw will hurl the first game of the postseason. After Urías or Kershaw, the Dodgers will have to piece it together. Tyler Anderson, who has been surprisingly good, deserves a postseason start at least. With the injuries to Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May, the Dodgers have questions about their abilities to contribute to the postseason. Andrew Heaney has been giving up home runs, and he has battled two shoulder injuries this season.

The Dodger bullpen has question marks. When Brusdar Graterol and Yency Almonte missed a large portion of the season, the Dodgers do not know if Graterol or Almonte will perform well during the playoffs. Blake Treinen has missed almost the entire 2022 season with a shoulder injury, but he hopes to contribute to the Dodgers during the playoffs. Dave Roberts has removed Craig Kimbrel from the closer role, and the biggest question surrounding the Dodgers is who will be the closer during the playoffs.

The Dodgers have had a phenomenal season. Some fans will not be satisfied with a historic best Dodger season unless the Dodgers win another world championship.

Leave a Reply