Baseball is back and with one month of the season completed. The Major League season is officially in full force. Players are becoming acclimated with their respective teams, managers are finalizing their daily lineups and fans are eagerly awaiting to see if their team can be in playoff contention.
In the city of Los Angeles, both Dodgers and Angels fans are wondering if 2018 will finally be their teams’ year to bring home another World Series title to the city of L.A.
For the Los Angeles Dodgers, 2017 looked to be the year that they would end their championship drought and win their first World Series since the they won it in 1988 with a team consisting of Dodger greats: Orel Hershiser and Kirk Gibson. But after a regular season where it looked as if they may never lose again, the Dodgers’ playoff nightmares continued as they fell to the Houston Astros in game seven of the World Series.
Starting out the 2018 season, not much has changed for the Dodgers. The starting pitching rotation remains the same, the batting lineup is nearly identical and they are still faced with the challenge of getting from their starters to their reliever of the year winning closer, Kenley Jansen. The Dodgers traded away Adrian Gonzalez, Brandon Morrow and quite a few others in order to receive Matt Kemp, but more importantly to free up cap space to take them out of the luxury tax and prepare to pay three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw’s contract extension.
At the end of April, the Dodgers sit in the center of the pack in the NL West and simply need to give their versatile pitching staff more run support.
Consisting of a heavy group of talented, young players as well as a few experienced veterans, the Dodgers will look for key contributions from infielders Cody Bellinger and Corey Seager, who combined for 61 home runs in 2017 but have struggled to begin the season. Also in the mix is catcher Yasmani Grandal, who has been the Dodgers’ hottest hitter to begin the year, and third baseman Justin Turner.
According to Dodgersnation.com, Turner has begun to swing the bat again after suffering from a broken wrist. Dodgers’ star pitcher, Clayton Kershaw, has gotten off to a 1-4 start to the season in which two of his four losses have come from 1-0 losses.
For Dodger fans, Kershaw should not be a sense of worry as his all-star numbers in the past have proven his ability to perform and lead the team. The focal point of the team should be getting outs early in the count to limit pitch count allowing for starters to go deeper into ball games, executing with runners in scoring position, and possibly the hardest of them all: staying healthy. Through all of this, crowds can bet to see the Dodgers start to turn things around and move into the top of the NL West where they belong.
For the Los Angeles Angels, if there was ever a year for them to go all in, it’s this year. Having not won the World Series since 2002 as well as having not been to the playoffs since 2014, the Angels organization has been hard at work throughout the offseason preparing a championship caliber team.