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Of course, they’ve got to get through a tough – and very close – National League West. But the addition of Machado, who was hitting .315 with 24 home runs and 65 RBIs at the time of the trade with the Baltimore Orioles for five prospects, the Dodgers have satisfied a small weakness (due to elite power shortstop Corey Seager’s injury), that may provide them with the extra wins needed to top the division.
They were favored to take the National League West from the beginning of the season, which would be a repeat of 2017. This prediction was merited given the nucleus of the side was retained and, with six position players 27 or younger, a bullpen led by a 30-year-old and similar youth amongst the starting pitching, the Dodgers didn’t need to make offseason additions. The consistency of the Rockies and Diamondbacks might have seen MLB odds on bet365 fluctuate between the favored division winner but the Dodgers remain well and truly in the race.
Machado, who played his fourth All-Star Game as the starting shortstop in the American League team this year, represents one reason why the Dodgers are well set for a strong potential postseason. Boasting three top 10 finishes for the AL’s Most Valuable Player Award, Machado has enjoyed three seasons with 33 or more home runs. He joins the likes of Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy to add further power to a line up that already has veterans Matt Kemp and Justin Turner.
But the Dodgers’ season has been built upon the strength of its starting pitching. Led by ace Clayton Kershaw, who boasts a 2.40 ERA, the current members of the rotation each have an earned run average no worse than Kenta Maeda’s 3.95. A talented bullpen is giving the Dodgers every chance of securing victories too, with Kenley Jansen remaining a dependable closer despite allowing a few more runs to cross home plate than he’d like in 2018.
They say pitching wins games and, if that’s right, the Los Angeles Dodgers are well-placed to not only win their division in 2018 but maybe go all the way to the World Series. With the important addition of Manny Machado complementing a stellar starting rotation, all eyes are on the National League West to see if the Dodgers can finally break free from what is proving to be a close-run three-way contest.