The Los Angeles Dodgers have run into a St. Louis Cardinals team seemingly made of Dodger kryptonite in the playoffs the past two years, but there's plenty of reasons to believe that 2015 will have a more storybook-style ending for Dodgers players, coaches, and fans alike.
With that being said, here's 3 bold predictions for what should be a hell of a ride for the 2015 Los Angeles Dodgers.
3. Los Angeles' veteran middle infield will shine at Chavez Ravine
Jimmy Rollins might not be an MVP-caliber player anymore at 36 years old, but he's got enough pop in the bat to make a go of it in L.A. Slot him alongside longtime Angel Howie Kendrick in the middle infield, and Dodger Stadium will seem like an oasis to Rollins compared to the clusterfrick that the Phillies have turned into. Expect both Kendrick and Rollins to play loose and instill confidence in the rest of the starting nine, while also providing solid production worthy of their name value.
2. Clayton Kershaw will win Cy Young #4, then put it together in the playoffs
How will Clayton Kershaw improve after leading the National League in ERA (1.77), ERA+ (197), and WHIP (0.857) for the third-straight season, en route to his 3rd NL Cy Young? We're betting on Kershaw putting a cap on a glorious half-decade of awesomeness with another Cy Young performance, followed by the 26-year-old baring his teeth and mowing down the NL's best in the playoffs -- getting that postseason monkey off his back for good.
1. Los Angeles will host its first World Series game since 1988
The Washington Nationals have the hype. The St. Louis Cardinals seemingly have the Dodgers' number. The Chicago Cubs...they're doing stuff. However, the Dodgers have taken major steps to not only retool a good team on the fly, but build a much-improved defense that'll be worth a few wins in and of itself.
San Francisco's due for a down cycle with an aging/injury-prone rotation and St. Louis has enough miles on the tires that a natural regression could be in the (drumroll, please...) Cards.
With all that in mind, I'll take the Dodgers' 1-2-3 punch of Kershaw/Greinke/Ryu and 1-8 hitters (including Yasiel Puig in full breakout star mode) over the Nats' formidable staff and lineup in a seven-game NLCS classic...vaulting the Dodgers to the World Series for the first time in 27 years.
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