The Los Angeles Dodgers have a 2-1 series lead against arguably the best team in baseball. How are they doing it?
Lately the Dodgers have been dominant by winning two straight against the Washington Nationals to win the NLDS and shutting out the number one seeded Chicago Cubs two straight games. The answer is everything. Everything is clicking and at the right time.
In the past four games, their staring pitching has only allowed nine earned runs. Their bullpen has been shutdown especially using closer, Kenley Jansen, earlier in games. In his past three games he hasn’t allowed a single run. Besides Joe Blanton‘s eighth inning in game one of the NLCS that we all wish we could forget he has been great. Grant Dayton is throwing the ball well and getting the tough lefties out. Oh yeah who could forget about Clayton Kershaw and his monster postseason that he is having? He has totally quieted his doubters that still look upon his past numbers in the playoffs. Rich Hill is doing great getting people out with his ridiculously wicked curves. Last, but certainly not least is Julio Urias. The 20 year old kid from Mexico did great in his two innings of work in game five of the NLDS against the Nats holding them for Jansen and Kershaw.
Veterans like Justin Turner, Adrian Gonzalez, Chase Utley and Howie Kendrick are pulling through with the clutch at bats. Utley got the game winning hit in game four of the NLDS after the club blew a 5-2 lead. Kendrick helped start the rally in the seventh inning of game 5 of the NLDS with a single after Joc Pederson hit his game tying solo home run. Turner blew the game open in game five of the division series with a two run RBI triple and a solo homer in game three of the championship series. Gonzalez took matters into his own hands in game four of the NLDS with a two run bomb of his own and in game two of the NLCS with a solo home run in the second inning which proved to be the difference in that game.
Throughout the whole entire postseason the Dodgers haven’t given up a run because of their defense. All around they have been solid. Former gold glove winner, Adrian Gonzalez, is showing how he has won it four times. The infield is making their routine plays and making Gonzalez work too hard by getting strong throws to him. The outfield has been great and making great grabs. In game five of the division series Ryan Zimmerman hit one down the line and Andrew Toles got it in quick to Corey Seager who made an excellent throw to nail Jayson Werth out at the plate. If they didn’t make that play then the Dodgers might not be where there are right now.
Dave Roberts and his staff have been extraordinary with pulling strings and finding matchups in their favor. Their execution on when to use certain arms from the starting rotation and bullpen has been tremendous. Using people like Kike Hernandez, Howie Kendrick and Yasiel Puig off the bench and it paying off has shown how great their decision making is.