2018 Record: 92-71
2018 Finish: 1st in NL West, 3rd in the National League
Surprises in 2018
The lack of enthusiasm the team expressed in the first half of the 2018 season, was the first surprise from the Dodgers. Boy, was it ugly, at one point falling all the way down to 4th place in the NL West, with a 16-26 record. Many thought their season was over at that point.
After losing the 2017 World Series, the Dodgers looked to make a strong push for the crown, but it didn’t look like they were the same team in early June 2018 as they were in October 2017. With
However, they battled back after that terrible start going 37-17 to cruise into All-Star break atop of the NL West.
The person most surprised to see Max Muncy in the finals of the 2018 Home Run Derby, was not Bryce Harper, but probably Muncy himself. After all, he began the season in the minors.
After being picked up by the Dodgers as a free agent the previous year, after a tough stint with the Athletics, Muncy began 2018 in Oklahoma City. However, after less than three weeks in Triple-A, Muncy was up with the big league club and never looked back.
In 2018, Muncy led the Dodgers in OPS, Slugging Percentage, Walks and Home Runs, besting Cody Bellinger’s 2nd place effort of 25 by 10, giving Muncy a grand total of 35. With a team full of All-Star caliber players, Muncy was found money for the Dodgers.
While his regular season was good, Muncy put himself into the history books with a swing in October. Sure the Dodgers lost the World Series 4-1 to the Boston Red Sox, but Muncy was very much responsible for that one win.
In the bottom of the 18th, Muncy took Nathan Eovaldi to a full count. Three innings before, Muncy sent
Max Muncy was found money for the Dodgers, and if he can keep up with his 2018 numbers, he’ll be a mainstay at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers had a few key veterans this season come into this very young locker room and be key contributors. I really credit players like Matt Kemp, Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill for holding this team together.
Matt Kemp, the former Dodger *MVP Runner Up* turned Padre turned Brave traded back to Dodger, was very important to the resurgence of the Dodgers. The
Rich Hill had a fantastic 2018, despite not receiving much run support from his teammates. Hill had a bit of a slow start to the season and struggling with a bit of a blister problem. After a month layoff, Hill returned to the rotation. Rich Most people might remember Dodger skipper Dave Roberts pulling the plug on Rich Hill in game 4 of the World
Disappointments of 2018
The World Series
Believe it or not, for 2 years in a row, the Dodgers have come up short on the World’s largest stage. Granted the team they lost to was one of the better teams
The Red Sox came into Dodger Stadium on October 28th, took home the championship thus ending the Dodgers 2018 season. This was in front of 54,000 fans mostly wearing Dodger blue. Despite having the swag and craziness of Puig, the youth of Seager, Bellinger, and Taylor, as well as the veteran leadership of the aforementioned Rich Hill, Matt Kemp, and David Freese, the Dodgers fell short.
The Red Sox humiliated the Dodgers in the World Series, beating them 4-1 all the while J.D. Martinez, Steve Pearce and Mookie Betts took Clayton Kershaw deep to really put the nail in the coffin. Clayton Kershaw was also another postseason disappointment, adding more to the legend of his October shortcomings.
It’s one thing to go seven games against the Houston Astros, it’s another to narrowly avoid getting swept by the Boston Red Sox.
Looking Ahead to 2019
I have to say, even though LA has lost a few players, it sure seems as if its reload and let’s go for it again time in Cali. They are a very talented team that once they find their grove and start to click they really do damage. What was really impressive about LA this season was that it really was not one player carrying the team. It was a multitude of players. It was multiple guys from Max Muncy to Rich Hill and a little bit of Yasiel Puig.
A few crucial departures such as Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig will see the Dodgers roster looking a bit different in 2019. Puig was said to have been a bit of a headache in the clubhouse, though
Manny Machado is a player I like, but I see him heading for a bit of a decline. He didn’t provide as much spark to the team as some hoped. With Machado a free agent looking for big money, I don’t see him returning to LA in blue. However, it’s possible the Dodgers could land Bryce Harper, depending on how desperate they are to get over their World Series slump. The Dodgers sent Kemp, Puig and Alex Wood to the Cincinnati Reds to clear some payroll.
I believe this team is lead by a core of youthful players who are ready to take the next step. I feel as though Corey Seager could contend for MVP, Kershaw could also win the Cy Young, again. This team could be dominant and I think they are going to finish 98-64, 1st in the NL West, World Series Contender.