October Ready – It all comes down to this

It was April 3, 2017, a Monday afternoon in the city of Angels. Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw went into his windup and delivered a 93.8-mph four-seam fastball that San Diego Padres center fielder Manuel Margot took for strike one. And with that, the 2017 season was officially underway.

That was exactly 186 days ago.

Even though Kershaw made the first pitch of the 2017 season 186 days ago, the Dodgers real season begins tonight. (Photo credit – Ron Cervenka)

On Friday evening, October 6, 2017, Kershaw will again deliver the first pitch. It will presumably be to Arizona Diamondbacks left fielder David Peralta. And with that, the 2017 National League Division Series will be underway.

It took the Dodgers 162 games to get here and they did so by setting a new Los Angeles Dodgers record of 104 wins with only 58 losses to finish 11 games ahead of the NL West second place Diamondbacks, the very team that the Dodgers faced 19 times during the regular season and losing 11 of those 19 games (.421).

But none of that matters. Not the 104 wins, not the 11 losses to the Dbacks, not that 93.8-mph first-pitch strike that Clayton Kershaw threw to Manuel Margot 186 days ago, not the MLB record-tying 43-7 winning streak that the Dodgers enjoyed during the 162-game regular season or the painful 11-game losing streak that followed it. None of it matters.

What does matter is that the Dodgers real 2017 season – the one that baseball historians and fans will one day look back on years, decades even centuries from now – begins tonight at 7:31 pm PT at Dodger Stadium.

With Kershaw’s first pitch, the Dodgers will be 11 wins away from doing something that they haven’t been able to do in 29 years – win a World Series title. Eleven wins out of a potential 19-games … that’s it. That’s the sum and whole of the Dodgers entire 2017 season. Anything less, the Dodgers can pack it in for the winter and begin to focus on spring training 2018 as the World Series (or Championship Series, or Division Series) runners-ups.

With his team-leading 39 home runs, Dodgers rookie phenom Cody Bellinger is ‘October Ready.’
(Photo credit – Ron Cervenka)

But enough with the anxiety stuff. Over the next week, Kershaw, fellow left-hander Rich Hill, right-hander Yu Darvish and (if necessary) left-hander Alex Wood will pit their combined 50-18 record against a Diamondbacks starting rotation that is in a state of disarray after having used their top three starters to get past the Colorado Rockies in the NL Wild Card game a mere two days ago. But to be perfectly honest, it’s the Dbacks extremely dangerous offense that the Dodgers and Messrs. Kershaw, Hill, Darvish and (if necessary) Wood need to be most concerned about; guys named Paul Goldschmidt, Jake Lamb, J.D. Martinez, Chris Iannetta, A.J. Pollock and Peralta, who slugged a combined 140 home runs during the 2017 regular season.

Then again, Dbacks NLDS game-1 starter Taijuan Walker and the rest of the snakes pitching staff will have to face Dodgers sluggers Cody Bellinger, Yasiel Puig, Yasmani Grandal, Corey Seager Chris Taylor and Justin Turner with their combined 153 home runs, and you’ve got to love that.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts concluded Thursday night’s final pre-NLDS workout with a team huddle on the Dodger Stadium mound. (Photo credit – Ron Cervenka)

But somehow the hero of nearly every postseason game and series usually comes down to someone other than the obvious candidates, whether a fellow hitter, someone on defense or perhaps even someone out of the bullpen. But whoever it is, you can bet your very last dollar that both the Dodgers and Diamondbacks are absolutely positively October Ready.

Although the Dodgers NLDS roster has not yet been released, there is a very good chance that veteran outfielder Andre Ethier will be on it. Might the man affectionately known as ‘Captain Clutch’ be that guy this postseason?
(Photo credit – Ron Cervenka)

Play Ball!

 

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2 Responses to “October Ready – It all comes down to this”

  1. Respect the Rivalry says:

    I don’t make many predictions, but here’s one I consider safe:
    If given a chance Dre will demonstrate at least once how he got the name “Capt. Clutch.”

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