The Dodgers became the first team to 20 wins this season when they knocked off the San Francisco Giants in a blowout Tuesday night.
That is not a stat to just brush aside. The last three World Series winners, the Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros, and Boston Red Sox, all were the first to 20 wins in the majors. The Dodgers will look to make that four straight in October.
However, they became the first to twenty without even playing to their overall potential. That is the scary part about this team. They haven’t been playing their best baseball, not clicking on all cylinders, and have quite a bit of room for improvement. Granted, their starting center fielder, A.J. Pollock, has just gone down due to elbow surgery for an extended amount of time, so that full potential may not be realized until June or July, possibly even later.
There is one thing about this team’s recent history though, that might make his injury a blessing after all. Alex Verdugo is going to get more playing time in center, possibly in left, and Cody Bellinger will be manning one of those two spots as well. What if Verdugo becomes the 2017 version of Bellinger? He has already proven he can hit in the early going, and done so with power in collecting four home runs and hitting .342.
Does this mean we will see even more power coming from this group if Joc Pederson gets more than a split platoon in left field? Chris Taylor has struggled mightily so far in 2019 and is hitting well below the Mendoza line. Kiké Hernandez has a tight grip on second base for a majority of lineups, leaving the only platoon option at first between Max Muncy and David Freese. Catcher is still the biggest offensive weakness in the group, so unless the Dodgers are content with below-average to average production from the dish, this is the group you will see for the entire year.
One thing is certain, this team has staying power. Being the first to twenty wins don’t happen by accident. Although, if they want to win the last game of the 2019 post-season, they will need to get more production from their right-handed hitters. Bellinger cannot carry this team the whole year…or can he?
Featured Photo: CBS Sports