Whenever a Los Angles sports team becomes good their opponents start that famous chant Beat LA, Beat LA. As a the Dodgers rip through the MLB schedule this seasons lets take a look at the teams that could do what nobody has been able to do this year and thats Beat LA.
You need four things to accomplish this feat power pitching, power hitting, a bullpen and a lefty pitcher who tough on left handed hitters. So if even you have all of this these things you might not be able to beat this version of the Dodgers but in the baseball playoff you never know.
The first candidate resides in the National League East the Washington Nationals. They have two of the things you need to beat the Dodgers. Power hitters are littered all through the Nationals lineup. At the top of the rotation they have Steven Strasburg, and Max Scherzer.
The Nationals had one of the worst bullpens in the majors. Until they made a trade with MLB’s minor league team the Oakland A’s. Picking up Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson, since the deal was made Doolittle has ten saves for the Nats. The Nats bullpen has been much improved and like the Dodgers they will cruise to the division title and will be able to set up their pitching rotation for the playoffs. They also have a star player out for an indefinite period of time as Clayton Kershaw, and Bryce Harper have no time table for their return but both teams feel they will be back for the playoffs. The player on the spot in a Dodgers Nationals series would be starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez the Dodgers have lefty bats that need to be silenced so Gio would need to come up big in this series.
Chance of Beating LA. 30%
The Houston Astro’s like the Dodgers are young and exciting. They have young positions players that are five tool guys. They have a lefty ace to battle Clayton Kershaw in game one of the series in Dallas Keuchel.
The Astro’s don’t have much behind Keuchel in the starting rotation. No disrespect to Brad Peacock, Charlie Morton, Mike Fiers, and Collin Mchugh the are a solid staff. They just would struggle against that powerful lefty bats of L.A. lineup. The only way I could see them beating the Dodgers would be in a slugfest series. The Astro’s closer Ken Giles has 24 saves in 27 chances which they will need him to make a run at a World Series title. Lets see if these young Astro’s can make a run.
Chance of Beating LA. 19%
How did Mohammad Ali say it “the Champ is here, the Champ is here” yes the Cubs have played much better since the all star break and poised for a return. The can match the Dodgers man for man player for player.
Major League Baseball wouldn't say it but a Cubs Dodgers NLCS would be great for the league. Not because its the Dodgers and Cubs its because it the series would have so much dam talent on the field. The Cubs have the depth to deal with Dodgers when they go to the bench. My only concern for me about the Cubs is that they got the monkey off of their back in 2016. Will they approach the playoff with the same fire as last year. None the less I have to give them a chance to beat the Dodgers because they are the Champs.
Chance of Beating LA 45%
After a heart breaking loss to the Cubs in a home game seven in the World Series. Terry Francona has the American League Central on lockdown for the Indians. The tribe will make a run at the title this year with multi talented Micheal Brantley. Brantley finished last year on the disable list and wasn’t around for the playoff run. Brantley will give the Indians a different dimension than they had last year.
Andrew Miller will lead the bullpen as one of the most dynamic relievers in the sport. You want homers they got homers, Jay Bruce, Carlos Santana, Jason Kipnis, and one of my favorite Edwin Encarnacion who leads the Tribe with 28 homers. The Indians have and experience manager who has seen it all. Francona has seen and been the manager in a pressure situations and won’t be scared of anything in the playoffs. I would still make the Dodgers a slight favorite but Cleveland doesn’t take a back seat to anyone in the league. The Indians can crush the baseball and have the second best team ERA in the American League. So they are a huge threat to the Dodgers.
Chance of Beating LA 60 %
Boston Red Sox
The Bo Sox like the Cubs have a lot of young talent, they have depth off the bench and they have an ace in Chris Sale who can change the series and dominate the Dodgers lefty power hitters. The Red Sox have shown the grit to win games in a myriad of ways. They can get a lead and keep it, the Sox have the best bullpen in baseball. They can hit home runs and have been dominant at Fenway Park. I also love that the Yankees are there right behind them close enough to them that the Red Sox can’t just shut it down for the season.
Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts will have a challenge keeping an edge going with everything clinched with six weeks left. Not to mention the rating that a Red Sox Dodgers series would bring. They have the lefties starters, I mentioned Sale, but David Price and Drew Pomeranz could cause issues in a short series. It could be the baseball version if the great 80’s NBA series between the Celtics and Lakers. Maybe we can get Larry Legend and Magic Johnson to throw out the first pitch. Couldn’t you hear all those Boston Red Sox fans chanting Beat LA, Beat LA.
Chance of Beating LA 55%