As the second half of the season is under way, I thought, “Who could make the World Series exciting?” I think we can all agree it's what we wanted last year.
You couldn't picture better; it’s been a year since Manny left Boston for Los Angeles and made a sudden impact, bringing the Dodgers to the NLCS. The Red Sox came up short versus the Rays, and we saw an awkward World Series in my eyes, as I rooted for the underdogs like I always do. But I wanted to see Dodgers and Red Sox.
We all want to see the Dodgers face Red Sox because of one guy, in all truth. Other than them being the best two teams in the Majors right now, we want to see Manny give it to Boston by winning a World Series with another team. For Ramirez, beating the Sox would make for a Mannywood ending.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers are 56-32 (.632), and in my eyes are the team to beat in the National League. They are a force to be reckoned with if they reach the World Series. The pitching is strong with Chad Billingsley leading the way, followed by Kershaw, Kuroda, Wolf. With Weaver, Vargas and Troncoso working to get that fifth spot it’s good but not great like the Dodger's pitching was last year.
The bullpen will need a tune up now that Broxton will be out for a little bit. The Dodgers are missing a bullpen arm, and another backend starter wouldn't hurt either.
The Dodgers have Jason Schmidt coming back later this month, and if healthy, he could really help the Dodgers. The strong throwing Hong Chi-Kuo could make his return and bring his heater to help a much needed bullpen for the rest of the season and into the postseason. Wade, McDonald, Mota and the rest of the bullpen can hold up for the time being.
The Dodgers lead the Majors with a .232 opponent batting average this season.
The Dodgers right now on the offensive side of the ball are ranked seventh in the Majors and do one hell of a job at the plate. The Dodgers’ lineup is one of the best in MLB with Furcal, Hudson, Ramirez, Either, Kemp, Blake, Martin and Loney. It's hard to find a gap where someone can rest against the Dodgers. I think this lineup is the best in the majors.
Russell Martin will have to step up in the second half of the season to give the Dodgers a chance to dominate in the playoffs. The Dodgers bench is not great but it has enough vets there to get them through the playoffs. Juan Pierre has been hot of late and even though he is on the bench, I don't see him cooling down at all.
I see the Dodgers finishing the second half strong as they have 35+ home games left with 33 away games. Half of their away games are against under .500 teams and I expect them to win sixty percent of their home games. I believe the Dodgers will finish strong in their away stand having three at Washington, four at the Pirates and two in San Diego.
The Dodgers are in the driver’s seat to make it to a World Series in my eyes amd I see them inning close to 100 games.
Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox 54-32 (.614) have all the talent in the world to get past the American League and represent the junior circuit in the World Series. The Red Sox have Beckett, Lester, Wakefield, Penny, Smoltz and Matsuzaka as their starters. The starters have a 4.38 ERA this season.
Their bullpen, with Okajima and Saito setting up for closer Papelbon, can dominate from the sixth or seventh inning.
Ortiz, Youkilis, Pedroia, Bay, Ellsbury and Drew along with their bench make this the team to beat in the AL. They will dominate in the second half because their bench will carry the load when their starters struggle. This team can beat out the Rays and Yankees for the AL East and can dominate the American League like no team has before.
The Red Sox have 32 home games and 38 road games and will get close to a 100 wins, maybe over that.
This is not Hollywood, but these two teams are the best in the majors and will most likely cruise their way to the World Series in 2009, as we get a Mannywood ending. We will see Manny winning the World Series Game 5 with a two-run homer at Dodger Stadium, or a go-ahead home run in Boston in Game 7.
I can dream, right?
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