DODGERS MAKING CASE FOR MLB’S BEST

The Astros have had baseball’s high-quality record for 46 days now. But the downright dominant Dodgers — winners now not just of 10 directly but sixteen of 17 average after the weekend sweep of the man National League West-contending Colorado Rockies — are just one recreation in the back of Houston in this absolutely ceremonial warfare. My Pro Blog

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You may keep in mind that that is the type of performance expected of the Dodgers in case you checked out some of the preseason projections. Right now, the folks who prepare PECOTA are on the verge of being allowed to utter a Dennis Green-like, “The Dodgers are who we idea they had been!”

Of course, PECOTA has projected the Dodgers to have the fine file in baseball every unmarried season on account that 2013. So what has made that model greater realistic in 2017?

Well, perhaps you’ve heard of Cody Bellinger, even supposing Bellinger hasn’t heard of Jerry Seinfeld. Bellinger’s one in every of six gamers (Justin Turner, Joc Pederson, Corey Seager, Yasiel Puig and Austin Barnes) with as a minimum 20 at-bats and OPS marks north of 1.000 at some point of this 17-game stretch, which would not harm.

 

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On the pitching facet, though, the Dodgers have been dealt the brutal news that stud 20-12 months-vintage lefty Julio Urias desires important shoulder surgical operation (the identical process Johan Santana had … two times). That approach they’ll rely all of the more on Alex Wood (eight-zero, 1.86 ERA) continuing to function a negative guy’s Clayton Kershaw and, pretty possibly, the midseason trade marketplace, which they are properly-ready to delve into. But they are already well-ready within the bullpen, anchored by the improbable Kenley Jansen, who made headlines Sunday for issuing his first stroll of the season (!) but closed the Rox out anyway with a 5-out shop.

More than something, the Dodgers have a magic to them right now, as 41 percent in their 51 wins were of the comeback range, along with Sunday’s ridiculous one wherein they scored 5 runs on wild pitches. The Dodgers have the great file in baseball’s nice department, and, way to the loopy intensity and crazy comebacks, they may soon have the excellent record in baseball. Just like the computer systems advised.

It would be less complicated if the guys playing arguably the most mentally taxing of team sports activities could genuinely adhere to what the projections tell us and play to some thing par is anticipated of them. But as Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna — who courageously spoke publicly about his struggles with anxiety over the weekend — reminds us, those guys are, inconveniently however inalterably, people.

“I truely don’t know the way to give an explanation for it,” Osuna informed reporters Saturday, after not pitching in a keep scenario the night before. “I just feel demanding. I experience like I’m lost a bit right now. … I desire I knew the way to get out of this, but we are running on it, attempting to find methods to look what could make me sense higher. But, to be sincere, I just do not know.”

It was splendid to look Osuna get lower back at the mound Sunday with a strong 9th. And simply, in a sport that needs a lot, Osuna isn’t always on my own in his mental war. Baseball nonetheless has its beanballs and cussed allegiance to the unwritten rules, but with a bit of luck, clubhouse tradition has advanced to the point that a younger man like Osuna can talk out approximately this without feeling like a pariah among his peers.

Let Osuna’s issues function a reminder that in spite of the high-quality of assist within the first-rate of years (he’s on pace for a career-pleasant save overall, ERA and WHIP), the needs of the sport — of lifestyles itself — can mess with a mind. Osuna isn’t on my own in his anxiety, and just understanding this is the first step.

 

What once become trending toward a sure sell scenario has to turn out to be something else entirely in Kansas City. The Royals had been prevailing enough to entertain the option of jogging down the underperforming Indians, whose extraordinary struggles at home continued with a weekend sweep at the hands of the particularly-back-in-first-region Twins.

The Royals are just 2 half video games lower back in the American League Central getting into every week in which they’ll face their fading rivals in Detroit before website hosting the Twins over the weekend. As of now, Moore seems probable to go away this club on my own, to let his championship core make one last run at it before what can be an extended-term rebuild.

Moore has to weigh his depleted farm system and the alternate value of pending unfastened sellers Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas, Jason Vargas and Mike Minor in opposition to the fee of doing proper by way of the clubhouse and hoping this team nonetheless has some 2014- and 2015-like magic in it. Staff ace Danny Duffy just made his first rehab start in his go back from an oblique stress, and the offense has long past from averaging three.6 runs in step with recreation in the season’s first 60 to 5.6 inside the time for the reason that.

Complicating matters is the murky terrain of the new collective bargaining agreement. As a small-market membership, the Royals can recoup Draft choices after the first spherical without cost retailers who flee someplace else, however handiest in the event that they reject the only-12 months qualifying provide (upward of $19 million) and signal a settlement someplace else well worth as a minimum $50 million. (The Royals may really have a decent shot at re-signing Hosmer, given the league panorama at first base.)

How be bullish need to the Royals approximately their chances shifting ahead? Well, permit’s dive lower back into those projections: Baseball Prospectus and FanGraphs both still have them finishing underneath .500, no matter the current achievement. For a Royals club that loves messing up the mathematics, that probably sounds perfect.

About the author: Scott M. Long

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