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Some jubilant Dodgers waiting for Charlie Culberson after hitting his division-winning home run against the Colorado Rockies. Photo courtesy of fansided.com

 

LOS ANGELES DODGERS – 2016 BY THE NUMBERS

Final Combined Record (including playoffs): 96-77 (91-71 regular season, 5-6 postseason)

* National League Western Division Champions for the fourth consecutive season, beating the San Francisco Giants by four games

* Beat the Washington Nationals in the NLDS, three games to two

* Lost to the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS, four games to two

Top Hitters:

Corey Seager, SS – .308, 23 HR, 72 RBI, 193 hits, (2 HR in the payoffs)

Adrian Gonzalez, 1B – .285, 18 HR, 90 RBI, 162 hits (2 HR  & 6 RBI in the playoffs)

Justin Turner, 3B – .275, 27 HR, 90 RBI, 153 hits (2 HR & 8 RBI in the playoffs)

Top Hitter In The Postseason:

Andrew Toles, OF – .364 with 8 hits, including 2 doubles, in 11 games

Top Pitchers:

Clayton Kershaw: 12-4, 1.69 ERA, 172 K vs 11 walks (two wins in the playoffs)

Kenta Maeda: 16-11, 3.48 ERA, 179 K

Scott Kazmir: 10-6, 4.56 ERA, 134 K

Joe Blanton: 7-2, 2.48 ERA, 28 holds in middle relief

Kenley Jansen: 3-2, 1.83 ERA, 104 K vs 11 walks, 47 saves in 53 opportunities

(K = strikeouts)

Top Pitchers In The Postseason:

Pedro Baez: 2.57 ERA in seven games

Kenley Jansen: 3 saves, 3.09 ERA

 

 

This gets my vote for the #1 moment of the Dodgers’ 2016 season: Beating the Nationals in Game 5 of the NLDS with Clayton Kershaw getting the save. Courtesy of YouTube.

 

Some Thoughts:

Although I didn’t publicize it because I didn’t want to upset any Dodger fans, the NLCS went exactly as I predicted as I had the Chicago Cubs beating the Dodgers in six games.

The reason why I felt that way was a simple one: The Cubs were the better team, particularly pitching-wise as that staff had more depth with a closer, Aroldis Chapman, who – as good as Jansen was – is better with his fastballs topping 100 miles an hour on a regular basis.

That the Cubs are now in the World Series at the Dodgers’ expense, where they are currently tied with the Cleveland Indians at one game apiece, should not take away from what those Dodgers accomplished this year.

How many teams have made the postseason – with a division title, nonetheless – after using the disabled list a record 27 times?

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Clayton Kershaw (right), Carlos Ruiz (center) and an unnamed Dodger beginning the celebrations after their NLDS Game 5 win over the Nationals, propelling them to their date with the Cubs in the NLCS. Photo courtesy of calltothepen.com

 

Which included their best pitcher and face of the franchise not being able to pitch for two months due to his injured back?

As the summer went on, it was clear that these Dodgers won their 4th straight division crown not only on talent, but on guts, which I always have much respect and admiration for.

And it’s getting increasingly evident that team president Andrew Friedman’s plan to bring in young players for the sake of long-term gain like Seager – who as sure as I’m writing this will win the National League’s Rookie of the Year award, perhaps by unanimous vote – Joc Pederson and just turned 20-years old pitching phenom Julio Urias, who went 5-2 and had a perfectly decent earned run average of 3.39 in 18 appearances, is working as those young guys are among several who will be anchoring the Dodgers for years.

There are, however, three big concerns for this winter, two of them which can be summed up with these names:

  1. Justin Turner, and…
  2. Kenley Jansen.
August 6, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA;  Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Kenley Jansen (74) throws in the ninth inning against Boston Red Sox at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

August 6, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Kenley Jansen (74) throws in the ninth inning against Boston Red Sox at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Photo courtesy of motorcitybengals.com

 

They will both be free agents.

They will both deservedly command big salaries in at least the eight-figure range if not nine, and…

The Dodgers NEED to make signing them to long-term deals their top priority.

Else they will be screwed on a pronounced level if their jerseys don’t say “Dodgers” on the front next spring.

Making the same mistake that those Dodgers did when they lost Zack Greinke to the Arizona Diamondbacks last winter would be even more inexcusable.

They also need to sign at least one starter, preferably two, who have no physical issues and can give them a lot of innings as that rotation was like an emergency room with all the ongoing injures to guys like Brandon McCarthy and Hyun-Jin Ryu who, with no disrespect intended, were damaged goods.

If the Dodgers are successful in those three things, they will be notably stronger and better able to challenge the Cubs and other contenders like the Giants, the Nationals, the St. Louis Cardinals and the New York Mets.

And their chances of making their first World Series in what will be 29 years will be that much better.

For now, Dodger fans should feel good about what that team accomplished.

But they should also watch what that team does this off-season; I know I will.

Oh, and one more thing:

I WILL DEARLY MISS VIN SCULLY.

I also feel sorry for Joe Davis, the man who will be replacing the greatest sportscaster of all time in the booth as he won’t be too popular in Chavez Ravine, at least in the beginning of 2017.

There’s a reason why this is a very good rule to follow in any workplace:

NEVER REPLACE A LEGEND.

But I’ll save my thoughts on that issue for another time.

Until next March at Camelback Ranch…

 

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A nice view of Dodger Stadium from the left field corner; this worker’s doing a good job making sure those Loge level seats are clean. Photo courtesy of sanluisobispo.com

 

 

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