The 2020 World Series Champion Dodgers came into the second half of the 2021 MLB season 2nd in the NL West behind the San Francisco Giants. As this is being written the Dodgers currently sit at 59-39, three games back of the San Francisco Giants (61-35) in the NL West. And have the second-best record in the MLB. Here are the four keys for the Dodgers in the second half to repeat as World Series Champions.
- GET HEALTHY
The 2021 Dodgers have seen a lineup of Betts, Bellinger, Muncy, Turner, and Seager for a combined THREE games for the entire season. THREE! Not only have the big middle of lineup bats missed games, but a combined 21 players have made a trip to the IL this season for the Dodgers. This includes losing Starter Dustin May to Tommy John for the season and currently Ace Clayton Kershaw to elbow inflammation for the time being.
2. TRADE FOR A STARTER
Given the likelihood of losing Starter Trevor Bauer for the remainder of the season (currently on Administrative Leave), as he awaits investigation for domestic violence, as well as losing Starter Dustin May, the Dodgers must go out and grab a Starter ahead of the 2021 trade deadline. The Dodgers could make a huge splash and trade for future Hall of Fame Pitcher Max Scherzer. He automatically makes the team big favorites to repeat as World Series Champions, however, Friedman always has a knack for picking up lower profile pieces that make big impacts for the team. Some names most likely to come up in discussion are Kyle Gibson, Charlie Morton, Kyle Hendricks, and Danny Duffy.
3. LIMIT THE ERRORS
The Dodgers rank 24th in fielding % in the MLB this season. This defense has cost the Dodgers multiple games this season in which they should have won or at least gone into extra innings. The 2020 Champion Dodgers squad had amazing highlight-reel defensive plays that elevated the team to a championship, highlighted by Cody Bellinger in CF and Mookie Betts in RF. You could even say the Dodgers defense was a spark plug for the team and helped hype up the offense to go on and win games.
4. START WINNING SOME EXTRA INNINGS GAMES!
The Dodgers have a 1-9 record in extra-inning games this season. Winning even half of those games puts the Dodgers at the best record in all of the MLB. Their most recent extra-inning loss came in Colorado where Kenley Jansen and Phil Bickford both blew saves. Although with no help from the defense (2 errors) the Dodgers must find a way to win games in extra-innings down the stretch to separate themselves from the pack.
The Dodgers, while not playing “well”, still have the second-best record in all of baseball. If they figure out their defensive woes, starting rotation, and have their All-stars all in the lineup, they will once again be crowned the World Series Champions.