The Dodgers will win the World Series. Pardon me while I puke up some bile.
You read it here first, and in the last place it wants to be admitted, but this is the year the Los Angeles Dodgers finally do something worth doing this side of Tommy Lasorda.
Not the Padres, who always default to the irrevocable truth that they, alas, are the Padres. Not the Giants, who prefer to take breathers between World Series parades.
Want a preseason prediction? The Dodgers will be world champions for the first time since my sophomore year at Selma High. That would be 1988, for those who didn’t save yearbooks.
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Not because they’re loved in this space. Not because it will make my Dodgers-fan wife happy (every day is Until There’s A Cure Day at the White Manor).
This is the Dodgers’ year, because it is, that’s why. Trust me, I don’t like it either.
Not because they’re the best team in the National League West — aren’t they always through September? They won the division with 94 wins last season, and the year before that with 92 dubs. They’ve captured four of the past seven flags, for that matter.
The Dodgers will finally get their postseason act together because they finally have the sort of team that won five World Series and nine pennants from 1959-88 — and no, we don’t mean the starriest roster $260 million can buy.
They have pitching, they have defense and they have wheels. There is no other way to win at Chavez Ravine, where three-run home runs die in leather coffins, forever buried inside the warning track.
Seeing that the local Giants fans stopped reading seven paragraphs ago, allow me to explain how this is going to make my October miserable:
Sandy Koufax incarnate Clayton Kershaw finally will become the best pitcher to win games when games actually matter, which is to say in the second season. No more Cy Young by summer, Die Young by fall. Just a postseason showing of zeroes that makes you wonder how there was enough room in this world for two Madison Bumgarners.
No. 2 starter Zack Greinke will make 25 other teams wish he was their No. 1 starter, because there aren’t any other major league cities where a 2.68 ERA over two seasons rides in a teammate’s backseat.
Left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu (pronounced “Now that’s just not fair”) will make you forget the last two starting pitchers in the merry-go-round are pointless, because who needs a four-man rotation in October? And while we’re at it, no use pointing out a flawed bullpen when three of five starters give them most nights off.
Right fielder Yasiel Puig will keep turning his singles into triples, and stop running his team out of innings. He’s Manny Mota but with muscle, Dusty Baker but with dash, Willie Davis but with attitude. This is the year he finally gets it.
Jimmy Rollins is better at shortstop than shipped-off Hanley Ramirez. Second baseman Howie Kendrick means Dee Gordon can no longer give Dodgers fans Steve Sax flashbacks. Joc Pederson gives the Dodgers a true center fielder for the first time in ever. You can’t hit ’em where they ain’t when the defense gets everywhere.
And yeah, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez is still all glove, and all power, all at the same time.
Manager Don Mattingly is never going to outsmart the other bench (wood planks, not opposing manager), but he’s smart enough to play for a few runs and let the hired arms and gloves win games, 2-to-nothing.
This is the Dodgers’ year. Why, yes, we are indeed ready for some football.