Well, that’s that. The Kansas City Royals are the World Series Champions. That’s OK if for no other reason than the San Francisco Giants are no longer champions of anything and Jints fans can stick a sock in it for at least a year. That’s very nice, but not the result I was hoping for by any stretch of the imagination.
So, was 2015 a successful campaign for the Dodgers? Did the Wunderkinds in the front office do a passable job with their algorithms and their spreadsheets? How did my NL West predictions turn out? Which players improved and which ones fell off? Did those good ol’ expectations get met?
The Dodgers finished the season with a record of 92-70, winning their third straight NL Western Division crown. That’s great and all, but once again Dem Bums stumbled in the playoffs, losing in the first round to the New York Mets in five games. Same old story.
On the Giants’ side of the world their clever strategy of finishing second on their way to a championship backfired when they ended up way too far second. Despite all the bluster from the fanbase, the Giants ended up 8 games behind the Dodgers. Of course my Bums did their best to give Jints fans a glimmer of hope by waiting until the last week of the season to clinch the division. Worked out great, though, as they were able to sew up the title on the Giants’ home turf behind a masterful complete game by Clayton ‘Still The Best Pitcher On The Planet’ Kershaw. Frisco* fans took solace in the fact they were still “in it” until the last week of the season. The truth is that after being swept in a three game series at Dodger Stadium earlier in September, the Giants never really had a chance. Still, it was cute that they thought they did.
So, what did the Dodgers’ annual early exit from the playoffs mean for the team? First, it sealed Donnie Baseball’s fate. Though it was presented as a mutual “parting of the ways” it was obvious to anyone who was paying attention that Mattingly needed to go. He will be much happier in Miami and Dodger fans will be much happier that he is in Miami as well. Lots of old Yankee fans in Florida, so he’ll be in his element.
As far as my predictions going into the season go, I was REALLY wrong about a couple of things. Despite the roster shake-up, the Padres didn’t come anywhere near being a contender. Their flat play allowed a mediocre Giants team to finish second. I also thought the D-Bags would stink, and they did, they just didn’t stink as bad as the Padres and Rockies. The only thing I was right about was that the Dodgers would cruise to another Division title, and they did.
But my Bums didn’t have an easy time of it. Spring training started with the news that Hyun Jin-Ryu, their number three starter, would miss the entire season with a bad shoulder. Just for fun, it was also learned that the only bullpen piece we had any confidence in, closer Kenley Jansen, would start the year on the DL and would require surgery on his foot. It didn’t take long for another key piece of the rotation to go down when (surprise, surprise) Brandon McCarthy’s health issues would knock him out for the season as well. Even the Ace Of Aces, Clayton Kershaw, started off a little wobbly. It wasn’t until June that Kid K started to look like himself and then he was dominant. Speaking of dominant, Zach Greinke put together one of the best seasons any pitcher has ever had, but finished second to the Cubs’ Jake Arrietta in the Cy Young voting (Kersh finished third).
All in all, it was a good year in Dodgertown. Justin Turner blossomed, Greinke and Kershaw were amazing, A-Gone got his ribbies , Brett Anderson pitched the whole season, Joc Pederson showed a flash of what could be, Andre Ethier bounced back nicely and after his call-up in September, Corey Seager showed he belongs in the majors. Oh, and the Giants missed the playoffs. I’ll take that.
I’ll be back with more biased rants before you know it! Stay tuned!